Top 10 Educational Leadership Books for Principals

Check out these educational leadership books for principals
Contributed By

Kristen Cole

Education Writer

Top 10 Educational Leadership Books for Principals

Posted in Evolving Ed | August 29, 2019

Principals have a unique position in schools. They don’t have to make the major decisions about the entire corporation like a superintendent, but they do get to help nurture an entire building of staff and students. The men and women who get excited about this somewhat daunting task are truly called to be principals. Whether you are brand new to the administration part of education, have been there for quite some time, or are starting at a new school, read some of these educational leadership books to help inspire and prepare you for the upcoming school year.

1. “If You Don’t Feed the Teachers, They Eat the Students: Guide to Success for Administrators and Teachers” by Neila A. Connors

If you are looking for a fun, easy-to-read educational leadership book, this is the one for you. It provides ideas to change school climates and bring energy back with you to the school. It is a great read for teachers, too, but Connors equips principals to better encourage teachers and boost morale throughout the year. 

2. “Lead Like a PIRATE: Make School Amazing for your Students and Staff” by Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf

If you or your staff read “Teach Like a Pirate” by Dave Burgess, then this book by his wife is a great option for you. She helps principals build rapport with staff and students while searching for “leadership treasure” at your school. This book will have you so excited to go to work tomorrow and transform your school into a place where everyone wants to be.

3. “Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times” by Eric Sheninger

Whether your school has implemented one-to-one devices or not, the technological climate has and is changing. Sheninger provides practical ways to use technology to build your school community, communicate more efficiently with parents and students, as well as just creating a positive technological presence within your school.

4. “What Great Principals Do Differently: 18 Things That Matter Most” by Todd Whitaker

This book is an awesome read as Whitaker covers all aspects of being a principal. He gives helpful hints on how to run your day, how to handle standardized testing, how to hire great teachers, and how to create a caring atmosphere for students and staff. This book really covers everything and is a great choice for any principal, but especially new principals.

5. “Whatever It Takes: How a Professional Learning Community Respond When Kids Don’t Learn” by Richard and Rebecca DuFour

Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) are one of the current buzzwords in education. Richard and Rebecca DuFour were the top advocates for them and have written a wonderful book to help principals and teachers look at what to do when students fail and don’t achieve their learning goals. Their list of practical interventions is a must-read, especially if your school has implemented PLC’s.

6. “What They Don’t Tell You in Schools of Education About School Administration” by John A. Black

One of the most highly recommended books is Black’s book that looks behind the scenes at school administration. This is a motivational and eye-opening read for all administrators. It can help you navigate school politics and survive administration.

7. “Hacking School Discipline: 9 Ways to Create a Culture of Empathy and Responsibility Using Restorative Justice” by Nathan Maynard

Maynard’s book is a must-read for all principals. He helps identify why negative and repeated behaviors occur as well as positive solutions that help change how students behave and how teachers view discipline within your school. He also discusses how to help students become more aware of their behaviors and impact students in a positive light. 

8. “Hacking Leadership: 10 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students, and Parents Love” by Joe Sanfelippo 

In this book, principals can take a look at themselves as the force that leads their schools. Instead of focusing on how you can push others to succeed, Sanfelippo stares at the principal and inspires you to lead from the “middle of the pack” with your staff, students, and parents instead of just setting a vision and expecting others to follow it. He encourages you to get down and possibly a little dirty to help guide your school in the right direction.

9. “Motivating and Inspiring Teachers: The Educational Leader's Guide for Building Staff Morale” by Todd Whitaker

Principals are not only in charge of students and school policies, they also have to lead and encourage their teachers. Whitaker’s book looks at just how to accomplish this task by having meaningful conversations with staff, hiring and welcoming new staff, and inspiring teachers to be their best.

10. “Being a Successful Principal: Riding the Wave of Change Without Drowning” by David Schumaker

To cap off this list is a lovable book that provides stories and anecdotes from other principals and school administrators. Schumaker shares their stories to remind other principals that they are not alone.

Hopefully some of these books make it onto your shelves and into your to-read stack. Do you have educational leadership books you would recommend for other principals? Share with us on Twitter @Schoology


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