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7 Mindshifts for School Leaders

7 Mindshifts for School Leaders
Finding New Ways to Think About Old Problems

First Edition

Foreword by Joe Sanfelippo

October 2022 | 232 pages | Corwin

With the right approach, no problem is unsolvable.

How do you approach and solve problems in education that have been around so long that they just feel…normal? Perpetual issues—numeracy, reading ability, equity, grading, and teacher retention—are often continually managed, but not solved like the crises they are for future sustainability.

This innovative guide introduces seven mindshifts that will help you engage with your community, access diverse resources, embrace radical new ideas, create equity, and chart a course of school improvement to solve those “unsolvable issues” so that your students and teachers learn and grow. Features include

  • Seven adaptable models—one per mindshift—for finding your own solutions to perennial problems
  • Stories highlighting the successful implementation of each mindshift
  • Discussions to help you match mindshifts to particular problems
  • Technical tips and reflection questions

Persistent problems in education can only be solved if we approach them as the crises that they are. This book gives you the tools you need to become a new kind of school leader—one empowered to not just deal with the outcomes of perennial complex issues, but extinguish them altogether so that your students can thrive.

Foreword by Joe Sanfelippo
Preface: From Flawed Thinking to New Mental Shifts
Introduction: Finding New Ways to Think About Old Problems
Mental Shift #1: Leading with a Crisis Mindset
Mental Shift #2: Leading with a Battleground Mentality
Mental Shift #3: Leading With a Beginner’s Mind
Mental Shift #4: Leading with an Octopus Approach
Mental Shift #5: Leading with a Disciplined Tunnel Vision
Mental Shift #6: Leading with a Yes, And Attitude
Mental Shift #7: Leading with a Go With What Is Known Response
Conclusion: Leading to Maximize Disruption

As our world changes, we must also change the way we think about leading, teaching, and learning. 7 Mindshifts for School Leaders offers practical strategies for how to make meaningful change to positively impact school communities for the better. This is a must-read book for all school leaders.

Starr Sackstein
Mastery Portfolio, LLC
Oceanside, NY

7 Mindshifts for School Leaders is a stand-out game-changer! Hamilton, Jones, and Vari offer real-time ideas and examples to support you with current leadership strategies. They provide a blueprint for implementing effective change to bolster student achievement.

Matthew X. Joseph
X-Factor EDU
Boston, MU

Hamilton, Jones, and Vari empower school leaders to craft new solutions for age-old problems. This framework is an inspiring pathway and highly doable. Each new lens offered is complemented with a plethora of relatable examples, strategies, and resources.

Aubrey Patterson
Warm Demanders Inc.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

The seven mindshifts shared by Hamilton, Jones, and Vari give current and upcoming school leaders a fresh way to think about the unique problems their schools are facing. The easy-to-read format offers the models and mindsets school leaders need to develop solutions to issues such as classroom management, achievement gaps, teacher retention, and more. It is a must-read for all leaders.

Nathan Maynard
the Restorative Group
Indianapolis, IN

In 7 Mindshifts for School Leaders, Connie, Joe, and TJ lay the foundation for how leaders of the next generation will need to think differently to effect change and impact our schools. Reading this book is the first step in creating the mindsets needed to fight decades-old battles in education. Let’s start the revolution!

Salome Thomas-EL
Wilmington, DE

I love a book that is unabashedly deep. 7 Mindshifts is brimming with new insights and ideas for action. Each of the mindshifts is unique and rich with analysis and directional solutions. Take time with each mindshift. Savour it in its own right. Each one is a change theory on its own. The seven together cross-cut and stimulate more ideas about how we might find new ways to think about old problems in education.

Michael Fullan
OISE/University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

We exponentially increase our chances of solving the vast challenges facing education when we adopt a crisis mindset. Enough with planning and strategizing! 7 Mindshifts for School Leaders is an all hands on deck call to action.

Daniel Bauer
Better Leaders Better Schools
Syracuse, NY

Hamilton, Jones, and Vari re-define what we mean by crisis and explain the mindsets needed for effective school leadership. Their ambition is no less than to solve persistent, fundamental problems in education. This book should sit on school leaders’ desks with many dog-eared pages and highlighted sections. It leads educators to the right place to start and the methods to sustain the positive changes all students desperately need.

S. David Brazer
Brazer Education Consulting
Petaluma, CA

Sample Materials & Chapters



CH02-Mindshift 1

Connie Hamilton

Connie Hamilton, Ed.S. served the field of education for 25+ as a teacher, instructional coach,principal and central office administrator. She earned her master’s and educational specialist degrees in the area of School Leadership with emphasis on curriculum and instruction. Her best selling book, Hacking Questions: 11 Answers That Create a Culture of Inquiry in Your Classroom was published in 2019. Along with Starr Sackstein, she co-authored Hacking Homework: 10 Strategies that Inspire Learning Outside the Classroom and also wrote Strained and Drained: Tools for Overworked Teachers with co-author, Dorothy VanderJagt. Throughout her career... More About Author

Joseph M. Jones Sr.

Joseph Jones, Ed.D. is the Superintendent of the New Castle County Vocational-Technical School District in Delaware. Joe is a former high school social studies teacher, assistant principal, and principal. As principal, he was named the Delaware Secondary Principal of the Year and during his tenure, Delcastle Technical High School was the first high school to receive the state’s Outstanding Academic Achievement Award. He received his doctorate from the University of Delaware in educational leadership and was awarded the outstanding doctoral student award of his class. Currently, Joe works closely with local and state leaders on student... More About Author

T.J. Vari

T.J. Vari, Ed.D. is the Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools and District Operations in the Appoquinimink School District in Delaware. He is a former middle school assistant principal and principal and former high school English teacher and department chair. His master’s degree is in School Leadership and his doctorate is in Innovation and Leadership where he accepted an Award for Academic Excellence given to one doctoral student per graduating class. He holds several honors and distinctions, including his past appointment as President of the Delaware Association for School Administrators, his work with the Delaware Association... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781071871065