As school leaders, we love to talk about the great teachers, great kids, wonderful resources, and our great team – but this hides the reality of any human enterprise. Being a principal is a rocky ride, tomorrow always has surprises waiting, there are always too many priorities, and for most of us good is not good enough. In every school there are enablers and barriers – sometimes they are teachers, students, parents, central office barriers and sometimes non optimal programs, bus delays, and lack of resources. It is rare for principals to come out of their schools and share their thinking, their mutual problems, and help each other smell the roses of success. This is a rare book, written from the front line, and shows the warts and all of becoming and surviving being a school leader. Chock full of great ideas that touch the pain points we all go through: fail forward, attend to the controllables, learn what not to do, do the right not necessarily the easy, prioritize that which most impacts on student achievement, invite implementation, you’re your ugly cry mentor, work through strengths, your smile is your logo, embrace hard conversations , and listen , learn and smell the roses. Its writing from the heart and soul, and a must-have book for future, new, and experienced school leaders.
- John Hattie, Ph.D, director of the Melbourne Educational Research Institute
Leadership matters! In PrincipalED: Navigating the Leadership Learning Curve, Barker, Ferrua, and George masterfully identify the areas where it matters the most - knowing yourself, knowing your people, and knowing your skill sets. The authors share personal stories and relevant examples with refreshing honesty and insight into what it takes to stay the course, reflect on your practices, and to remind you what you do matters!
-Jimmy Casas, leadership coach, educator, author, and speaker
Barker, Ferrua, and George’s book, PrincipalED, should be required as the ‘go to playbook’ for every education leader seeking to lead effectively. It has the triple threat of success — informative, reflective, and authentic. The reader is left with the seeds of effective leadership, a developed purpose, and presented with a comprehensive game plan on how effective principals can be ‘cultivated’ through strategic reflection rather than ‘born’ out of theory.
-Dr. A Katrise Perera, 2015 NASS Superintendent of the Year
There is no training that can prepare you for the emotional labor required by the role of principal. There are endless courses on building management and instructional leadership, but only the luckiest of us have had great mentors who pass down the real wisdom needed to not only survive in this gig but thrive. As I begin my second year as principal during some of the greatest crises our country has faced in generations, I find myself desperately needing to revisit the truths in this book. In PrincipalED we find the timeless wisdom necessary to realize the impact we always dreamt we‘d have as school leaders.
-Amy Fast, Ed.D. high school principal and author of It's the Mission, Not the Mandates
Kate Barker, Kourtney Ferrua, and Rachael George have created a must-have book for school principals, especially those who are new to the role. In a combination of sound advice, resonant personal vignettes, valuable reflective activities, and just the right amount of research, they have crafted a text that should be required reading in all administrator programs. If you're an aspiring administrator, this book can prepare you for what's ahead. If you are new to administration, you'll find a great deal of support. If you're a seasoned administrator and want to examine your practice, you'll find plenty of support, too. This book is informative, touching, and witty and promises to be an important addition to the field.
-Angela Peery, Ed. D., consultant, author of The Data Teams Experience, The Co-Teacher’s Playbook & other titles
PrincipalED is the book I wish existed when I became a principal. I found myself saying yes constantly and nodding in affirmation throughout each chapter. Being a principal is hard, it's complex, it's demanding and it's also very rewarding, and learning from three who have such a vast experience is invaluable. Leadership does matter, and sometimes it can feel like you need to be a magician in order to get it right and be successful. Well PrincipalED is the closest I've seen to a magic potion for leaders across all positions in schools. I loved reading this book and I know you will too!
-Adam Welcome, speaker, author, and educator
The principalship offers the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. The immense responsibility and opportunity that this position offers is never lost on those who have sat in the seat. Unfortunately, it is impossible to comprehend the magnitude of this leadership role until one sits in the seat. Kate, Kourtney, and Rachael offer an insider look at the navigation, strategic planning, and realities that principals must understand to be successful in the role. From answering the how's and what's of the job to asking the reflective questions that principals face, you will find yourself finishing this book with not only fresh ideas for your campus, but a greater understanding of leadership and service that you can offer your students, staff, and families.
