When Women Lead: What They Achieve, Why They Succeed, and How We Can Learn from Them

According to When Women Lead: What They Achieve, Why They Succeed, and How We Can Learn from Them (Avid Reader Press) by Julia Boorstin, women are 63% more likely to be recruited into leadership roles that are already unstable, a phenomenon known as the “glass cliff.” Boorstin, a senior media and tech correspondent at CNBC, unpacks this troubling figure in her book, which aims to show the range of strong leadership qualities that many women possess. Such qualities include having varied perspectives, showing empathy, leading with vulnerability, having a greater purpose than pure profit, and pursuing goals with a heightened sense of gratitude. Boorstin also notes that when women have an athletic background, they often fare better than other women because they have increased confidence, self-discipline, leadership skills, and they know how to be an effective team player. The book references a number of accomplished women and their quotes, including this memorable one from Eleanor Roosevelt: “A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.”

—Holly Langley
Assistant Principal, Sussex Technical High School, Georgetown, DE

Outsmart Your Brain: Why Learning Is Hard and How You Can Make It Easy

As an assistant principal in a middle school, I often hear teachers discuss how students struggle with the basics of learning activities, such as taking notes, studying for tests, and having the confidence to succeed academically. In his book, Outsmart Your Brain: Why Learning Is Hard and How You Can Make It Easy (Simon & Schuster), Daniel T. Willingham, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, provides tips for both students and educators on many aspects of learning, including how to take lecture notes, how to reorganize your notes, how to study for exams, and how to learn from past exams. Beyond the classroom, Willingham recommends ways to address procrastination, stay focused, gain self-confidence, and reduce anxiety. Readers will appreciate the book’s engaging prose and clear explanation of claims grounded in research. Ultimately, Outsmart Your Brain is an easy read and a helpful resource for school leaders seeking a handbook on the learning process. 

—Eric Basilo, EdD
Assistant Principal, Markham Woods Middle School, Lake Mary, FL

“The School Leadership Show” Podcast

“The School Leadership Show,” hosted by Dr. Mike Doughty and Jenn David-Lang, centers around the ever-increasing expectations and stressors inherent in school leadership. Through interviews with experts and authors in the field of education, the hosts provide insight into different models of leadership and offer useful tips on how theory can inform practice. For instance, school leaders seeking to learn more about managing conflict may find season 5, episode 6 especially helpful. “Strategies to Manage Conflict in Your School” highlights the work of Bill Sommers and his book, Responding to Resistance: Thirty Strategies to Manage Conflict in Your School. After three decades as a principal in Minneapolis and several years as a professor of education at the University of Minnesota, Sommers is often asked for quick and easy-to-implement strategies in dealing with conflict. Balancing a no-nonsense, straightforward approach to handling conflict with sharp wit and a sense of humor, Sommers provides practical advice for even the most conflict-averse school leader. One of his best suggestions? “If you don’t want to deal with conflict, stay out of leadership.”

—Nicole J. LeClaire
Principal, Kenesaw Jr/Sr High School, Kenesaw, NE

“Coaching Conversations With Jim Knight” Podcast

In a recent episode of “Coaching Conversations With Jim Knight,” a podcast hosted by the founder of the Instructional Coaching Group and author of several instructional coaching books, Knight flips the script by answering educators’ questions. For instance, in episode 11, Knight, who began his podcast less than a year ago, answers listeners’ questions from around the world, attesting to the reach he seeks. Other episodes feature interviews with guests, such as author Elena Aguilar who discusses how to cultivate resilience in educators; author Daniel Pink, who explores “clarity and buoyancy” in a world overloaded with information; and author Michael Bungay Stanier, who shares whether to give advice during difficult times. The best advice from Knight himself? Push yourself to work with someone on staff who is respected and coach colleagues by talking things through. Knight also emphasizes humility in giving feedback. “Mind if I share something with you?” he says ensures that the person you are coaching will want to listen to you. Whether you’re just beginning the principalship or a veteran working on coaching up, this podcast is for you.

—Brenda Yoho
Retired Director of Educational Support Programs, Danville District 118, Danville, IL