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Book Blog: Great books for start-of-the-school-year reading Print E-mail

sara-johnson-2006.jpgby Dr. Sara Johnson, Director of Human Resources, Lincoln County School District

It takes a great deal of energy and focus to get our schools up and going at the beginning of the year!  Jim Collins, in Good to Great, writes that the fly-wheel will hit a breakthrough point, and momentum will kick into our favor.  Are you there yet as we bring September to a close?  Can you feel the lessening of the gravitational pull?

There are some great books hitting high levels this month.  Take a look when you get the time and keep professional reading on your priority list.

3 minute walk through.jpgThree-Minute Classroom Walk-Through : Changing School Supervisory Practice One Teacher at a Time
by Downey, English, Frase, Poston, Steffy

I have been excited about this book since it came out in 2004.  It structure and importance to the Management by Walk About technique many principals use in their schools.  However, I believe the book is a good starting place and after reading it, you will want to create your own individual school plan to maximize your classroom walk-through experience.  There are some excellent tools available to administrators now, both paper/pencil and electronic.  A principal can collect important, valid data with each visit to a classroom.

teach like your hairs on fire.jpgTeach Like Your Hair's on Fire : The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56
by Rafe Esquith

It really happened one day in Rafe’s classroom – he caught his hair on fire!  How could that happen?  This teacher’s commitment is combustible and you will find this book inspiring – guaranteed.  I have used excerpts form the book to start staff meetings and to communicate an understanding of the importance and difficulty of a teacher’s work.  Read the book then give it to one of your teachers!

good schools to great schools.jpgFrom Good Schools to Great Schools : What Their Principals Do Well
by William A. Streshly, Susan Penny Gray, Marge Hobbs

If you liked Good to Great, by Jim Collins, for business, you will like Good Schools to Great Schools for principals.  This book makes a very nice conversion from the concepts in the foundational book to an education application.  The author is not Jim Collins – but he builds off Collin’s work.  The author outlines the essentials for Great School, and introduces the reader to principals who have accomplished remarkable things in schools.  There is much to glean from this book.  It is probably more appropriate for the elementary principal than the middle or upper levels.

learning by doing.jpgLearning by Doing : A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work
by Richard DuFour, Robert Eaker, Rebecca DuFour

principals companion.jpgPrincipal's Companion: Strategies and Hints to Make the Job Easier
by Pam Robbins, Harvey B. Alvy, Kent D. Peterson

This book gives a strong overview of the work of the administrator.  It is a “how-to” manual on being an effective administrator.  You will find this book useful to have on your shelf as a resource.

strengths finder.jpgStrengths Finder 2.0 : A New and Updated Edition of the Online Test from Gallup's Now, Discover Your Strengths
by Tom Rath

flip side.jpgThe Flip Side: Break Free of the Behaviors that Hold You Back
by Flip Flippen, Chris J. White, Chris J. White, Chris J. White

100 ways to motivate others.jpg100 Ways to Motivate Others: How Great Leaders Can Produce Insane Results Without Driving People Crazy by Steve Chandler, Scott Richardson

leadership gold.jpgLeadership Gold : Lessons I've Learned from a Lifetime of Leading by John C. Maxwell

make today count.jpgMake Today Count : The Secret of Your Success is Determined by Your Daily Agenda by John C. Maxwell


When you use the links above to purchase a book at Barnes and Noble, you will receive a 20% discount.

Sara Johson is a former Oregon Principal of the Year and a regular reviewer of professional books for education publications and websites. Share your comments, questions and suggestions with Sara and other Book Blog readers in the comment form below.

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This page was last updated on Friday, July 10, 2009 .