Book Review

Principals Who Learn: Asking the Right Questions, Seeking the Best Solutions

by Barbara Kohm and Beverly Nance, Association for Curriculum and Supervision Development, Alexandria, Va., 2007, 303 pp. with index, $29.95 softcover

Principals Who Learn: Asking the Right Questions, Seeking the Best Solutions is for school leaders who wish to work collaboratively with their staff to effect change. The book focuses on four themes: listening to all voices; seeing possibilities; asking the right questions; and creating collaborative cultures.

Authors Barbara Kohm and Beverly Nance have served as principals and in other educational leadership capacities, and both are consultants and mentors to principals. They encourage principals to pursue learning with their staff in a collaborative fashion.

Ideas and practical tools for connecting theory to practice are shared through the authors’ personal stories and stories from other professional educators. Open-ended reflection questions focused on personal leadership qualities and habits are provided at the end of every chapter. Throughout the book the authors refer to the work of noted writers such as Peter Senge, Margaret Wheatley, Linda Lambert and Michael Fullan.

Principals Who Learn can help principals to see their schools from a different perspective in order to make improvements and head off problems. Today’s schools require a change from top-down leadership and instead must evolve into a continual learning culture with shared, responsible leadership.

Reviewed by Lylia King, principal, Smith Middle School, Cleburne Independent School District, Cleburne, Texas