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From Good Schools to Great Schools - Book Cover

From Good Schools to Great Schools

What Their Principals Do Well
By: Susan P. Gray, William A. Streshly

Foreword by Marge Hobbs

This comprehensive resource examines lessons from the private sector, provides case studies of "star" principals, and offers reflection questions for more effective application of leadership principles.

Full description

From Good Schools to Great Schools - Book Cover
Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781412948999
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2008
  • Page Count: 184
  • Publication date: February 01, 2008

Price: $39.95

Price: $39.95
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"These successful principals move beyond platitudes and optimistic denial and learn to face the facts of what is necessary to improve schools—then they do it. These star principals learn to work with teachers and their union rather than around them."
—Charles Taylor Kerchner, Hollis P. Allen Professor
Claremont Graduate University

"Links Collins's work to success in the school setting. The examples of school leaders who were able to lead effective, systemic change are powerful."
—Brenda Dean, Assistant Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Hamblen County Department of Education, TN

Make the leap from ordinary to stellar school leadership!

"What can I do to make a difference and lift my school to excellence?" From Good Schools to Great Schools answers this question for principals and considers other critical issues in a detailed examination of school leadership.

Based on the concepts from the national bestseller Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't, this guidebook identifies nine characteristics of high-performing "Level 5" school leaders through:

  • In-depth discussions and detailed case studies of six "star" school principals
  • A comparison of principals and corporate leaders, including qualities exclusive to school leadership
  • Reflection questions for more effective application of leadership principles
  • Templates, implementation tips, and additional resources

Correlated with ISLLC standards, this comprehensive resource is a valuable resource for aspiring and practicing school administrators, site leaders, and supervisors.

Key features

This book applies successful leadership concepts* specifically to school leadership and:

  • Offers additional insight on leadership qualities specific to school leadership that do not appear in for-profit leadership practice
  • Profiles how principals have successfully applied the identified leadership qualities to their practice and school improvement
  • Provides templates, implementation tips, and additional resources

* From Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't by James C. Collins



Susan P. Gray photo

Susan P. Gray

Susan Penny Gray, PhD has been an educator for more than 40 years in Indiana and California, including 15 years as Director of Curriculum Services for the San Marcos Unified School District in San Marcos, California and 7 years as a member of the Educational Leadership faculty at San Diego State University. During her tenure as Director of Curriculum Services she was responsible for the development, implementation, and maintenance of exemplary programs recognized throughout California in Reading/Language Arts, Mathematics, History-Social Science, and Science for grades K through 12. She was also responsible for effective teacher and principal support strategies that during the years under her direction evolved into a powerful system of coaches and facilitators of staff development. Dr. Gray has “walked the talk” in helping principals become truly effective instructional leaders. Her insights give down to earth, practical meaning to the research discussed in this book.

Dr. Gray serves on the San Diego State University (SDSU) Educational Administration Preparation Programs Advisory Committee. In her capacity on this committee and as a current member of the faculty of the Educational Leadership Department in the School of Education at SDSU, she has assisted in implementing changes in that school’s administration preparation program. She has designed and currently teaches an administrative course on instructional improvement through evaluation and supervision. In this course students participate in a walk-through supervision practicum, formal evaluation exercises, and the design of teacher and administrator evaluation systems. In addition, Dr. Gray teaches and coordinates the advanced administrator credentialing program at SDSU and supervises the fieldwork for administrative credential candidates at all levels.

In addition to her involvement with the faculty of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University, Dr. Gray serves as an officer on the Board of Directors of California Curriculum Management Systems, Incorporated (CalCMSi). She is certified to train administrators and teachers in Conducting Walk-Throughs for Higher Student Achievement and has implemented this training in several states across the country. She has also served as an external evaluator of schools and is a certified School Assistance Intervention Team leader for the State of California. She received curriculum management audit training from the California Curriculum Management Audit Center in Burlingame, California, in 1998. Since then she has served on school district audits in California, Washington, Texas, Ohio, Arizona, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania. She has also served on academic achievement teams conducting comprehensive on-site assessments of the educational operations of school and community college districts in California.

Dr. Gray earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her master’s degree from San Diego State University. In 2006, she received a doctoral degree in educational leadership through the Claremont Graduate University/San Diego State University Joint Doctoral Program.

