The Moral Imperative of School Leadership / Edition 1

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The time has come to change the context of school leadership!

The role of the principal is pivotal to systemic school change. That is the fundamental message in The Moral Imperative of School Leadership, which extends the discussion begun in Fullan's earlier publication, What’s Worth Fighting for in the Principalship? The author examines the moral purpose of school leadership and its critical role in "changing the context" in which the role is embedded. In this bold step forward, Fullan calls for principals to become agents as well as beneficiaries of the processes of school change. Concepts explored in-depth include:

  • Why "changing the context" should be the main agenda for the principalship
  • Why barriers to the principalship exist
  • Why the principal should be seen as the COO (chief operating officer) of a school
  • Why the role of the principal should figure more prominently within the system

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Editorial Reviews

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. "
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."
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."
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."
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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: 367,156
  • Product dimensions: 7.18 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 0.27 (d)

Meet the Author

Consulting Description

Consulting Description: Leadership

An innovative thinker who is sought-after by institutions, publishers, and international think-tanks, Michael Fullan is special advisor on education to Dalton Mc Guinty, the premier of Ontario. He formerly served as dean and professor emeritus at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and from Nipissing University in Canada.

Fullan served as dean of the faculty of education at the University of Toronto from 1988 to 2003, leading two major organizational transformations, including a merger of two large schools of education. He is currently working as adviser and consultant on several major education reform initiatives around the world.

He bases his work on research and practice on both the public and private sectors, finding an increasing convergence in this literature. He has written several bestsellers on leadership and change that have been translated into several languages. Four of his books have won book of the year awards, and his publications have been translated into several languages.

Now, Michael Fullan is offering his experience to you in an e Study 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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