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The Governance Core

School Boards, Superintendents, and Schools Working Together
By: Davis Campbell, Michael Fullan

Forewords by Frank Pugh and John Malloy
Co-Publication with Phi Delta Kappa Logo only when reprinted

The model outlined in this book develops a systems approach to governing local schools collaboratively to become an exemplar of highly effective decision-making, leadership, and action.

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Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781544344331
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2019
  • Page Count: 200
  • Publication date: April 11, 2019

Price: $31.95

Price: $31.95
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Working together for excellence for all children

As our society faces daunting and evolving challenges, education might well be the social institution that offers the most hope and opportunity for change. Overloaded with multiple, diverse issues, however, where do educational leaders even begin?

Davis Campbell and Michael Fullan believe efficacy must be achieved with a systems focus. The Governance Core provides strategies and tools for board members, superintendents and school leaders to unify and face the complex challenges of school governance together. Practical and authentic, the Governance Core is based upon:

  • A governance mindset
  • A shared moral imperative
  • A unified, cohesive governance system
  • A commitment to system-wide coherence
  • A focus on continuous improvement in the district

Essential for local education governance – school boards in collaboration with district and school leadership – this guide will help you operate at the highest levels of effectiveness.



Davis Campbell photo

Davis Campbell

Davis Campbell is the former Executive Director of the California School Boards Association and is Chair of the University of California Davis, School of Education Advisory Board and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Applied Policy in Education.

Campbell has a deep and broad background in public education. He served for 12 years in the California Department of Education, serving six of those as Deputy State Superintendent of Public Instruction in charge of all education programs. In 1988 he was appointed Executive Director of the California School Boards Association, serving in that capacity until his retirement in 2001. He has also served as an elected trustee on the Yolo County Board of Education. In 2020, Campbell was awarded the 2020 University of California Davis Alumni Association Distinguished Achievement Award.

Campbell maintains an active consulting practice in effective governance in education as well as nonprofit agencies at both the state and international level. In California, in addition to continuing education governance programs with school districts, Campbell has provided workshops for nonprofit organizations as well as governance workshops and presentations with cities, counties, and special districts. Campbell’s international work includes governance support for American and International schools in Madrid Spain (15 years), Barcelona Spain, Lisbon Portugal, Paris France, Rome and Milan Italy, Tunis Tunisia, Cairo Egypt and British Columbia Canada.

Michael Fullan photo

Michael Fullan

Michael Fullan served as Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Special Policy Adviser in Ontario from 2003-2013. He received the Order of Canada (OC) in December 2012 and holds five honorary doctorates from universities around the world. His ‘interim autobiography’, Surreal Change, covers his work to 2018. Michael and his colleagues are now working diligently on field-based comprehensive system change in several countries. This work operates under the umbrella of what they call the ‘shared humanity paradigm’ —Equity, Engagement, Excellence--Deep change that integrates local (school and community), middle (district/regional), and state (policy) entities.

Fullan’s favorite method of learning is to partner with groups that are engaged with change; and to learn together with them. (And then to write another book about the experiences, and what was learned).

Michael Fullan’s latest books are: Nuance (2019), Spirit Work and the Science of Collaboration (with Mark Edwards, 2022), The Principal 2.0 (2023), and The Drivers (with Joanne Quinn, 2023).

For more information on books, articles, videos, podcasts please go to: www.michaelfullan.ca

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Foreword by Frank Pugh

Foreword by John Malloy

Introduction: Politics, Governance, and System Improvement

Unity of Purpose: Driven by a Shared Moral Imperative

Politics, Governance, and System Improvement

How This Book Is Structured

Shift to Positive Drivers

Concluding Comments


Chapter 1. Moral Imperative and the Governance Core

The Nature of Governance

A Fundamental Choice

Five Major Themes of Good Governance

The Governance Core

Concluding Comments

Chapter 2. Trustee Governance Mindset

Systems Thinking

Strategic Focus

Deep Learning


Concluding Comments

Chapter 3. Superintendent Governance Mindset

Typical Governance Styles

Examples of Purposeful Superintendent Support for Governance

What These Superintendents Have in Common

Supporting a Trustee Governance Mindset

Concluding Comments

Chapter 4. Welcoming New Trustees

The First 100 Days: What the Board Should Do

The First 100 Days: What New Trustees Should Do

Concluding Comments


Chapter 5. Governing With Coherence


Coherence Making

Coherence in Perspective

Distractions and Challenges to Coherence

Concluding Comments

Chapter 6. Governance Culture

Processes That Develop Governance Infrastructure

Concluding Comments

Chapter 7. The Governance Job: Systems Thinking and Strategic Action

Setting Strategic Direction

Policy Direction and Approval

Stewardship and Support

Oversight and Accountability

Community Leadership Throughout

Concluding Comments

Chapter 8. Governance Tools

Discussion Meetings

Governance Handbooks

Board Self-Evaluations

Continuing Board Education

Concluding Comments


Chapter 9. Rising to the Occasion

All Rise

Appendix I: Template for Creating Board Protocols

Appendix II: Three Comparisons of Effective Governance Principles




About the Authors



Price: $31.95
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.