Book Review

Rethinking Leadership: A Collection of Articles

Reviewed by Jerry Horgen
Superintendent, Pipestone-Jasper
Public Schools, Pipestone, Minn.

 

How do we improve our schools? How do we motivate those on our staffs to work with us in that effort? How do we motivate our community to follow us? What type of leaders do we hire to meet those ends? These are some of the critical elements addressed by the widely respected Thomas Sergiovanni in this work.

The author, a long-time professor of educational leadership at Trinity University in Texas, provides an awesome amount of data that has practical value to the frontline administrator.

A recurring theme is that the leader of tomorrow must minister to his or her staff in order to build a "common purpose, create a vision, create a leadership team, provide opportunities for teachers to become leaders and develop collegiality as a value." This ministering work must be done in such a manner that the desire for improvement must come from within, an intrinsic value. The principal must respond to human needs of the staff for a sense of what is important and for a signal of what is of value.

This type of leadership is called transformational leadership and produces higher levels of commitment and achievement from staff members. Further, because our learning communities are more demanding for objective results and today's staffs are more mobile, this type of leadership is necessary to build success in our learning communities.

Readers probably will find this collection of articles to be most helpful when they apply their own circumstances to the scenarios that are suggested by Sergiovanni. This work could be really applicable to the work of school systems today.

(Rethinking Leadership: A Collection of Articles, by Thomas J. Sergiovanni, Skylight Training and Publishing, Arlington Heights, Ill. 1999, 176 pp., $24.95 softcover)