Book Review

Building Leadership Capacity in Schools

Reviewed by Peter Carparelli
Superintendent, Teton County Schools, Jackson Hole, Wyo.


"Leadership and leader are not the same," declares Linda Lambert in her new book, Building Leadership Capacity in Schools. Leadership is about learning. This notion may challenge veteran school leaders, as well as professors of educational administration, to expand their understanding of school leadership.

Lambert, who is director of the Center for Educational Leadership at California State-Hayward, uses three scenarios to provide practical and tangible demonstrations of the critical features of leadership capacity. This goes a long way to connect what could be a rather academic and erudite treatment of the subject of leadership to actual practice in the field.

The book includes stories of three schools. In the first, attempts at innovation never really get off the ground. In the second, systemic changes seemed to have a promising future, but wither and remain on life support after the principal leaves. In the third, renewal and reform become institutionalized and thrive.

Lambert presents sensible arguments and evidence that connects empowerment and shared decision-making--with leadership, leadership capacity and change.

Useful appendices provide surveys and rubrics for the measurement of leadership capacity in a school or district.

(Building Leadership Capacity in Schools, by Linda Lambert, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, Va., 1998, 136 pp. with index, $13.95 softcover)