You are here

Noteworthy Books

Books: 'I Got Schooled" and other reading picks for district leaders

Recommended reading includes books on leadership, regulation and discipline
In "I Got Schooled," author and director M. Night Shyamalan examines America’s achievement gap.
In "I Got Schooled," author and director M. Night Shyamalan examines America’s achievement gap.

I Got Schooled: The Unlikely Story of How a Moonlighting Movie Maker Learned the Five Keys to Closing America’s Education Gap

Simon & Schuster

After investigating what successful schools have in common, author and director M. Night Shyamalan shares the five keys to closing America’s achievement gap: eliminating ineffective or “roadblock” teachers, finding the right balance of leadership, providing feedback to teachers and students about their progress, smaller schools, and more time in school. These five keys are used by all the schools that are succeeding, and no schools are succeeding without them, Shyamalan says. He also examines some popular reform ideas—such as smaller class size and merit pay for teachers—that prove to be dead ends.

For more information: I Got Schooled.

Breakthrough Leadership in the Digital Age: Using Learning Science to Reboot Schooling


While technology will have a critical role in the future of education, this book argues that K12 leaders must first be creative in reinventing classrooms, schools, and entire education systems. Co-authors Rick Hess and Bror Saxberg say school leaders can become learning engineers by devising smarter ways to address learning problems. They also show how to implement technology-enabled—not technology-driven— solutions.

For more information: Breakthrough Leadership in the Digital Age.

Straitjacket: How Overregulation Stifles Creativity and Innovation in Education

Rowman & Littlefield Education

Authors George Goens and Philip Streifer believe public schools over the past 30 years have been placed in a straitjacket by over-regulation imposed by an increasingly powerful federal government. This book says schools need more flexibility to find innovative ways to meet academic goals and help students prosper. These goals cannot be achieved through regulatory mandates, closed thinking, or defective accountability processes, the authors say.

For more information: Straitjacket.

Short on Time: How Do I Make Time to Lead and Learn as a Principal?


Author and former principal William Sterrett gives principals advice on making the most of their time when it comes to balancing district, instructional, school and local community obligations. Tips include how to promote the work of the school in innovative ways and how to maximize instructional time. Readers also will learn best practices for recruiting teachers and how to cultivate professional growth by running effective faculty meetings.

For more information: Short on Time.

Common Threads: Investigating and Solving School Discipline

Rowman & Littlefield Education

This book acts as a guide for school administrators who want to be proactive and systematic in handling even the most minor disciplinary infractions in schools. Authors Anthony Barber and Jeffrey Ulmer explain how administrators can be unbiased and practical when investigating disciplinary incidents, teacher misconduct, or conflicts with parents. "Common Threads" also includes practice disciplinary scenarios and sample incident reports.

For more information: Common Threads.