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You Don’t Need Superpowers to Be a Kid’s Hero

You Don’t Need Superpowers to Be a Kid’s Hero
Leading a Hero-Building School Culture

First Edition

Foreword by Jessica Cabeen

June 2020 | 208 pages | Corwin

Create a culture and climate that produces real heroes

The future of our schools depends on leaders who can foster every day heroism in others. This doesn’t require supernatural powers. It requires a willingness to be intentional in building heroes in our communities who are ready to get things done and take on the demands of the future.   

You Don’t Need Superpowers to Be a Kid’s Hero will help you create the climate that produces these heroes. Hero-building work will help you look deeply into your school culture and see yourself and your students and staff in a fresh, powerful way. Readers will find:

·         Training ideas for leadership teams

·         Instruments for gauging progress

·         Practical steps for building courage into practices

·         Practical strategies to help navigate the complexities of creating an extraordinary school

·         Hero-building stories from the field

Written with an inspiring tone, this book will empower school leaders to lead in a way that unleashes staff and students to be superheroes in their communities. 

About the Authors
Chapter 1—Heroes in the Hallways

Principal Makes House Calls

Manufacturing Our Future

Telling Your School’s Story

Leading By Example

Culture Wins Out!

Authentic Leadership

Heroes Are Built

Hero Sighting

Hero Training

Chapter 2—Look Deep Inside: See What Students and Staff Really Bring to School
The Invisible Backpack

A Culture Of Relationships

A Culture Of Resources

A Culture Of Interventions

A Culture Of Wisdom

Seeing The Invisible

Super Hearing And Dangerous Thoughts

Gap Kids

Hidden Strength

Hero Sighting

Hero Training

Chapter 3—True to Life Leadership and Learning
Lies We Tell Ourselves And Believe

High Risk Means High Rewards

Growth Challenge on FORWARD Rubric

Failure Is An Option

Hide Your Mistakes And Weaknesses

Front Runners Win




Innovation Is For Crazy People

Leaders Must Be The Loudest Voice

Hero Sighting

Hero Training

Chapter 4—Unleash the Voice and Choice of Students
Is Your Hearing Good?

School Reform Through Student Voice

Social Media And Student Voice

Letting Students Lead

Gauge Your Student Voice Level

Student Choice

School Showcase

Hero Sighting

Hero Training

Chapter 5—Lead Like an Alien: Out of This World Ideas to Produce Hero Students
Break Down Historical Barriers

Procrastinators Produce

Bells Are Barriers

Grades Matter Most

Repetition Is Wrong

Tradition Holds Us Down

Homework Helps

Think Differently

Hero Sighting

Hero Training

Chapter 6—Build Resilience: Raise Your Grit Score

Perfection Before Action?

Public Praiser

This Too Will Pass

The Distractor

The Overbearing Octopus

Passive Resistance

Negative Self-talk

Hero Solutions For Students

Hero Sighting

Hero Training

Chapter 7—Go Big or Go Home: Empower Students to Be Global Game Changers!
Shoes For Esperanza

Give A Hand

Kangaroo Cup

Saddle Innovation

Rain Garden

Ocean Cleanup

Think Big, Act Big

Expand Your View

Leading Big

Hero Sighting

Hero Training

Chapter 8—Be Courageous: Risk It All for What’s Right
Origin Stories

Super Courageous Fortitude

Courage To Be Authentic

Courage To Ask For Help

Courage To Be True

Courageous Conversations

Courage To Shatter The Status Quo

Hero Sighting

Hero Training


What an innovative approach to highlighting and demystifying the work we do as school leaders at all levels! If you’ve every dreamed of flying, having super strength, or being invisible, and you engage in the worthy work of building up young minds, this is the book for your. Bill Ziegler and Dave Ramage provide great examples and models for the best “super-hero” traits we have and use to make bold differences. Excelsior!

