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Top Leadership Books Publishing This Spring 

Are you looking for some inspiration in 2020? Perhaps you’re feeling the need to get back to the heart and soul of good leadership, or you’d like to hone your observation skills. Or, perhaps you’re looking to inspire systems change throughout your whole district. These new Spring publications from Corwin’s Leadership list have got you covered!  


Caring School Leadership 

Mark Smylie, Joe Murphy, and Karen Seashore Louis 

Do you feel like something is missing in today’s schools? Do you feel student success is too focused on academic accountability, test scores, and college readiness? Recalibrate your leadership with the help of this book to promote the practice of caring which, with academic rigor, is essential to effective schooling. 

Caring School Leadershipis a research-based collection of ideas, principles, and values illustrated with numerous examples and stories that will inform, inspire, and guide you. Evaluate your current leadership practice and evolve to lead in the way to which you aspire. In addition to insights and lessons about caring from educators and human service professions like nursing and ministry, readers will be introduced to themes of 

  •  Caring in interpersonal relationships with students
  • Cultivating schools as caring environments
  • Fostering caring in families and communities 

Visioning Onward: A Guide for Schools 

Christine Mason, Paul Liabenow, and Melissa Patschke 

As a leader, it’s your job to look beyond the present and envision a brighter future for your school. Choosing the right path, however, can be a challenge.

This inspirational resource is your guide. By following its one-of-a-kind iterative visioning process, you’ll sharpen your vision into a road map for transformative change—tailored to the needs of your learning community. Features include:  

  • Key strategies and tools for building a shared vision 
  • Practical implementation ideas 
  • Case studies from exemplary schools 
  • Common trends at the heart of impactful, positive change 
  • Thought-provoking vignettes  

Turn vision into reality, possibilities into plans, and create an environment that strengthens engagement, provides safe and nurturing learning opportunities, and produces students with the skills, knowledge, and disposition to be successful in life. 

Learner-Focused Feedback: 19 Strategies to Observe for Impact 

Amy Tepper and Patrick Flynn 

This book has been recognized as a Visible Learning Supporting Resource  

The skill set required for observing why students are learning and how teachers influence that is a difficult one to master—yet it’s essential when it comes to driving change and growth in your school. This book provides a curated collection of strategies to improve your ability to identify desired outcomes, recognize learning in action, collect relevant and accurate evidence, and develop smart, supportive, and effective feedback about a teacher’s impact on learners. 

And it’s not just leaders, coaches, and administrators who can use this highly accessible how-to. This time around, Tepper and Flynn also address the needs of teachers who double as observers, whether they’re mentoring new teachers, supporting each other or analyzing the effectiveness of their own teaching. No matter your role, you’ll benefit from their expert guidance, as well as: 

  • Authentic classroom examples
  • Observer think-alouds
  • Stories from the field with “Give-It-a-Try” tools and “Stop and Think” questions
  • Follow-up steps specific to your role  

When classroom observation and feedback are both learner-centered (focused on students) and learning-focused (focused on teachers as learners), they lead to a culture of learning throughout the school. Take this book as your guide, and explore just how effective your feedback can be. 

Instructional Leadership: Creating Practice Out of Theory  

Peter DeWitt 

Instructional Leadership is one of the most researched and discussed leadership practices, but most school leaders don’t know where to begin or how to balance this role with all of their other responsibilities. Peter DeWitt’s Instructional Leadership provides practical tools for delivering lasting improvement through small, manageable changes over time. 

This step-by-step, how-to guide presents the six driving forces of instructional leadership—implementation, focus on learning, student engagement, instructional strategies, efficacy, and evaluation of impact—within an easy-to-follow, multi-stage implementation model. It also includes: 

  •  Practical strategies grounded in research
  • “Entry point” sections highlighting the best places to start
  • Help working with PLCs, faculty meetings, teacher observations, and walkthroughs
  • Study questions

As a leader, you are the guide for your teachers, staff, and students. Let this book guide you to a vision of instructional leadership that really works. 

The Devil Is In the Details: System Solutions for Equity, Excellence, and Well-Being 

Michael Fullan  

We need to combine a moral imperative and a system transformation to survive for the better. Education is crucial to our future but needs to play a more direct role in shaping our future. The Devil is in the Details shows how we can re-think the education system and its three levels of leadership—local, middle, and top—so that each level can contribute to dramatic turnaround for education and society. The focus is on examining details to ensure effective actions are taken, rather than assuming large pronouncements and policies will drive change. Readers will find: 

  • Details and analysis about successful systems in California, Ontario, and Australia 
  • Ideas for how leaders at all levels can take steps to begin 
  • Vignettes, actions and strategies that illustrate how to address equity, excellence and well-being

With the goal of transforming the culture of learning to develop greater equity, excellence, and student well-being, this book will help you liberate the system and maintain focus. 

You Don’t Need Superpowers to Be a Kid’s Hero: Leading a Hero-Building School Culture 

Bill Ziegler and Dave Ramage 

The future of our schools depends on leaders who can foster every day heroism in others. This doesn’t require supernatural powers. It requires a willingness to be intentional in building heroes in our communities who are ready to get things done and take on the demands of the future.    

You Don’t Need Superpowers to Be a Kid’s Hero will help you create the climate that produces these heroes. Hero-building work will help you look deeply into your school culture and see yourself and your students and staff in a fresh, powerful way. Readers will find: 

  • Training ideas for leadership teams
  • Instruments for gauging progress
  • Practical steps for building courage into practices
  • Practical strategies to help navigate the complexities of creating an extraordinary school
  • Hero-building stories from the field

Written with an inspiring tone, this book will empower school leaders to lead in a way that unleashes staff and students to be superheroes in their communities.  

Shifting: How School Leaders Can Create a Culture of Change 

Kirsten Richert, Jeff Ikler, and Margaret Zacchei 

Change in schools is hard, but often essential. Internal and external factors require careful analysis before jumping into any change. Are you prepared to work with colleagues with confidence and clarity through such shifts?   

In Shifting, educators and leadership experts Jeff Ikler, Kirsten Richert, and Margaret Zacchei empower educational change leaders to proactively and coherently navigate complex change in schools to achieve the desired outcomes. Using a three-part framework—Assess, Ready, Change—this book leads educators to examine a school’s imperatives and readiness for change, identity the tools and abilities required to manifest change, and take action by defining the roles and processes necessary to effectively implement both sweeping change and smaller day-to-day adjustments. Change leaders learn to 

  • Shift the emphasis in the change process from procedure to the people implementing change
  • Move from an environment of “command and control” to one of leaders creating other leaders
  • Reframe change as an essential shift in school culture rather than a series of episodic events

Rich with leadership insights, stories, podcasts, and hands-on activities, Shifting offers an integrated tapestry of wisdom and support for changemakers intent on meaningful collaboration in a positive, engaged workplace.   

Written by

Ariel is the Acquisitions Editor for Teaching Essentials at Corwin, and editor of Corwin Connect. When not working, you can usually find Ariel hiking, rock climbing, practicing yoga, reading with a glass of wine, or writing a book review on her blog, One Little Library.

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