Top 10 Back to School Books All Effective School Principals Should Read

 

Top 10 Back to School Books All Effective School Principals Should Read

As a school principal you’re also the school leader, student disciplinarian, teacher evaluator, day-to-day administrator and more. Being effective at what you do is demanding work, and requires that you can equally balance between these very different roles, while ensuring a good environment both within the school itself and within the community at large.

Inspire your students and your staff

Beyond disciplining students and evaluating teachers you’re no doubt even more interested in empowering students and teachers to develop and excel both academically and personally. It’s up to you to be a role model and an inspiration to your students as well as your staff.

It’s a very tall order, and the pressure on you to be effective and successful principal is enormous. Some skills cannot be taught, but many can, and many authors have put their thoughts and strategies on paper so others can benefit from their wisdom and experience.

Here is our list of the top 10 books all effective principals read. Do you have another book to recommend? Let us know in the comments.

1. If You Don’t Feed the Teachers They Eat the Students!: Guide to Success for Administrators and Teachers by Neila A. Connors.

If You Don’t Feed the Teachers They Eat the Students!: Guide to Success for Administrators and Teachers is a must-read just for the title! It’s a practical guide full of tips on making a difference in students’ lives, improving the school atmosphere, teaching to standards and much more. It is a funny but sensible book, and well worth picking up.    

If You Don't Feed the Teachers They Eat the Students!: Guide to Success for Administrators and Teachers by Neila A. Connors.

2. What They Don’t Tell You in Schools of Education about School Administration by John A. Black and Fenwick W. English

What They Don’t Tell You in Schools of Education about School Administration is one of the best-selling books of the topic, and is even assigned reading in many graduate courses. It is a funny but grounded book that gives the reader a window into the real-world life of school administration. An essential read.

What_they_don't_tell_you_in_school_education

 

3. What Great Principals Do Differently: Eighteen Things That Matter Most (2nd Edition) by Todd Whitaker

What Great Principals Do Differently: Eighteen Things That Matter Most is a clear and down-to-earth book that describes the qualities and practices of great principals. These include: developing an accurate sense of self, understanding the dynamics of change and dealing with negative or ineffective staff members – all issues that are essential to everyday management and well within a principal’s sphere of influence. Recommendations for action are research-based, practical and definitely doable. A fine blend of theory and practice.

What_Great_Principals_Do_Differentyl_

4. The Principal’s Survival Guide: Where Do I Start? How Do I Succeed? When Do I Sleep? by Susan Stone Kessler, April M. Snodgrass and Andrew T. Davis

The Principal’s Survival Guide: Where Do I Start? How Do I Succeed? When Do I Sleep? is a collaborative effort between three veteran principals who succeeded at helping students achieve by connecting with them, their families and their teachers. It is a practical guide, with solutions geared to today’s technological reality. For example, they recommend texting students to gain honest input or sending short complimentary emails to teachers to make them feel appreciated and validated. These experts show how to lead and make difficult decisions while guiding students and the school at large toward success. The authors’ vast knowledge and passion really shine through.

Principal's_Survival_Guide

5. Leading Quietly by Joseph L. Badaracco Jr.

Leading Quietly is not a how-to book, rather it is a report on a five-year study on leadership by the author. Whereas it is not specifically aimed at school principals, it is full of stories of real administrators and how they successfully faced tough challenges. In this book, the author posits that most leaders are not courageous risk takers or orchestrators of major events, but rather individuals working far from the limelight who make millions of small yet consequential decisions every day, thus choosing responsible, behind-the-scenes action over public heroism to resolve tough leadership challenges. This book provides hope to those principals who don’t see themselves as heroic or self-sacrificing, but who still wish to be effective leaders and accomplish important things. A sometimes controversial book, but one that is certainly a different and thought-provoking read. 

Leading_Quietly_

6. School Leadership That Works: From Research to Results by Robert J. Marzano, Timothy Waters, and Brian A. McNulty

School Leadership That Works: From Research to Results is for the more academically-inclined, as it is based upon the meta-analysis of 69 studies conducted since 1970 that met the authors’ selection criteria, as well as on a recent survey of more than 650 principals. The authors developed a list of 21 leadership responsibilities that have been shown to have a significant effect on student achievement, established the specific behaviors associated with these responsibilities and elaborated on how to develop a site-specific approach to improving student achievement, using a framework of 11 factors and 39 action steps. This is a practical and yet very readable book that provides research-based guidance to create strong school leadership.

School Leadership that Works

7. Being a Successful Principal: Riding the Wave of Change Without Drowning by David R. Schumaker and William A. Sommers

Being a Successful Principal: Riding the Wave of Change Without Drowning was written by principals for principals. It is an easy read, filled with realistic stories and situations that can be instantly applied into practice. Topics covered include communication, mediating conflict, trusting yourself and others, and standing your ground (even in quicksand). A truly enjoyable read.

Being_a_Successful_Principal

8. The Bully Free Classroom: Over 100 Tips and Strategies for Teachers K-8 by Allan L. Beane

Being a Successful Principal: Riding the Wave of Change Without Drowning is a very comprehensive book dealing with a topic that has garnered much publicity in the past few years. Although it is targeted for elementary and middle school aged kids, any parent, teacher or other school official can benefit from it. It has a unique take on the subject in that it doesn’t automatically condemn bullies or coddle victims, but rather displays a more comprehensive understanding of all sides of the issue. The book includes chapters for empowering bystanders, helping targets, and helping those who bully with over 100 activities, discussions and projects and more than 40 reproducible handouts for students and teachers that can be implemented immediately and can help make the classroom a place where all students are free to learn without fear. The new edition also deals with cyber-bullying. A very important solution-based book.

The Bully Free Classroom: Over 100 Tips and Strategies for Teachers K-8

9. BRAVO Principal!: Building Relationships with Actions that Value Others by Sandra Harris.

BRAVO Principal!: Building Relationships with Actions that Value Others is based on a cute acronym (BRAVO: Building Relationships with Actions that Value Others) but a very important principle, this book is full of action-oriented suggestions accompanied by personal vignettes. Chapters include examples of actions that are: empowering, respectful and make people feel important, uphold high standards and are courageous.  This book reminds you that ultimately, your success is built on the positive impact you can make on the people you are involved with – students and teachers alike.

BRAVO Principal!: Building Relationships with Actions that Value Others

10. Schools That Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents and Everyone Who Cares About Education by Peter M. Senge, Nelda Cambron-McCabe, Timothy Lucas, Bryan Smith, Janis Dutton

Schools That Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents and Everyone Who Cares About Education is full of information that educators can use to help schools learn to learn through the principles of organizational learning. It describes successful practices, for example when principals introduce themselves to parents new to the school as “entering a nine-year conversation” about their children’s education. This book succeeds in explaining useful concepts and innovative practices that may be of use to educators struggling to redefine themselves and their work during a time of rapid global and technological change.

Schools That Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents and Everyone Who Cares About Education

Which books do you recommend for school principals and administrators? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Written by Liat Behr
Liat is a content wordsmith at WiseStamp and copywriter at Ink of Imagination. She delights in creating and sharing valuable tips and helping businesses craft effective content. When she’s not writing content, she can be found in the world of fiction, embarking on adventures with her characters.