Leading Change in Your School

How to Conquer Myths, Build Commitment, and Get Results

by Douglas B. Reeves

Number of pages: 179

Publisher: ASCD: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development

BBB Library: Education

ISBN: 9781416608080

About the Author

Reeves is the founder of The Leadership and Learning Center. He has worked with education, business, nonprofit, and government organizations throughout the world. He is the author of more than 20 books and many articles on leadership and organizational effectiveness.


Editorial Review

In more than two-and-a-half million miles of travel to schools in every part of the world, we have found a growing number of change leaders. These are the people who not only implement change successfully, but also appear to thrive on it. Their colleagues are no more insightful, desperate, or well informed than average. Their circumstances are neither more dire nor more comfortable, so change is executed neither at the edge of a sword nor in the security of a riskless environment. Rather, these change leaders share a common commitment to the notion that ideas are more important than personalities. They challenge the popular leadership literature that elevates charisma over character, machismo over modesty. Educational leaders are expert in announcing change, scattering the seeds of promising ideas. But they are considerably less adept at moving aside the initiatives of the previous year so that the seeds of the new announcement have the slightest opportunity to take root. Hence the injunction that we must “pull the weeds” before we “plant new flowers.”

Book Reviews

"Author has taken start with a consideration of the conditions for change. Educational leaders are experts in bringing about change, spreading out the seeds of gifted ideas. But they are very less adept at moving aside the initiatives of the preceding year so that the seeds of the new announcement have the least opportunity to take root hence the proposition that we must "pull the weeds" before we "plant new flowers." - UK Essays

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Wisdom to Share

Educators are drowning under the weight of initiative fatigue—attempting to use the same amount of time, money, and emotional energy to accomplish more and more objectives.

Respect the time of teachers. Start and end meetings on time, never make routine announcements aloud, and cancel or shorten meetings that are not contributing to student achievement.

What is the culture of your school or district? It is not likely to be found in lofty vision statements, missions, or strategic planning documents.

Rather than make every change a bruising personal battle that exhausts political capital, diminishes trust, and creates the toxic atmosphere of “either you’re with us or against us,” effective change leaders must place change in the context of stability.

The most important resource any education leader allocates is teachers.

Ask yourself this question: “Does every student in my school have an equal opportunity to receive an education from the best teachers and take the most advanced courses that we can offer?”

Because fairness is as important inside the classroom as on the athletic field, effective leaders allocate faculty time to collaboration.

Principals and superintendents control meetings, which have an enormous influence on the way time is used.

Too many change efforts fail because leaders have underestimated the power of the prevailing culture in undermining change.