The Potency of the Principalship: Action-Oriented Leadership at the Heart of School Improvement

by Nicholas D. Young (American International College), Elizabeth J. Bienia (Endicott College, Beverly, MA), Anne E. Mead (Danbury Public Schools)

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"The Potency of the Principalship: Action-Oriented Leadership at the Heart of School Improvement" is a practical tome for school administrators who wish to create an exemplary educational program for all students. Included within the pages are chapters that explain school law and creating high performance teams, both of which can be problem areas for new school leaders, while other chapters include research-based strategies and practices meant to guide administrators. With clarity and research-based accuracy, The Potency of the Principalship is sure to assist those already ensconced in the role of school leader, as well as those contemplating a move to the principalship.

Judith L. Klimkiewicz, Ed.D.
Senior Consultant for K-12 College/Career Education and Workforce Development
Commissioner's Office
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Superintendent of Schools, retired, Nashoba Valley Technical School District, MA

As a school administrator, I am always interested to find books that guide and improve my practice. "The Potency of the Principalship: Action-Oriented Leadership at the Heart of School Improvement" is one such book. Chapters include technology and the new educational leader standards, goal setting, data driven decision making, and instructional leadership practices, all of which are needed to create a high performing school. This text is straightforward and will appeal to all building administrators, seasoned and new alike.
John D. Neuberger, MA
Vice Principal - Administration
Oceana High School, Jefferson Union High School District, Pacifica, CA

"The Potency of the Principalship: Action-Oriented Leadership at the Heart of School Improvement" is, without question, a must read for all school leaders and those who wish to move into school administration. Grounded in research, yet highly practical, this book offers readers strategies and practices to improve family-school engagement, explains potential professional development to improve the teaching and learning cycle, and details the importance of partnering with teacher unions. Other important topics are covered in an easy to read manner; and the book as a whole becomes a valued resource for all those in leadership roles within the field of education.
Vinnie A. Regan, M.S., M.Ed.
Springfield Public Schools, Springfield, MA

With an eye on pro-active leadership behaviors, "The Potency of the Principalship: Action-Oriented Leadership at the Heart of School Improvement" cuts to the chase and offers interested school leaders all the tools they need to improve schools from the inside out. Transforming the teaching and learning cycle through goal setting and data driven decision making, as well as a critical look at instructional leadership and a detailed review of the new technology standards for education leaders, readers will quickly find that the information within this book will enhance and improve student outcomes ten-fold.

Richard B. Holzman, Ed.D.
Senior Advisor for External Affairs
University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Springfield, MA
Superintendent of Schools, retired, Ware Public Schools, Ware, MA

This book examines the diverse responsibilities of the 21st century principal, who is tasked with continuous school improvement. Recognizing that principals must lead educators and staff in all facets of school life, this book reviews research-based strategies, practices and theories that can be readily translated into the enhanced praxis. The authors present an in-depth analysis into principal identity, working effectively with families, how a collaborative school culture can offer dividends, helping teachers educate an increasingly diverse student body, and successful instructional leadership approaches. Additional emphasis is placed on school law, teachers’ unions, hiring and evaluation, budgeting, curriculum and program assessment, professional development, and the use of technology. Notably, throughout their investigation, the authors bear in mind cutting-edge practices that can be employed in these areas to leverage the best from schools and those that inhabit their halls. The reader will be left with an expanded understanding of principal practices that directly and indirectly improve student achievement as well as a resource section for further consideration and use.

Chapter 1 Promoting Passion in Others: Recruiting, Evaluating, and Retaining a High-Performance Team
Chapter 2 Learning the Lingo: Professional Development to Increase Student Growth
Chapter 3 Leveraging the Role of Teacher Unions: Striving for Collaboration and Mutual Respect
Chapter 4 Goal Setting to Raise the Bar: Improving the School from Within
Chapter 5 The Critical Nature of Data Driven Decision Making: Improving Academic Performance through Analytics
Chapter 6 Earning an ‘A’ in Instructional Leadership: Promoting Continuous Improvement Through Deliberate Practices
Chapter 7 Valuing Equity, Equality, and Inclusive Practices: Fostering Achievement in Diverse Populations
Chapter 8 Tapping Technology: Standards and Instructional Practices with Promise
Chapter 9 Your House or Mine: Meeting Families at the Front Door
Chapter 10 The Importance of School Law: Positive Outcomes for All Students
Chapter 11 Resources at your Fingertips
About the Authors

Dr. Nicholas D. Young has worked in diverse educational roles for more than 30 years, serving as a principal, special education director, graduate professor, graduate program director, graduate dean, and longtime superintendent of schools. He was named the Massachusetts Superintendent of the Year; and he completed a distinguished Fulbright program focused on the Japanese educational system through the collegiate level. Dr. Young is the recipient of numerous other honors and recognitions including the General Douglas MacArthur Award for distinguished civilian and military leadership and the Vice Admiral John T. Hayward Award for exemplary scholarship. He holds several graduate degrees including a PhD in educational administration and an EdD in educational psychology.

Dr. Elizabeth Jean has served as an elementary school educator and administrator in various rural and urban settings in Massachusetts for more than 20 years. As a building administrator, she has fostered partnerships with families, various local businesses, and higher education institutions. Further, she is currently a graduate adjunct professor at the Van Loan School of Education, Endicott College and previously taught at the College of Our Lady of the Elms. In terms of formal education, Dr. Jean received a BS in education from Springfield College; a MEd in education with a concentration in reading from the College of Our Lady of the Elms; and an EdD in curriculum, teaching, learning and leadership from Northeastern University. She has written extensively on a variety of educational topics from preschool through PhD.

Dr. Anne Mead has over 35 years of experience in the early childhood education field. Her career has spanned professional roles as a family child care provider, child care center director, preschool special education instructor, early childhood education trainer and consultant on organizational and system management. Dr. Mead is currently the administrator for early childhood programs and extended learning for the Danbury Public Schools in Danbury, Connecticut where she has been credited with the development of a family and community engagement center, before and after school programs, and the formation of a family learning center. She received a BA in Human Services from the University of Connecticut, a MEd in Educational Leadership from National Louis University, and an EdD in Organizational Leadership Studies from Northeastern University.

School law, professional development, teacher unions, principals, school leaders, technology, data-driven decision making, instructional leadership, equity, inclusion, goal-setting

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

The Potency of the Principalship: Action-Oriented Leadership at the Heart of School Improvement





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm

Publication date

June 2019