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The Brain and Strengths Based School Leadership

The Brain and Strengths Based School Leadership

  • Sheryl G. Feinstein - University of Nebraska, Kearney, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, University of South Dakota, USA
  • Robert W. Kiner - Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

June 2011 | 224 pages | Corwin
Sheryl Feinstein's new book, The Brain and Strength Based School Leadership, demonstrates how educational leaders can use a ground-breaking prototype of leadership strengths plus key concepts about the workings of the brain to hone their own school leadership styles. Placing current research from neuroscience within the context of school leadership concerns, this book, co-authored by veteran administrator and instructional leader Robert Kiner, offers guidance on how to identify leadership strengths as falling into one of four domains or styles: executing, relationship building, influencing, and strategic thinking. The book then details how educators can capitalize on these strengths while employing brain-compatible strategies for everything from creating a positive school culture, to mentoring and supervising teachers, keeping track of standardized testing, fostering community partnerships, using data to inform curriculum and instruction, etc . Perhaps the most important chapter is about shared leadership and how to build on the strengths of teachers and staff to create great leadership teams and effect change. Throughout, the links between learning and neural wiring are made clear, with informative asides on mirror neurons, higher level thinking skills, the plasticity of the brain, the effects of stress, and other fascinating and pertinent facts emerging from current research. Discussion questions at the end of each chapter serve both as a review of the rich information presented, and an invitation to explore putting it to use in your own school or district.

Foreword by Jerry D. Weast
About the Authors
1. With the Leader's Brain in Mind
Strength-Based Leadership

The Workings of the Human Brain


Discussion Questions

2. Using Leaders' Strengths to Create and Maintain a Positive School Climate
What's the Point?

The Brain and School Climate

Putting It Into Practice

Instruction and Learning

Physical Environment


Discussion Questions

3. Mind Matters: What Leaders Need to Know About Students
The Elementary Student's Brain

The Secondary Students' Brain


Discussion Questions

4. Best of Class: Leading Teachers
Curriculum and Instruction

Assessment 101


Technology: Your Brain On-Line


Discussion Questions

5. The Rubber Meets the Road: Supervision and Evaluation
Extreme School Make-Over

Empowerment Supervision



Discussion Questions

6. Shared Leadership and Leading Teacher's Strengths
The Human Brain

Strength-Based Shared Leadership

Leading Teacher's Strengths


Discussion Questions

Appendix I: Stress, Teachers, and Students
Appendix II: Family and Community School Partnerships

"The authors help fill a void in recent work at the intersection of the brain sciences and education. The potential for neuro- and cognitive sciences to inform educators remains largely untapped. Principals and other school leaders should take a keen interest in the ideas set forth in this unique volume."

Mariale Hardiman, Assistant Dean and Dept. Chair, Neuro-Education Initiative
Johns Hopkins University School of Education
Key features

Features and Benefits:

  • Begins with a quiz to help the reader determine his/her leadership style
  • Explains how leaders can use brain-compatible strategies while addressing hot topics such as school safety, violence, diversity, gender differences, and role modeling
  • Incorporates interviews, quotes, and actual scenarios involving superintendents, vice principals, curriculum specialists, teachers, and students
  • Presents quick reference Pertinent Points in each chapter to highlight key concepts
  • Devotes an entire chapter to discussing issues of concern for specific grade levels, including topics such as the need for developmentally appropriate kindergarten programs that focus on social and emotional development, the need to explore and have integrated subjects in middle school, and the need to encourage autonomy and a positive identity in high school
  • Provides a chapter on how to use the book in a book club setting, with discussion and reflection questions correlated to each chapter

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Sample Materials & Chapters



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ISBN: 9781412988452

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