Book Review

A Call to Leadership

The First Fifty Years of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents

by Linda Dye Ellis, Purdue University Press, Ashland, Ohio, 2010, 244 pp. with index, $35 hardcover

A Call to Leadership: The First Fifty Years of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents chronicles the first 50 years of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents in the context of state and national events that affected education throughout those five decades.

A Call to Leadership


With a passion for building, supporting and sustaining a strong leadership organization, retired superintendents and executive directors of the state association contracted Linda Dye Ellis to write the story of their labor of love. This history of one state’s organization of committed leaders will resonate with educators elsewhere, especially superintendents, for despite the uniqueness of each state, public school leaders share common goals and challenges.

Taking one decade at a time, Ellis chronicles the development of an association designed to reduce the isolation among superintendents, provide support, and build a culture of teamwork and dialogue focused on finding solutions to shared issues.

A special feature throughout the book is “A Few Words From …,” which shares messages from the executive secretaries who guided the association as it grew and adapted to various events and challenges, while staying true to its mission of supporting superintendents. Leaders in states lacking an association as strong as Indiana’s could profit from Indiana’s experience meeting complex educational needs.

The author frequently references AASA in the 24 chapters. Three Indiana leaders have served as AASA presidents.

Reviewed by Rene Townsend, managing partner, Leadership Associates, Encinitas, Calif.