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The Mindful School Leader
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The Mindful School Leader
Practices to Transform Your Leadership and School

Foreword by Richard Brady



© 2015 | 256 pages | Corwin

Big results come from small steps.

If you think you don’t have time for mindfulness, think again. This handbook, named a Best Courageous Book of 2014 by The Center for Courage and Renewal, was written with school leaders in mind—your responsibilities, your stress, and your schedule. When you add mindfulness into your day, bit by bit, you’ll become a more effective leader and a more positive force for your staff and students.

With the help of this inspirational yet practical guide, you’ll start fitting pieces of practice into your busy home and work life, whether you are sitting in your office or walking down the hall. Features include

  • Real-life profiles of mindful school leaders
  • Practice exercises to try right away
  • Guidance so you know if you are “doing it right”
  • Hard-to-find resources, including mindfulness apps

Mindful school leaders are better at managing meetings, responding creatively to complex situations, and achieving resilience at work and at home. Take the first steps to transform your life—and your school.

"This inspiring book makes a strong case for school leaders to include mindfulness in their personal and professional lives.  Based on solid research and enhanced by compelling examples of real people, it shows how school leaders can feel more grounded, connected, clear and focused.  Mindfulness makes leaders more effective with relatively little effort, but be advised that the benefits can be contagious, transforming your school from the inside out."
Christopher Germer, Clinical Instructor
Harvard Medical School

"In The Mindful School Leader, Brown and Olson offer with remarkable clarity and depth a thorough introduction to the practice of meditation, the science behind its benefits, and many firsthand accounts of lives and work situations transformed through this practice. Although this book was written for those in leadership roles in education, it will be inspiring for anyone interested in understanding their own minds and finding more ease in life and work."
Joseph Goldstein, Co-Founder
Insight Meditation Society

Read Valerie's Edweek article: "8 Steps to Be a Mindful Listener"

 
Foreword by Richard Brady, President, Mindfulness in Education Network
 
Introduction
 
Chapter 1. Why Mindfulness? The School Leader's Life
A School Leader Practicing Mindfulness  
Benefits of Practice  
What Is Mindfulness?  
Why Do Leaders Need a Mindfulness Practice?  
Leadership Challenges to Our Sector  
Knowing When to Disengage and Recharge  
How Stress Shapes Our Brains  
Mindfulness for Educational Leaders  
Your Leadership Practice Matters  
A Leader With a Growing Mindfulness Practice  
First Steps: You've Got to Practice  
Portraits of Practice  
 
Chapter 2. The Science of Mindfulness
Practice Snapshot: A School Leader Practicing Mindfulness  
The Science of Mindfulness  
Stress: A Public Health Risk for Educators  
Mindfulness Alleviates Stress in the Body and Mind  
Mindfulness Practice Aids  
Portraits of Practice  
 
Chapter 3. The Well-Focused School Leader
A Sleepless Night for Jason  
Mindfulness and Attention Training  
Two Ways to Practice: Formal and Informal  
Mindfulness Practice Aids  
Mindful Attitudes  
How Much Practice Time?  
Practices That Complement Mindfulness  
Distraction: The New Normal and the School Leader’s Dilemma  
Negativity Bias: Part of the School Leader’s Dilemma  
The Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind  
The Myth of Multitasking  
Portraits of Practice  
 
Chapter 4. Communication and Connection: Powerful Skills of the Mindful School Leader
Donna S.T.O.P.s  
Mindful Communication: Mindful Speaking, Mindful Listening  
Having Difficult Conversations  
Mindfulness Practice Aids  
Portraits of Practice  
 
Chapter 5. Reclaiming Our Wholeness: Four Educational Leaders Explore Mindfulness
Portraits of Practice: Schools Leaders Practicing Mindfulness  
Mindfulness Practice Aids  
 
Chapter 6. Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence: Principles and Practices to Transform Your Leadership Life
A Leader Fails to Notice  
A Leader Grows EQ Through Mindfulness Practice  
Mindfulness Practice Aids  
Portraits of Practice  
 
Chapter 7. Mindful Leadership in Action: Putting It All Together
Fundamental Principles: The Evolution of the Leader Evolves the Team  
Stepping-Stones in Your Leadership Journey: Know Yourself  
What Mindfulness Practice Supports  
A Mindful Leader in Action: A Last Case Study  
Well-Being and Compassion at the Center of a New Educational Vision  
Mindfulness Practice Aids  
Portraits of Practice  
 
Appendix A: Books for the Mindful School Leader (Online Only)
 
Appendix B: The (General) Mindful Library (Online Only)
 
Appendix C: Mindfulness Apps—Our Top Picks (Online Only)
 
Appendix D: Our Top Picks for Websites and Places to Practice Mindfulness (Online Only)
 
Appendix E: Relevant, Recent Mindfulness Research in Education (Online Only)
 
Appendix F: Comprehensive List of All Mindfulness Practice Aids in This Book (Online Only)
 
Appendix G: Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (Online Only)

"This inspiring book makes a strong case for school leaders to include mindfulness in their personal and professional lives.  Based on solid research and enhanced by compelling examples of real people, it shows how school leaders can feel more grounded, connected, clear and focused.  Mindfulness makes leaders more effective with relatively little effort, but be advised that the benefits can be contagious, transforming your school from the inside out."

Christopher Germer, Clinical Instructor
Harvard Medical School

"A ‘must-get’ book for school leaders looking for help to handle the daunting stress of their work.  Brimming with hope and practical advice, this inspiring book combines fascinating portraits of real leaders with down-to-earth mindfulness practices that work.  Brown and Olson—longtime practitioners of mindfulness, seasoned coaches and wise observers of the education scene—offer balm for the soul of school leaders who today are giving their all to realize their dreams."

Jerome T. Murphy, Howe Research Professor of Education & Dean Emeritus
Harvard Graduate School of Education

"Masterfully practical, rich with wisdom and the heartfelt experiences of scholars and leaders in the field, this is the handbook to keep at your side if you wish to become more evolved, insightful, nimble and better prepared, in general, to address the challenges of teaching and leading. "

Dianne E Horgan, Associate Director
Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society, UMASS Medical School

"This book is a must read for all school leaders.  Given the high stakes testing environment and shrinking budgets of schools today, educators are under more stress than ever.  This book will help school leaders find the equanimity needed to lead with calm, clarity, and effectiveness in the midst of the storm."

Kristin Neff, Associate Professor
Educational Psychology Dept., University of Texas at Austin

"In The Mindful School Leader, Brown and Olson offer with remarkable clarity and depth a thorough introduction to the practice of meditation, the science behind its benefits, and many firsthand accounts of lives and work situations transformed through this practice. Although this book was written for those in leadership roles in education, it will be inspiring for anyone interested in understanding their own minds and finding more ease in life and work."

Joseph Goldstein, Co-Founder
Insight Meditation Society
Key features

The book uses the following:

  • "Portraits of Practice," case studies and interviews with educational leaders currently in the field that demonstrate how individuals in the U.S. and around the globe are using mindfulness to improve their lives and their schools, embedded in the text alongside key practices described;
  • a mindful school leader small step guide to building a mindfulness practice;
  • helpful tips for incorporating mindfulness in daily life in all leadership venues: meetings and meeting preparation, team leadership, strategic planning, walking-around-management;
  • mindfulness resources (books, places to practice mindfulness, DVDs, etc) for school leaders;
  • links to guided mindfulness meditation audio and YouTube video to assist school leaders develop and sustain a mindfulness practice;
  • a sampling of mindfulness apps to remind school leaders to be mindful.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Introduction

Chapter 1


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ISBN: 9781483303086

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