-Adam Dovico, former principal and author of When Kids Lead, The Limitless School, Inside the Trenches
In this book you will find three experienced principals willing to give you an authentic invitation to consider three different perspectives on issues like networking, feedback (receiving and giving), having those hard conversations and focusing your work on central priorities for you and your staff. The authors consistently draw the reader to learn from their experiences while giving an Invitation to Implement in every chapter. The emphasis on principal as lead learner in the building by modeling knowing yourself, your students and teachers will build the culture of growth discussed in the book. PrincipalED is both wonderfully engaging and profoundly insightful.
-Polly Patrick, Senior Instruction and Leadership Coach at the International Center for Leadership in Education Author of Ask, Don’t Tell: Powerful Questioning in the Classroom
PrincipalED: Navigating the Leadership Learning Curve is an immensely readable and informative “how-to” guidebook for navigating the challenging role of school leadership, written specifically for new school administrators by experienced principals. The three co-authors authentically share their candid, personal experiences in navigating the ups and downs, the highs and lows, of what it takes to succeed in one of the most important, yet challenging and complex, roles in education—a role that is often a lonely one due to the immense responsibilities it places on those individuals who assume it. Conveying sincerity, empathy, humor, encouragement, and practical wisdom in a conversational format, this book will be a great resource for all school leaders whose inspired purpose is to do the very best they can to create a nurturing, safe, and thriving school environment for the students and teachers in their care.
-Larry Ainsworth, Author of Rigorous Curriculum Design, Prioritizing the Common Core, and Common Formative Assessments 2.0
Being a principal is one of the most difficult jobs I’ve ever had, and yet one of the most rewarding. Baker, Ferrua, and George give heart felt, experience laden support in their new book, PrincipalED. The personal stories they share will resonate with every administrator. This book is filled with care and love providing hope for all educators.
-Kyra Donovan Associate Partner at the International Center for Leadership in Education, Author of Rigorous Curriculum Design, 2nd Edition
Leadership can be lonely. Learning the ropes when you are new to leadership, or in a new position can be a challenge if you don’t have the right resources readily available. PrincipalED: Navigating the Leadership Learning Curve is one of those resources that will help you learn how to lead while elevating essential daily practices. Be ready to have this as a resource close by during the course of your career.
-Jessica Cabeen, 2017 Minnesota Nationally Distinguished Principal, Author, Speaker & Middle School Principal
A rare behind the scenes and below the surface exploration of the unique role of the building level principal. PrincipalEd weaves together powerful insight from three principals with candidness, authenticity, care, and humor with invitations to reflect and dig deeper via practical examples, exercises, and tools like graphic organizers, Invitation to Implement and reflection prompts. If you’re new to your principalship or have been serving as a principal for years this book will come alongside you with honesty, care, support, and guidance as you navigate all that encompasses your leadership journey.
-Kendra Coates Ed.D., Author of Girl’s Guide to a Growth Mindset and Counting What Counts: Reframing Education Outcomes
PrincipalED: Navigating the Leadership Learning Curve authentically captures what educational leadership is and why it’s so important. Kate, Courtney, and Rachael’s common-sense approach will help you be the best leader you can be. Any success I’ve had as a leader―on campus and in life―has had its roots in a solid core of thoughtful, purposeful growth The practicalities of practices shared here are well worth your time, as a veteran administrator or someone brand new to a leadership role. This book is an easy read and will help fine-tune the direction of your leader trajectory!.
-Amber Teaman, speaker and author of Lead with Appreciation
Kate, Rachael and Kourtney are amazing human beings and truly outstanding leaders. Reading PrincipalED feels like you are in the midst of an incredibly meaningful conversation with your most trusted mentors. Kate, Rachael and Kourtney generously share their stories, their experiences, their advice – and in doing so, they provide a treasure trove of invaluable tips and tools for every practicing or aspiring principal.
-Craig Hawkins, Executive Director of Coalition of Oregon School Administrators
Getting the job is one thing, but being amazing in the job is something totally different and special. Kate, Kourtney, and Rachael crushed it with this sweet mix of practical solutions, real stories, and inspiration! PrincipalED gives us that spark we all need to maximize our personalities and leadership potential for our schools!
-Dr. Andy Jacks, award winning principal, speaker, author and NAESP Senior Fellow