William A. Streshly photo

William A. Streshly

William A. Streshly is Emeritus Professor of Educational Leadership in the College of Education at San Diego State University (SDSU). Prior to coming to SDSU in 1990, he spent 25 years in public school administration, including five years as principal of a large suburban high school and 15 years as superintendent of several California school districts varying in size from 2,500 to 25,000 students.

In addition to his numerous publications in the professional journals, Dr. Streshly is author or co-author of five practical books for school leaders, The Top Ten Myths in Education, Avoiding Legal Hassles (two editions), Teacher Unions and Quality Education, Preventing and Managing Teacher Strikes, and From Good Schools to Great Schools: What Their Principals Do Well.

Currently, Professor Streshly is a Senior Lead Auditor for Curriculum Management Systems, Inc., an affiliate of Phi Delta Kappa International. He has audited the instructional operations of more than 40 school districts in 16 states. His intense interest in the role of effective school leadership stems from his own extensive experience as well as his in-depth observation of the work of hundreds of practicing school principals across the country.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables

Foreword by Marge Hobbs



About the Authors

1. We Know What to Do, so Why Do We Fail?

The "Good to Great" Research Project

Leadership Characteristics of Level 5 Executives

Leadership Behaviors of Level 5 Executives

Two Behaviors From the Collins Study

Great School Executives Build Relationships

The School Principals in Our Study

Leadership Qualities Exhibited


2. First, Build Relationships

A Behavior Different From the Behaviors of the Level 5 Executive

Mr. Bond and Field Elementary School

Highly Successful Principals and Building Relationships

Comparison Principals and Building Relationships


Suggestions for Principals

3. Exercise Your Professional Will, but Stay Humble

Issues With Identifying Personal Humility in School Principals

Personal Humility: The Evidence Differs

Shy and Self-Effacing Leaders

Unreserved and Enthusiastic Leaders

Comparison Principals


Suggestions for Principals

4. Credit Others, Accept the Blame

Additional Data for Compelling Modesty

Evidence for Sustainability of Greatness

Evidence for Compelling Modesty

Mr. Unpretentious and Bay View Elementary School

Highly Successful Principals and Compelling Modesty

Comparison Principals and Compelling Modesty


Suggestions for Principals

5. Be Ambitious First for the School's Success

Ambition for the Success of the School Is Key

Ms. Aspiration and Mission Elementary School

Highly Successful Principals and Ambition for the School's Success

Comparison Principals and Ambition for the School's Success


Suggestions for Principals

6. Resolve to Do What Needs Doing . . . Then Do It!

Application of Unwavering Resolve to Schools

Ms. Persevere and Mountain High Elementary School

Comparison Principals and Resolve


Suggestions for Principals

7. Get the Right People on the Bus

School Leaders' Difficulties in Getting the Right People

An Example of Getting the Right People

Highly Successful Principals and "First Who . . . Then What"

Comparison Principals and "First Who . . . Then What"


Suggestions for Principals

8. Confront the Brutal Facts

Schools Face Challenges

Brutal Facts Tackled by the Principals in Our Study

Highly Successful Principals and Confronting the Brutal Facts

Comparison Principals and Confronting the Brutal Facts


Suggestions for Principals

9. Know What Drives Your Educational Engine and Be Passionate About It

Academics Take Issue

Our Term: Educational Engine

Mr. Focus and Pines Elementary School

Highly Successful Principals and the Hedgehog Concept

Comparison Principals and the Hedgehog Concept


Suggestions for Principals

10. Build a Culture of Discipline

The Concept Is Not New

Difficulties in Achieving a Culture of Discipline

Ms. Discipline and Eagle Elementary School

Highly Successful Principals and a Culture of Discipline

Comparison Principals and a Culture of Discipline


Suggestions for Principals

11. Know Commonalities and Differences Between Public Schools and the Private Sector

Disparities Between Public Schools and the Private Sector

What We Have Learned From the Research on Leadership


Suggestions for Principals

12. Support Research-Based Principal Preparation

The ISLLC Standards

The Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning

In Search of Excellence

Beware of Business Norms

Administrator Preparation Program Reform

A Final Comment


Suggestions for Architects of Principal Preparation Programs

Resource A: Research Methodology

Resource B: Interview Participant Selection

Resource C: Principal Interview Questions Derived From Collins' (2001) CEO Interview Questions and Demographic Questionnaire


Suggested Readings




Price: $39.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.