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The Moral Imperative of School Leadership

The Moral Imperative of School Leadership

Edited by:
  • Michael Fullan - Michael Fullan Enterprises Inc., Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Canada

Foreword by John I. Goodlad

March 2003 | 112 pages | Corwin

"Fullan shows how moral leadership can reinvent the principalship and bring about large-scale school improvement. This is a masterfully crafted and accessible book by North America's foremost expert on change."
—Thomas J. Sergiovanni, Lillian Radford Professor of Education
Trinity University, San Antonio, TX

"Fullan challenges all who work in education to rethink the critical role of the principal as school leader in the current era of accountability. With clarity and insight, he offers a series of strategies to reshape the culture and context of leadership in schools to create learning communities where both students and teachers can excel."
—Paul D. Houston, Executive Director
American Association of School Administrators

"Once again, the writing of Michael Fullan is a tour de force. The Moral Imperative of School Leadership is a must-read for those who want to make a difference!"
—Gerald N. Tirozzi, Executive Director
National Association of Secondary School Principals

The time has come to change the context of school leadership!

The role of the principal is pivotal to systemic school change. That is the fundamental message of The Moral Imperative of School Leadership, which extends the discussion begun in Fullan's earlier publication, What's Worth Fighting for in the Principalship? The author examines the moral purpose of school leadership and its critical role in "changing the context" in which the role is embedded. In this bold step forward, Fullan calls for principals to become agents as well as beneficiaries of the processes of school change. In an effort to make the position more rewarding and exciting, he shifts the principal's role from one of a site-based superman or superwoman, and recasts it as one in which principals figure prominently both within their school and within the larger school system that surrounds them.

Concepts explored in-depth include:

  • Why "changing the context" should be the main agenda for the principalship
  • Why barriers to the principalship exist
  • Why the principal should be seen as the COO (chief operating officer) of a school
  • Why the role of the principal should figure more prominently within the system
  • What individuals and the system can do to transform school leadership to a powerful new force

The challenge, and moral imperative, for today's principal is to lead system transformations to resolve the top-down/bottom-up dilemma that exists in systemic change. To end the exodus from the principalship, and for great school leaders to evolve in large numbers, the time to redefine the position is now!

See Facilitator's Guide to The Moral Imperative of School Leadership 

John I. Goodlad
About the Author
1. Changing the Context
The Public Schools We Need

The Principals and Teachers We Need

2. Barriers to School Leadership
Self-Imposed Barriers

System-Imposed Barriers

3. The Moral Imperative at the School Level
Level 1: Making a Difference in Individuals

Level 2: Making a Difference in the School

The Emerging Image of the Moral Imperative of the Principalship

4. Making a Difference Beyond the School
Level 3: Making a Difference Regionally

Level 4: School Leadership and Society

5. How to Get There: The Individual and the System
The Individual

The System


This is very well suited to the ethical elements I wanted to draw out in the course for future administrators.

Dr Katherine Bertolini
Teacher Education Dept, South Dakota State University
April 21, 2014

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ISBN: 9780761938736
CAD$ 44.95

For large school/district orders, volume discounts, availability and shipping times contact customer service at 800-233-9936

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