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From Good Schools to Great Schools

From Good Schools to Great Schools
What Their Principals Do Well

Edited by:

Foreword by Marge Hobbs

April 2008 | 184 pages | Corwin
From Good Schools to Great Schools reflects the leadership concepts presented in James C. Collins' influential book, Good to Great, and explores how Collins' research and identified effective leadership characteristics can be applied to the public school arena. Susan P. Gray and William A. Streshly show how we can rethink the way headteachers are trained and illustrate how to incorporate key leadership qualities into administrative preparation curriculum and ongoing professional development for leaders. The book focuses on the specific leadership qualities of school principals that positively affect student achievement and meet school improvement mandates and presents profiles of six successful headteachers that demonstrate how to actualize these qualities in practice.
List of Figures and Tables
Foreword by Marge Hobbs
About the Authors
1. We Know What to Do, so Why Do We Fail?
The "Good to Great" Research Project

Leadership Characteristics of Level 5 Executives

Leadership Behaviors of Level 5 Executives

Two Behaviors From the Collins Study

Great School Executives Build Relationships

The School Principals in Our Study

Leadership Qualities Exhibited


2. First, Build Relationships
A Behavior Different From the Behaviors of the Level 5 Executive

Mr. Bond and Field Elementary School

Highly Successful Principals and Building Relationships

Comparison Principals and Building Relationships


Suggestions for Principals

3. Exercise Your Professional Will, but Stay Humble
Issues With Identifying Personal Humility in School Principals

Personal Humility: The Evidence Differs

Shy and Self-Effacing Leaders

Unreserved and Enthusiastic Leaders

Comparison Principals


Suggestions for Principals

4. Credit Others, Accept the Blame
Additional Data for Compelling Modesty

Evidence for Sustainability of Greatness

Evidence for Compelling Modesty

Mr. Unpretentious and Bay View Elementary School

Highly Successful Principals and Compelling Modesty

Comparison Principals and Compelling Modesty


Suggestions for Principals

5. Be Ambitious First for the School's Success
Ambition for the Success of the School Is Key

Ms. Aspiration and Mission Elementary School

Highly Successful Principals and Ambition for the School's Success

Comparison Principals and Ambition for the School's Success


Suggestions for Principals

6. Resolve to Do What Needs Doing . . . Then Do It!
Application of Unwavering Resolve to Schools

Ms. Persevere and Mountain High Elementary School

Comparison Principals and Resolve


Suggestions for Principals

7. Get the Right People on the Bus
School Leaders' Difficulties in Getting the Right People

An Example of Getting the Right People

Highly Successful Principals and "First Who . . . Then What"

Comparison Principals and "First Who . . . Then What"


Suggestions for Principals

8. Confront the Brutal Facts
Schools Face Challenges

Brutal Facts Tackled by the Principals in Our Study

Highly Successful Principals and Confronting the Brutal Facts

Comparison Principals and Confronting the Brutal Facts


Suggestions for Principals

9. Know What Drives Your Educational Engine and Be Passionate About It
Academics Take Issue

Our Term: Educational Engine

Mr. Focus and Pines Elementary School

Highly Successful Principals and the Hedgehog Concept

Comparison Principals and the Hedgehog Concept


Suggestions for Principals

10. Build a Culture of Discipline
The Concept Is Not New

Difficulties in Achieving a Culture of Discipline

Ms. Discipline and Eagle Elementary School

Highly Successful Principals and a Culture of Discipline

Comparison Principals and a Culture of Discipline


Suggestions for Principals

11. Know Commonalities and Differences Between Public Schools and the Private Sector
Disparities Between Public Schools and the Private Sector

What We Have Learned From the Research on Leadership


Suggestions for Principals

12. Support Research-Based Principal Preparation
The ISLLC Standards

The Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning

In Search of Excellence

Beware of Business Norms

Administrator Preparation Program Reform

A Final Comment


Suggestions for Architects of Principal Preparation Programs

Resource A: Research Methodology
Resource B: Interview Participant Selection
Resource C: Principal Interview Questions Derived From Collins' (2001) CEO Interview Questions and Demographic Questionnaire
Suggested Readings

"A useful resource for programs dedicated to training new administrators as well as for principals who want to improve the collaborative cultures of their schools. It will drive the thinking of principals and teachers who are committed to school improvement."

John Pieper, Fifth-Grade Teacher
Webster Stanley Elementary School, Oshkosh, WI

"Lots of food for thought. The ideas and strategies will nudge people in the right direction and help administrators be brave enough to either bring about change or resist change. This would be a good book for a principal study group."

Mary Johnstone, Principal
Rabbit Creek Elementary School, Anchorage, AK

"Links Jim Collins’s work to success in the school setting. The examples of the school leaders who were able to lead effective, systemic change are powerful."

Brenda Dean, Assistant Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Hamblen County Department of Education, TN

"This book is timely and hits all the hot topics."

Ted Zigler, Professor
University of Cincinnati

"These successful principals move beyond platitudes and optimistic denial and learn to face the facts of what is necessary to improve schools—then they do it. Among other things, these star principals learn to work with their teachers and their union rather than around them."

Charles Taylor Kerchner, Hollis P. Allen Professor
Claremont Graduate University

"The authors present evidence that supports a new paradigm for apprenticing school administrators-one that differs from the traditional model of un-researched best practices and standards. School leaders can use this book to inspire activities that will transform their schools and reframe their professional behaviors.", March 2008

"From qualities shared by superior schools and leaders to applying leadership principles and school-tested routines, this book is packed with insights."

The Bookwatch, April 2008
Midwest Book Review

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ISBN: 9781412948999

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