Book Recommendation: What Great Principals Do Differently, by ToddWhitaker


Each time I work on my grad school coursework or read a book on leadership, I find myself revising my leadership vision and philosophy.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed in trying to remember and organize all of the great ideas I come across.  I have a notebook in Evernote where I’m collecting ideas and articles, and I am keeping a list of “When I’m Principal” so that I can remember what I’ve be thinking about when it comes to developing my leadership vision and philosophy.

I recently read What Great Principals Do Differently: Eighteen Things That Matter Most, by Todd Whitaker.  It is an excellent book for those interested in the principalship.  I found that the eighteen things that Whitaker includes are a great framework for developing my leadership philosophy.  For example, I know that someday I will have the opportunity to hire a teacher.  It goes without saying that this is a very important duty for the principal.  As Michael Smith puts it, you’re about to sign someone to a 35 year contract.  Also, Whitaker feels that hiring the best is the quickest way to improve a school (p. 49).  Both of these points underscore the importance of this task.

I know that I will want the very best person for the job, but that doesn’t provide guidance for how I can do that.  Whitaker offers some clarification for this important task.

Some principals look for candidates who are a good match, teachers who will fit in and become like their school.  Great principals have a different goal: to have the school become more like the new teacher. (p. 49)

This is just an example of how instructional Whitaker’s book can be for current and future administrators.  As I said before, I feel like I now have a framework for organizing my ideas as I develop my leadership philosophy and vision.  I highly recommend picking up a copy!

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