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Understanding, Negotiating, and Maximizing Your Influence as a School Leader

  • Jim Watterston
  • Yong Zhao - University of Kansas, USA, The University of Kansas & East China Normal University, East China Normal University & University of Kansas

Other Titles in:
Leadership | Principalship

February 2024 | 160 pages | Corwin

Transform educational systems by zeroing in on what matters.

As schools grapple with an array of social, economic, and political challenges, education leaders must hone their focus on important tasks and learn how to navigate bureaucratic constraints, policies, and parental concerns while fostering change. This essential guide proposes that school leaders become "brave and focused," not by abandoning structures or making changes recklessly, but by understanding their influence and maximizing positive change with evidence-based decisions.

Divided into three stages, Focused addresses building a leadership paradigm for outstanding schools, discusses the most influential elements for collective success, and offers solutions to the pitfalls that frequently hinder success. Other features include:

  • Illustrative vignettes, practical examples, and stories
  • Research-based action steps to become a more focused leader
  • Focus points at the close of each chapter to support implementing a new leadership approach

Focused provides a practical guide for school leaders to successfully navigate today's complex educational systems and develop the change-makers, artisans, innovators, inventors, and civic leaders of tomorrow.

STAGE 1: How to Build a Leadership Paradigm for Outstanding Schools
Chapter 1: School Leadership: Finding the Space to do the Job Effectively
Chapter 2: Negotiating the Inverted Triangle of Influence
Chapter 3: Leading to Create a Game Plan for Success
Chapter 4: Leading a Renewed Purpose of Education
STAGE 2: What Are the Most Influential Elements for Collective Success?
Chapter 5: Leading Students
Chapter 6: Leading Teachers and Other Players in Schools
STAGE 3: How to Avoid the Pitfalls That Prevent Success
Chapter 7: Leading through Formative Accountability: Shifting the Locus of Control
Chapter 8: Leading for Sustainability: Embracing Disruption and Crisis

"This book challenges and inspires leaders to maximize their impact. Its pages will be well-worn as school leaders worldwide eagerly grasp its profound insights. The book reflects the authors’ deep understanding of students' needs and offers a roadmap for leaders to meet those needs with unwavering dedication."

Emily McCarran
Head of Keystone Academy, Beijing, China

"Focused: Understanding, Negotiating, and Maximizing Your Influence as a School Leader is an enlightening, informative, and inspirational roadmap for any aspiring or experienced school leader; it tackles the seemingly overwhelming challenges facing education leaders, providing guidance and, even more importantly, well-grounded reasons for hope in our profession."

Gabriel Rshaid
Co-founder and Director, The Global School, Founder and Director, The Learnerspace

"Watterston and Zhao have given hope to school leaders looking to transform their schools.  This book gives concrete suggestions on how leaders can work with students, staff, and the larger community to bring about changes now.  School leaders will be energized by these ideas to improve students’ experiences and their schools."

Chris Kennedy
Superintendent of Schools, West Vancouver, Canada

"Focused shares a clear vision of where education needs to head and how leadership roles will need to change to meet that vision. It successfully integrates research, stories from the field, and a blend of current reality with future focus."

Ellen Perconti
Superintendent, Goldendale School District, Goldendale, Washington

"Watterston and Zhao articulate ways to rethink leadershipfor principals and teacher leaders. The impact on students will be significant."

Dr. Peter Dillon
Berkshire Hills Regional School District, Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Jim Watterston

Jim Watterston brings more than 39 years of successful experience across a diverse range of educational roles and sectors, from his first job as a teacher in a rural Indigenous classroom in his home state of Western Australia to his appointment as the Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Melbourne. Jim spent his first ten years in the profession as a teacher before being promoted to the position of principal in a range of primary and secondary schools. He then progressed to the role of Regional Director in WA and Victoria before he was appointed as the Deputy Secretary of the Victorian Education Department, and Director... More About Author

Yong Zhao

Yong Zhao is a Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas and a professor in Educational Leadership at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education in Australia. He previously served as the Presidential Chair, Associate Dean, and Director of the Institute for Global and Online Education in the College of Education, University of Oregon, where he was also a Professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy, and Leadership. Prior to Oregon, Yong Zhao was University Distinguished Professor at the College of Education, Michigan State University, where he also... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781071857137