Book Review

Great Assistant Principals and the (Great) Principals Who Mentor Them

A Practical Guide

by Carole C. Goodman and Christopher S. Berry, Eye on Education, Larchmont, N.Y., 2011, 149 pp., $34.95 softcover

 

By focusing on their experiences, their reactions to situations and other observations from their time as an administrative team at a Maryland high school, Carole C. Goodman and Christopher S. Berry, co-authors of Great Assistant Principals and the (Great) Principals Who Mentor Them: A Practical Guide, fill a noticeable void in educational leadership literature.

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Their book is not heavy on research or theory but rather on the real experiences they dealt with on a day-to-day basis. Although the authors worked on the secondary school level, I found myself (a former elementary school principal) nodding in agreement with many of the situations they described and their reactions to them. Particularly strong was their emphasis on building supportive relationships between a principal and assistant principals.

Goodman and Berry concentrate the content of the 18 chapters on specific aspects of the similarities and differences of the responsibilities of the two administrative positions and the ways that situations they encountered were addressed. One part of that was the need to provide professional development opportunities for the assistant principals so they would be prepared to be competent principals of their own schools.

The authors met their stated goal for the book — to promote increased communication between principals and assistant principals. Great Assistant Principals and the (Great) Principals Who Mentor Them could be used as the basis for regular discussions among the staff.

Reviewed by George E. Pawlas, retired professor of educational leadership, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla.