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Gardening in the Minefield: A Survival Guide for School Administrators


reviewed by David Cox — 2003

coverTitle: Gardening in the Minefield: A Survival Guide for School Administrators
Author(s): Laurel Schmidt
Publisher: Heinemann, Portsmouth, NH
ISBN: 0325004765, Pages: 199, Year: 2002
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The secret to writing a book is to find a good metaphor. Laurel Schmidt has done that in Gardening in the Minefield: A Survival Guide for School Administrators. This is a practical guide from an experienced administrator. School principals and assistant principals, particularly new appointees, at all levels will find this to be a valuable handbook. The book is organized into three major sections – “The Minefield,” “The Toolshed,” and “The Arsenal.” “The Minefield” contains four foundational chapters on politics, vision, shedding the parenting role, and recognizing “the enemy within” (the voices in your head, the negative self-talk, that can sap your ability to lead effectively). The chapter on politics outlines all of the special interest groups and individuals that seek the school administrator’s attention. On the specific topic of school-site governance groups, Schmidt discusses the issues of diversity, trust, conflict, prioritization, and collaborative coaching. Her humorous writing style, prevalent throughout the book, comes across when she quips, “In some cases, it would be easier to start your own... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 105 Number 4, 2003, p. 677-680
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11064, Date Accessed: 10/22/2017 7:04:48 PM

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About the Author
  • David Cox
    Arkansas State University
    E-mail Author
    DAVID COX is a professor of education and community college program coordinator at Arkansas State University where he teaches graduate courses on leadership, organization development, the community college, and community college teaching. His most recent publication is “Using Open Space Technology for School Improvement” in the Fall 2002 issue of the Journal of School Improvement. He is currently working on a major research interest of applying family systems thinking to leadership in educational organizations.
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