Real Leaders, Real Schools tells the stories of five urban public school principals who led their schools
through profound and transformative changes. In each of these cases, their efforts resulted in dramatic
improvements in student achievement—improvements that occurred within the current environment
of high-stakes tests.
The revealing and often gripping narratives that form the heart of this remarkable book offer unprecedented insights into the meaning and practice of effective school leadership. The stories themselves are often inspiring but they are never idealized. All of these principals met with frustrations as well as successes, setbacks as well as breakthroughs. All regularly reassessed their policies and practices, and all acknowledged—and learned from—their errors along the way. Yet all believed in their staffs and their students, and all found innovative ways to transform and improve their schools. These are true stories of successful leadership against enormous odds. They provide countless lessons for today’s school leaders and all who are committed to education reform.
Real Leaders, Real Schools breaks new ground with its in-depth profiles of five school leaders in the Boston Public Schools. It sheds new light on how school leaders can achieve positive results for all students by providing support to staff and students in courageous, focused, creative, and innovative ways. The book provides a wealth of insights into school leadership—and how leadership can be shaped by continuous learning and reflection. — Thomas Payzant, Professor of Practice, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and former Superintendent, Boston Public Schools
The well-written, inspiring accounts of leadership in Real Leaders, Real Schools tell us much about the current state of education. The book reveals how improvement too often requires almost superhuman funds of stamina and talent from its leaders—and a willingness to go against the prevailing culture of teaching and supervision. A penetrating study of schools and school leadership. — Mike Schmoker, author of Results NOW: How We Can Achieve Unprecedented Improvements in Teaching and Learning
Real Leaders, Real Schools confronts the most important question in education today: What difference can school leaders and teachers make in schools that are confronted with seemingly overwhelming challenges? With compelling cases and a thoughtful synthesis of evidence, the book provides important insights not only for those serving high-poverty schools, but for everyone committed to educational
equity and excellence. — Douglas B. Reeves, Founder, The Leadership and Learning Center