Book Review

The Superintendent’s Fieldbook

By Luvern Cunningham, Nelda Cambron-McCabe, James Harvey and Robert Kopf

Reviewed by Charles W. Rudiger
Professor of Leadership and Technology, Dowling College, Oakdale, N.Y.

The Forum for the American School Superintendency, a decade-long effort involving 41 school leaders nationwide and funded by the Danforth Foundation, is the basis of this book, a self-study and dialogue about the dynamic American educational environment. Veteran educators Luvern Cunningham, Nelda Cambron-McCabe, James Harvey and Robert Kopf are the co-authors of The Superintendent’s Fieldbook: A Guide for Leaders of Learning.

This timely text was developed with several audiences in mind: superintendents who want to ratchet up their effectiveness; current and aspiring administrators and educational policymakers, school boards and unions concerned with issues of governance and relationships; and higher education institutions interested in preparing potential leaders and improving professional practice.

Drawing on the experiences of more than 200 superintendents in urban, suburban and rural schools who contributed anecdotally to the study over 10 years, the authors identified common components of the successful superintendency. They point to school leaders who considered race and class as factors in the achievement gap, who developed leadership teams and collaborated with governmental agencies, and who engaged their communities by developing a shared vision of the future.

The Superintendent’s Fieldbook serves more as a reference manual than a textbook, integrating contemporary realities of public education with current research by leading theorists and commentators such as Peter Senge, Peter Negroni and Alfie Kohn.

(The Superintendent’s Fieldbook: A Guide for Leaders of Learning by Luvern Cunningham, Nelda Cambron-McCabe, James Harvey and Robert Kopf, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2004, 348 pp. with index, $39.95 softcover. Visit the AASA bookstore to order and enter priority code D4819.)