Book Review

Educational Administration: A Problem-Based Approach

Reviewed by Roland M. Smith,
Assistant Professor of Educational Administration,
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark.


As a novice professor and former school superintendent who has spent the past year devouring books on school leadership, I found Educational Administration: A Problem-Based Approach by William G. Cunningham and Paula A. Cordeiro a refreshing commentary on educational leadership.

Chapters, which are written by well-known educational leaders, introduce ideas with a reflective essay by the leader and a simulated case study that serves as a basis for discussion questions appearing throughout the chapter. Each chapter leads the student in the development of a meaningful professional portfolio.

The content includes key beliefs of major educational administrative organizations, including AASA. The last chapter contains four problem-based leadership situations with a challenge to select one for comprehensive analysis.

My main criticism of this text is its occasional inclusion of educational jargon. Regardless, the volume of information, the creativity of the presentations and the encouragement to personalize what has been presented make this a valuable introduction to educational leadership.

As an aside, veteran superintendents might find the book’s summary of leadership theories, leadership instruments, reflective essays, current list of suggested readings and guideposts of various leadership organizations an excellent reference.

(Educational Administration: A Problem-Based Approach, by William G. Cunningham and Paula A. Cordeiro, Allyn and Bacon, Needham Heights, Mass. 2000, 448 pp., $70 hardcover)