Derek McCoy

Once again, Bill Ziegler and Dave Ramage have nourished the profession with a fearless and compelling compilation of anecdotes, strategies, rubrics, and inspiration that will benefit any school leader. Every child needs a hero and every child can be a hero. This work highlights real-life heroes in our schools and how to build heroes in students and teachers. Read these stories and engage these heroes on your social networks to build your encouragement network. I am most excited to take away and use their tools for increasing student voice and choice to make my school even better!

Carrie Jackson
Northwest High School, Justin, TX

In this deeply inspiring book, Ziegler and Ramage show educators how they can have a positive impact on all of the students in their schools. Superheroes are no longer just for movies; they are real people and have real stories illustrated in this book.

Peter DeWitt

Bill Ziegler and Dave Ramage have written a must-read book for today’s school leaders! Their commitment and dedication to creating positive cultures will inspire school leaders to make real life changes in their practice that impact staff, students, and the entire school community. They equip and empower you to build heroes in your schools to change our world for the better.

Matt Moyer
Rupert Elementary School

Bill Ziegler and Dave Ramage remind us of what’s most important—our students. And they remind us of our ultimate purpose—inspiring and empowering those students to thrive. As Gandhi challenged us to “be the change we wish to see,” Ziegler and Ramage challenge us with the reality that “leadership carries a moral purpose.” We are changing lives! We are shaping the future! You Don’t Need Superpowers to Be a Kid’s Hero is immensely practical. It features the stories of school leaders who are doing the great work now! It is a handbook for school leaders everywhere who are committed to building cultures in their schools that allow their students to soar.

Danny Steele
University of Montevallo

Ziegler and Ramage continue to up the leadership ante with their latest book, You Don’t Need Superpowers to Be a Kid’s Hero. Another book for the leader in all of us, it hits on key needle-moving points about the need for relationship, innovation, and voice and choice for our learners. The voice and choice chapter forces educators to include our kids in decisions. This book talks empowerment! In these chapters you will find practical pieces to implement from the ones that know the current vibe of education—practitioners! The book also has great tools for reflection that helps us to ask the tough questions of why and how.

Darren Ellwein

You Don’t Need Superpowers to Be a Kid’s Hero is empowering and practical. Ramage and Ziegler write from a place of deep credibility and their latest take on servant leadership is sure to inspire. To top it off, the vast cadre of school leaders they feature will not only help you hone in on your why, but they will help you with your how—making this one of the most actionable school leadership titles I’ve seen.

Brad Gustafson

Real heroes shatter the status quo and build cultures where students and staff are loved and supported each day. In this inspiring book, Bill Ziegler and Dave Ramage share stories of successful hero-builders who inspire us to change the world, one kid at a time. If you want to live up to your hero status, read this book and implement the powerful practice in your school immediately. Your students and staff will thank you!

Salome Thomas-EL

The world of education is hard. It is sometimes difficult to find the positives in what we do. Although I do not believe that any educator gets into education to be a superhero, I think educators need to see how our work is extraordinary—not because we set out to be extraordinary but because we find our work meaningful, personal, and rewarding. This book highlights practical ideas from people working in the field of education. It calls attention to some of the little things that have made incredible impacts on their students, schools, and communities. Bill Ziegler and Dave Ramage have done an outstanding job helping to remind educators of why they became educators, inspired people to some new perspectives, offered encouragement, and given us a call to action that our superpowers are making a difference in the lives of our students every day.

Mariah Rackley

In the busy world of the principalship, leaders must realize the power within themselves to design and implement strategies that capitalize on the strengths of the school community. In their book, You Don’t Need Superpowers to Be a Kid’s Hero: Leading a Hero- Building School Culture, Ziegler and Ramage’s concept of Hero Sightings, Hero Training, and Hero Simulations is a genius way to put practical strategies in the hands of school leaders through reflective activities at the end of each chapter. A true resource for principals who believe in their powers to transform their school community.

Mary Pat Cumming
The FAIR School

Sample Materials & Chapters

Table of Contents


Chapter 1

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781544355085

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