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by Paul Houston — 2006
To be proactive and to broaden our leadership agenda, we must recognize that the first and foremost mission of the public schools is their civic mission. In these times of making education the foremost instrument of the global economy while making public schools the scapegoat for society’s lack of will to tackle the messy issues of race and class, that mission has gotten lost. What would it take to recapture the deepest reasons we have public schools? What would it take to confront the issues of how we keep children whole and how we address the needs of the whole child in an era in which children are being sliced and diced into categories on standardized tests? What is the role of local districts, of local control, when state and federal bureaucracies are making the decisions and calling the dance? What are the implications of all this for education and for democracy?

by Paul Kelleher & Rebecca van der Bogert — 2006
We, the editors of this volume, are both long-time superintendents of schools who have lived and enacted the role in recent years. Phil Townsend is a fictional character, but his story is typical of what we have heard from far too many of our colleagues across the country. We empathize with those like Phil and agree that what it means to be the leader of a local school system has changed dramatically and continues to change in response to the changing times and contexts. We intend this volume to provide hope that despite the daunting challenges educational leaders like Phil face today, they have more to look forward to than retirement.

by Paul Kelleher & Beverly Hall — 2006
One of the findings that we found fascinating was the variety of sources of energy and the courage that kept our authors going when confronted with obstacles that might be insurmountable to many. As you read Beverly Hall’s story, you will feel the passion that she brings to her superintendency, passion that is fueled by her beliefs—belief in poor children’s ability to learn at high levels and belief in her staff that they can make it happen.

by Allan Alson — 2006
In one of our conversations with Allan Alson, he shared his belief that superintendents need to be politicians before they can be educators. His story illustrates that political and educational leadership are inextricably linked, as he describes his 14-year focus on and commitment to narrowing the achievement gap while working tirelessly with his different constituents to bring them into the process.

by Paul Kelleher & Larry Leverett — 2006
Hearing from our different authors clarified for us that leadership styles are a combination of tacit beliefs, experience, and personal qualities as much as conscious decisions about approaches to work, and are as varied as people are. What emerges as a common factor contributing to success is authenticity—consistency of words with actions—that enables the development of trusting relationships. Larry Leverett tells his story of one leader with one leadership style who moves between two different school districts with very different cultures.

by Linda Hanson — 2006
Superintendents often mourn the “good old days” when they were educators and did not need to worry about the managerial and political aspects of their districts. Linda Hanson shows how effective a superintendent can be in the role of educator as she and her reading staff help their school board understand the implications of a mandatory graduation test.

by Paul Kelleher — 2006
Most of us at some point in our career have to face the fact that we cannot control everything that happens in our district. As we mentioned in our introduction, we learn that even logical plans implemented skillfully can meet unexpected, uncontrollable obstacles. This can have serious consequences, from the lack of achievement for students to the loss of our jobs. Our anonymous contributor shares his courageous story of holding fast to what is best for children in the face of adversity, and ultimately having to make the decision whether to fight for his job or not. NSSE has never published an anonymous contribution before, but we agreed that “Juan’s” story was too valuable not to share.

by Rebecca van der Bogert — 2006
We found the enactment of democratic ideals to be a common theme throughout all of our authors’ stories as they describe their work to transform their districts. Becky van der Bogert shares her joys, struggles, and lessons learned that surround a deep commitment to trying to model democratic ideals in her leadership style.

by Becky Blair Hurley — 2006
When superintendents gather in private conversations, it is likely the question “What’s your board like?” will be raised. Becky Hurley speaks eloquently from a board member’s perspective about the steep learning curve that she experienced and how she developed a productive working relationship with her superintendent and with other board members.

by John Wiens — 2006
Most of us started our superintendency committed to keeping our eye on the higher purposes of education, vowing not to get bogged down in the managerial details. John Wiens shares his quest for an intellectual understanding of the role, a meaningful theory of leadership, and the creation of an environment that helped others pursue similar quests.

by Bena Kallick — 2006
Being a superintendent is much like the new technology you purchase—the manual is difficult to read and understand, the help line is difficult to reach, and the consultation charge to learn from experts is costly. It is a job that requires enormous flexibility, attention to multiple perspectives, and an internal set of checks and balances to withstand the pressures of external demands from a public that has, in many ways, been distracted from the real purpose of a public education system.

by Barry Jentz — 2006
In this book, school district leaders do an honest and credible job of describing their struggles with external forces and the surprises, disappointments, and puzzlements that naturally accompany those struggles. In some stories, we also see an internal focus, leaders stepping back to question “the entity”—the mind that engages the world—in an effort to gain a clearer picture of their own behavior, its consequences, and its antecedents. In other stories, however, leaders speak as if they share an unspoken assumption that the superintendent mind is an entity, stable and nonchanging, at once wise and considerate, if sometimes frustrated and perplexed. These superintendents reveal little of their own minds.

