The Moral Imperative of School Leadership / Edition 1

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This book personifies how headteachers and other school leaders must become agents and beneficiaries of the processes of leading learning and achievement. It is about school leadership, with the head of the school as the focal point. The book explains and illustrates school leadership as a collective enterprise, how the headteacher with a moral imperative can only help realize it through developing leadership in others, and how it is the combined forces of shared leadership that makes a difference. This book will make the headship more exciting, and doable, with the net result being the headteachers's role figuring more prominently at both the school and the big picture levels.

Headteachers and all school leaders who want to make a bigger difference than they ever imagined they could are the primary audience of this book. The secondary audience is leaders at all levels, including policymakers who are in a position to alter the system and thereby create conditions for transforming the principalship into a powerful force for reform.

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Editorial Reviews

Paul D. Houston
"Fullan challenges all who work in education to rethink the critical role of the principal as school leader in the current era of accountability. With clarity and insight, he offers a series of strategies to reshape the culture and context of leadership in schools to create learning communities where both students and teachers can excel."
Gerald N. Tirozzi
"Once again, the writing of Michael Fullan is a tour de force for those who toil in the vineyards of the school principalship. In this latest book, Fullan brings into clear focus the critical role of school leaders to "change the content" within schools—stressing the need to elevate the moral purpose of schooling in an era of accountability for academic achievement. Fullan makes the critical point—and sets an insightful direction—as to the equally important case for public schools to promote the personal and social development of students. Therein lies Fullan’s challenge to school principals. The Moral Imperative of School Leadership is a must read for those who want to make a difference!"
Thomas J. Sergiovanni
"Fullan shows how moral leadership can reinvent the principalship and bring about large-scale school improvement. This is a masterfully crafted and accessible book by North America's foremost expert on change."
Vincent Ferrandino
"This is a must read for any school leader interested in making a difference. Fullan goes to the core of what it takes to transform our schools and, not surprisingly, principals are at the center of the transformation."
Time Magazines Educational Supplement
"Without moral purpose, nothing of value is achieved. We learn how it is deployed effectively, and Fullan makes the difficult but important case that truly moral school leadership recognizes its obligations to the wider community and other schools, an argument that those of us pushing for collegiates will welcome. "
Mark Brundrett
"As one has come to expect from this eminent writer, this is a highly readable, well structured, and accessible text that is above all positive. Indeed I have no doubt that many will find the work inspirational."
School Leadership and Management
"As one has come to expect from this eminent writer this is a highly readable, well structured, and acceeible text that is above all postitive. Indeed...many will find the work inspirational."
Education News
"Excellent book, not only for principals, but for all educators who believe that the 'moral imperative is in the hands of school leaders.'"
Education Review

"The Moral Imperative of School Leadership is a practical handbook for educators focusing on the pivotal role played by principals as agents of systematic change…Fullan appeals to something all educators have: the desire to do the right thing and the wish to make a difference."

Journal of Educational Administration

"The Moral Imperative of School Leadership is an important read for school leaders and system administrators, not so much because it provides a prescription for the future of public education, but more because it elevates the moral imperative of public schooling, and enshrines the view that effective school leadership must be driven from a deep moral purpose. "

Times Educational Supplement
"Without moral purpose, nothing of value is achieved. We learn how it is deployed effectively, and Fullan makes the difficult but important case that truly moral school leadership recognizes its obligations to the wider community and other schools, an argument that those of us pushing for collegiates will welcome."
Tod Farmer
"The moral imperative sustains school leaders through times of fatigue and frustration. It is the driving force that keeps leaders advocating for the changes necessary to ensure both student and societal success. Fullan has challenged leaders to embrace a vision that reshapes the context of education. The Moral Imperative of School Leadership is a timely work that addresses many of the greatest educational challenges of our age."
Betty Jo Monk
"Michael Fullan urges school leaders to move to a higher level of thinking and acting—to move beyond the concept of 'my school' and 'my district' to 'our schools' and 'our system.' The concept of acting with moral purpose resonates with educators who are frustrated by an overemphasis on accountability as defined by test scores. The dual goals of improving self and bringing others into a new vision of principal leadership is challenging and exciting."
Betty Flad
"In an era of public accountability, Fullan rethinks the critical role of the principal with startling clarity and vision. His assertion that public schools require a moral purpose of the highest order is a call to action for future school administrators to ensure that ALL students learn and become successful citizens."
Nancy Moga
"Taking any and all schools from good to great demands the expertise of principals to build trust in the schools and larger system of schools. The Moral Imperative of School Leadership provides a starting point."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761938736
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 231,406
  • Product dimensions: 7.18 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 0.27 (d)

Meet the Author

Consulting Description

Consulting Description: Leadership

Michael Fullan, Order of Canada, is professor emeritus at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. He served as special adviser in education to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty from 2003 to 2013, and now serves as one of four advisers to Premier Kathleen Wynne. Michael has been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh, University of Leicester, Nipissing University, Duquesne University, and The Hong Kong Institute of Education. He consults with governments and school systems in several countries.

Fullan has won numerous awards for his more than 30 books, including the 2015 Grawemeyer prize with Andy Hargreaves for Professional Capital. His books include the best sellers Leading in a Culture of Change, The Six Secrets of Change, Change Leader, All Systems Go, Motion Leadership, and The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact. His latest books are Evaluating and Assessing Tools in the Digital Swamp (with Katelyn Donnelly), Leadership: Key Competencies (with Lyle Kirtman), and Freedom to Change. To learn more, visit his website at

Now, Michael Fullan is offering his experience to you in an eStudy opportunity! Visit for more information.

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Table of Contents

About the Author
1 Changing the Context 1
The Public Schools We Need 3
The Principals and Teachers We Need 5
2 Barriers to School Leadership 13
Self-Imposed Barriers 17
System-Imposed Barriers 21
3 The Moral Imperative at the School Level 29
Level 1: Making a Difference in Individuals 31
Level 2: Making a Difference in the School 31
The Emerging Image of the Moral Imperative of the Principalship 41
4 Making a Difference Beyond the School 47
Level 3: Making a Difference Regionally 50
Level 4: School Leadership and Society 59
5 How to Get There: The Individual and the System 61
The Individual 62
The System 71
References 81
Index 85
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