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Ethical Leadership

ISBN: 978-0-7879-6564-8
176 pages
July 2004, Jossey-Bass
Ethical Leadership (0787965642) cover image


In Ethical Leadership, Robert Starratt—one of the leading thinkers on the topic of ethics and education—shows educational leaders how to move beyond mere technical efficiency in the delivery and performance of learning. He challenges educators to become ethical leaders who understand the learning process as a profoundly moral activity that engages the full humanity of the school community. Starratt explains that educational leadership requires a moral commitment to high quality learning for all students—a commitment based on three essential virtues: proactive responsibility; personal and professional authenticity; and an affirming, critical, and enabling presence to the workers and the work involved in teaching and learning. He clarifies how essential these virtues are for leadership in the pressure-cooker of high-stakes schooling.  He provides vivid illustration by beginning and ending the book with a "morality play," the narrative of a principal who struggles to do the right thing for his students and teachers, as they are pressured—and often punished—by state mandated tests.  Starratt concludes by offering practical suggestions for working leaders as well as preservice and inservice courses in educational leadership.

This book is a volume in the Jossey-Bass Leadership Library in Education—a series designed to meet the demand for new ideas and insights about leadership in schools.

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Table of Contents

Tables and Figures.

The Author.


1. Becoming Moral: The Test of Leadership.

2. Responsibility.

3. Authenticity.

4. Presence.

5. Giving Birth to Virtue.

6. Implications for Leaders of Schools.




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Author Information


ROBERT J. STARRATT is professor of education at Boston College. Starratt taught at Fordham University after serving as principal and teacher at schools in Denver, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The author of numerous books and articles, Starratt's work has focused on moral and ethical issues in education.

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The Wiley Advantage

  • A leading expert on moral and ethical issues in education offers insight into the challenges faced daily by school leaders
  • Short, practical, and easy-to-read -- tailored for the busy professional
  • Helps both aspiring and practicing leaders keep up with a dynamic field. 
  • Meets the demand for new ideas and insights about leadership.
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"Jerry Starratt's deeply felt book helps leaders explore their own humanity and humane responsibilities to others while working in contemporary school settings."
—Eric Bredo, professor and coordinator, Social Foundations Program, Department of Leadership, Foundations and Policy, University of Virginia

"This book provides a brilliant fusion of the philosophical and the practical in analyzing the ethical and moral dimensions of educational leadership. The foundational ethics of authenticity, responsible and presence provides a new and very creative framework for the practice of moral leadership. A must read."
—Patrick Duignan, foundation chair in education leadership, director, Research Center in Educational Leadership, Australian Catholic University

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