by Donald Hones — 2002
Through a narrative, participatory research process the voices and experiences of three bilingual high school students are presented and interpreted through a critical pedagogical lens.

by Robert Anderson — 1988
Curriculum workers, supervisors, and others in leadership roles are frequently daunted by essentially political forces and pressures that call for compromise of professional standards or ethics or the diversion of energies intended to benefit children to other and less legitimate activities. In some cases, the pressures take the form of mandates or their equivalent from state governments, state agencies, or other powerful entities seeking to accomplish certain broad social or political goals through the instrument of public education. In other cases, the pressures are more localized and originate with parents, both individually and collectively, with boards of education, or with the administrative officers of the local school district. On occasion the pressures come from prestigious persons, organizations, or other opinion-influencing entities such as the media. Whatever their origins or their merit, such pressures sometimes pose enormous problems for supervisors and eventually dilute, alter, or imperil the overall quality of educational services. In this chapter we examine these pressures and consider how curriculum workers are affected by and deal with them.

by John Smyth — 1987
Teacher supervision is suffering from a legacy of being affiliated with an outmoded integration of science and technology. Dialectical supervision, which emphasizes empowering teachers with ways of knowing that involve continually confronting themselves and searching for more responsive and less dominant educative practices, is proposed as an oppositional view to that of hierarchical scientific management of teaching.

by Dale Mann — 1986
A call to consider assertive forms of school leadership.

by Milbrey McLaughlin — 1984
Teacher evaluation can be a potent school-improvement tool not because it puts a floor under classroom practices—the goal of accountability-based evaluation models—but because it addresses the incentives central to individual development and the teacher’s sense of professionalism. Evaluation when seen in this light cannot be subjected to the quick fix, but requires the interaction of a host of factors that build on the norms and values central to the teaching profession.

by Laurence Iannaccone — 1973
It is the author’s perception that the concern with theory research has faltered. In the past, he has offered three or four standard answers to that question: 1. The concern for theory based research became a movement and ran out of steam; 2. The nature of the research professorship in educational administration; 3. The nature of the research professor in educational administration; 4. The encounter of the movement with the 1960s.

by Edwin Lee — 1943
This chapter moves on from these introductory but basic discussions to a consideration of the scope and organization of vocational education. In simple terms and as concisely as possible the chapter aims to present the principles of administration and supervision which should be operative in any program of vocational education. Such principles are not new. They typify good practice in business and industry as well as in schools. The virtue of their reiteration in this volume lies in the emphasis given to the responsibility placed upon the general administrator and in their application to the peculiar problems in the vocational area.

by Erna Grassmuck, Josie Shea & Francis Garver — 1933
Striking conditions out of which supervisory problems in geographic education arise are: (1) the irregular and scant training of teachers themselves in modern geographic education; (2) the transition period through which the concept or definition of geography has been passing, with inevitable confusion in thinking; (3) limited equipment as to materials of true geographic quality in elementary and secondary schools and collegiate institutions; (4) difficulty encountered by teachers and supervisors in their efforts to acquire appropriate preparation in this new geographic education.

by Stuart Biegel — 2010
Acknowledging the growing acceptability of a diminishing level of privacy protection in the U.S., this commentary examines three case studies that together reflect the challenges faced by members of the education community in this context: the 2007 massacre perpetrated by 23-year-old Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in the strip search of 13-year-old Arizona student Savana Redding, and the 2010 suicide of 18-year-old Rutgers student Tyler Clementi. Although the three events may appear very different from each other at first glance, an analysis of what transpired reveals many parallels and offers opportunities for education leaders to begin the process of regaining the elusive middle ground in this area.

by Richard Fossey — 2012
A student facing expulsion from a public university is entitled to a due process hearing at some point in the expulsion process, even if university officials perceive the student to be dangerous.

by Richard Fossey, Suzanne Eckes & Todd DeMitchell — 2014
An Illinois school board fired a tenured guidance counselor because he self-published a sexually explicit advice book on adult relationships. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the school board's decision on the grounds that the board reasonably believed that the book could undermine the integrity of the school counseling program.

by Lisa Rosen & Linda Rubin — 2015
Last year marked the tenth anniversary of the film Mean Girls. This film has brought widespread attention to the difficulties of navigating high school peer relationships, including the pain of relational aggression (or relational bullying). As the name implies, relational aggression is defined as behavior aimed at harming another’s relationships, and includes spreading rumors and social exclusion. The longstanding popularity of Mean Girls makes it clear that the movie continues to strike a chord in popular culture. Despite popular interest and growing research, the majority of school-based intervention programs have focused solely on physical aggression to the exclusion of relational aggression. This commentary discusses recent empirical findings on relational aggression and offers suggestions for how educators can use this research to decrease mean behaviors on their campuses.

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Book Reviews
by Thomas L. Alsbury and Phil Gore (Eds.)
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by Kathleen W. Gershman
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Resources
  • Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education
    The Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education publishes research and applied scholarship perspectives on current issues in the evaluation of teacher and administrator performance.
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