Book Review

Executive Skills for Busy School Leaders

by Chris D. Hitch and Dave C. Coley, Eye on Education, Larchmont, N.Y., 2010, 164 pp., $39.95 softcover


The advice given by Christopher Hitch and Dave Coley in Executive Skills for Busy School Leaders is practical and clearly presented.


The authors, both experienced administrators in education, create an interesting balance between the direct “makes sense” and the “early wins create momentum” advice. They speak to the need to have easy, early wins to build a reputation of knowing how to deal with issues and the “derailing” issue that helps one be more introspective about behavior that does not contribute to success.

The book’s second chapter, “Finding Time for Instructional Leadership,” is more of a time management overview with generic how-to advice, but the subsequent chapter is more directly focused, with clear examples and an especially helpful section on data-driven decision making. The mystery of school finance is explained in a way that will comfort and not confuse new administrators.

The remainder of Executive Skills for Busy School Leaders gives up-to-date, clear suggestions on working with people, managing reform and the often neglected topic of public relations. The authors really understand the importance of relationships and interpersonal skills in successful school leadership.

Hitch, program director for the business school at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Coley, who teaches in the educational leadership program at Western Carolina University, have crafted an easy read that ought to be valuable for the new administrator or school system leader with limited experience who is moving into a new school district. Most experienced hands will find many suggestions a bit too basic.

Reviewed by Josephine Nelson Moffett, assistant professor of educational administration, State University of New York at New Paltz