Being a school administrator is hard work! You wear a lot of hats on a daily basis. In between leading staff, supporting students, connecting with parents and the community, you can occasionally sneak in a great book. To be sure you spend that precious reading time well, we put together a list of the six best books for school principals in 2021.
Best Books for Principals in 2021
Imagine a school with a culture so positive that everyone thrives: students and educators alike. Classrooms are lively, students feel they’re part of a community that cares about them, and teachers are happy and productive. Too good to be true? Not in a ridiculously amazing school.
There are many of them all across the country. What are their secrets to success? In this book, principal Tracey Smith and Jeff Waller, co-author of The 7 Mindsets to Live Your Ultimate Life, show how taking care of educators first—and cultivating supportive relationships—results in profound and positive changes. Smith and Waller explore the five key elements of what they call courageous schools: schools that understand it takes a “whole” teacher to teach the “whole” child. They reveal the one variable that stands out as a predictor of sustained excellence…and it isn’t about leadership style, teaching practices, or demographics.
There’s no question that teaching is hard work with little instant gratification, and too many educators go to work each day feeling unappreciated and overburdened. But it shouldn’t—and doesn’t—have to be that way.
Smith and Waller offer practical solutions and a road map to drive real and meaningful change within the school and classroom. It’s possible to create a nurturing climate where teachers are respected and have the power to transform lives…not just their students’ lives, but their own.
The Energy Bus, an international bestseller by Jon Gordon, takes readers on an enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward-thinking that leads to true accomplishment at work and at home. Jon infuses this engaging story with keen insights as he provides a powerful roadmap to overcome adversity and bring out the best in yourself and your team. When you get on The Energy Bus you’ll enjoy the ride of your life.
The results are in: observations are not improving teaching and learning. Pertinently, the Gates Foundation’s recently completed effort to improve student outcomes through enhancing the teacher evaluation process failed to achieve substantive improvement. The way observations are currently designed serve as an obstacle to teacher risk-taking. Teachers fear negative evaluations when their pedagogy is rated, and they lack faith in being supported by supervisors because a trusting relationship between them and their observer has not been built.
Trust-Based Observations: Maximizing Teaching and Learning Growth is a schema-changing evaluation model that understands people perform at their best when they feel safe and supported. It begins with twelve, 20-minute observations per week followed by collegial conversations driven by reflective questions, sharing observed teaching strengths, and the building of safe and trusting relationships with teachers. Add the elimination of rating pedagogical skills and replace it with rating mindset, and teachers’ trust. When teachers fully embrace risk-taking and innovation, it leads to remarkable teaching transformations and improved student learning.
The best view comes after the hardest climb.
While the principal’s office may sometimes feel like the loneliest place in the building, it doesn’t have to be. In Principaled, veteran principals Kate Barker, Kourtney Ferrua, and Rachael George draw back the curtain on their years of experience, revealing the strategies, mindsets, and practices that have helped them flourish in their roles.
With humor, humility, and candor, the authors detail the key ingredients to find balance as a school leader: taking time to reflect and learn, seeking out mentors, crafting simple and clear goals, and not neglecting self-care. The authors present a step-by-step approach to facing the challenges of school change and demonstrate that achievement and improving culture are not mutually exclusive goals. Strengthened by their hard-earned wisdom, the dynamic trio behind Principaled will elevate school leaders and help them find their footing along the route to career contentment.
Whether we are overwhelmed by work or school; our families or communities; caretaking for others or ourselves; or engagement in social justice, environmental advocacy, or civil service, just a few subtle shifts can help sustain us. Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, the bestselling author of Trauma Stewardship, shows us how by offering concrete strategies to help us mitigate harm, cultivate our ability to be decent and equitable, and act with integrity. The Age of Overwhelm aims to help ease our burden of overwhelm, restore our perspective, and give us the strength to navigate what is yet to come.
How can you keep your energy, happiness, creativity, and relationships fresh and thriving in the midst of never-ending family demands, career pressures, and the stress of everyday life? In Sacred Rest, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, a board-certified internal medicine doctor, reveals why rest can no longer remain optional.
Dr. Dalton-Smith shares seven types of rest she has found lacking in the lives of those she encounters in her clinical practice and research-physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, sensory, social, creative-and why a deficiency in any one of these types of rest can have unfavorable effects on your health, happiness, relationships, creativity, and productivity.
Sacred Rest combines the science of rest, the spirituality of rest, the gifts of rest, and the resulting fruit of rest. It shows rest as something sacred, valuable, and worthy of our respect. By combining scientific research with personal stories, spiritual insight, and practical next steps, Sacred Rest gives the weary permission to embrace rest, set boundaries, and seek sanctuary without any guilt, shame, or fear
If you would like to try a free month of Kindle Unlimited click here. Whether you’re a novice principal looking for advice or an experienced administrator seeking inspiration, these best books for principals in 2021 can help you reignite your passion for leadership and help you destress and rejuvenate.