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The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact

ISBN: 978-1-118-57523-9
192 pages
February 2014, Jossey-Bass
The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact (1118575237) cover image
The author of Six Secrets of Change describes how and why the principal's role must change to maximize student achievement

Principals are often called the second most crucial in-school influencers (after teachers) of student learning. But what should the principal do in order to maximize student achievement? One of the best-known leadership authors in education, Fullan explains why the answer lies neither in micro-managing instruction nor in autonomous entrepreneurialism. He shows systematically how the principal's role should change, demonstrating how it can be done in short order, at scale.

  • Reveals the three key roles that administrators must play in today's schools
  • Explains how to choose the right versus wrong drivers of school success
  • Filled with "action items" to help implement Fullan's program effectively
  • Includes strategies that have been successfully field-tested in schools across the United States and Canada
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Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

About the Author xv

CHAPTER ONE: Outmoded 1

Gasp! 6

Leading Learning 8

Maximizing Impact 9

This Watershed Moment 10

The Chapters That Follow 13

Still Worth a Struggle 14

CHAPTER TWO: Vices and Virtues 17

Panic Time? 21

Four Wrong Choices for Driving Policy 22

Too Broad, Too Narrow: The Transformative Versus Instructional Leader 38

Principal Autonomy and Micromanaging:

Other Roadside Attractions 42

Time to Retune 46

CHAPTER THREE: The First Key—Leading Learning 51

What Key Research Tells Us 56

Professional Capital—a Framework for Leading Learning 67

Foster and Integrate 86

The More Powerful Way 88

CHAPTER FOUR: The Second Key—Being a District and System Player 93

Looking Out to Improve Within 98

Intradistrict Development 100

Beyond the District 107

Not You Alone 115

CHAPTER FIVE: The Third Key—Becoming a Change Agent 119

Change Agency 124

Distorted Mirrors 135

CHAPTER SIX: The Future Is Now 141

The Unplanned Digital Revolution 145

Planned Change: Common Core State Standards 154

Time to Change Careers? Or to Change Gears? 157

A Final Word 160

References 161

Index 169

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Michael Fullan, Order of Canada, is a professor emeritus at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. He consults with leaders of education systems worldwide and is the award-winning author of more than thirty books, including Leading in a Culture of Change, The Six Secrets of Change, and Change Leader. To learn more, visit www.michaelfullan.ca.

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“This revealing and powerful book comes just in time, as we launch the biggest education reform in the past fifty years. It should be required reading not only for principals, but perhaps even more importantly for those who support and lead them.”
Laura Schwalm, CaEdPartners; former superintendent, Garden Grove, California

“After decades of studying, working with, and enhancing the lot of principals . . . Fullan’s conclusion? Principals are needed now more than ever, and he’s smack on target. He doesn’t mince words, yet instills hope and confidence. Simply great . . . this book should be on every leader’s desk. Another bull’s-eye!”
Willam Parrett, director, Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies, Boise State University, Idaho

“I just read The Principal and I am on fire and in love. I couldn't put it down! Fullan's uniquely succinct brilliance for soaring above the noise and clutter that bogs us down is incredibly energizing and inspiring.”
Alice Thomas, president and CEO, Center for Development and Learning, Metairie, Louisiana

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January 23, 2014
The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact

Principals are often called the second most crucial in-school influencers (after teachers) of student learning. But in this age of high-stakes testing, increased public scrutiny, and rapidly changing technology, what should principals do in order to maximize student achievement? In THE PRINCIPAL, internationally acclaimed author and consultant Michael Fullan explains why the answer lies neither in micro-managing instruction nor in autonomous entrepreneurialism. He shows systematically how the principal's role must change--and demonstrates how it can be done in short order, at scale. Fullan identifies three keys to maximizing impact: becoming a lead learner, a system player, and a change agent. He contrasts these keys with current developments that will take principals down a narrow path that will become a ‘bloody disaster’ for the principal and for all they serve.

In THE PRINCIPALThree Keys to Maximizing Impact (Jossey-Bass, a Wiley brand; February 2014; $27.95; Cloth; ISBN:  978-1-118-57523-9) Fullan shows how principals have been boxed into a narrow role that undercuts their ability to develop the whole school. He sheds light on how, in times of crisis, it's all too easy for principals to do the wrong thing--to take actions that are ineffective or even counter-productive, particularly when they don't feel entirely in charge. But even in the toughest of times, he shows, there’s always leeway for action. Fullan explains how to choose the right versus wrong drivers--loosening focus on accountability and instead concentrating on capacity-building; focusing less on technology and more on pedagogy; abandoning fragmented strategies and striving for "systemness"; and forgoing individualistic solutions in favor of collaborative effort. Fullan explains the three key roles that administrators must play in order to have the biggest impact, and shares how principals can foster the professional capital of teachers and get far more accomplished for all students. Throughout THE PRINCIPAL are "action items" to help readers implement Fullan's program effectively, as well as provocative discussion questions that enhance the book's usefulness in professional development and leadership courses.

In recent years Fullan has focused on larger, systems-level issues in education. With THE PRINCIPAL he returns to the bread and butter of educational leadership--the daily needs of school administrators.

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