Book Review

The Expert School Leader: Accelerating Accountability

by Naftaly S. Glasman and Lynette D. Glasman, Rowman and Littlefield Education, Lanham, Md., 2006, 180 pp., $24.95 softcover

Co-authors Naftaly and Lynne Glasman have deftly combined school leadership and accountability in their book The Expert School Leader: Accelerating Accountability. He is the former dean of a graduate school of education and she is a former teacher and consultant. They appear well poised to write about school leadership and accountability.

The Glasmans’ anecdotal study focuses on professionals outside of education, but the relevant synchronicity of their responsibilities and those of educational leaders makes for easy connections here.

The demands placed on educational leaders are perhaps at an all-time high due to local, state and national accountability measures. The authors list eight demands placed on school leaders and the challenges they must meet. These include school goals, safety and rule enforcement, student benefits, problem solving, fiduciary responsibility, emotional comfort and conflict resolution.

They identified one professional whose primary job entailed each of these challenges. Through a series of interviews they synthesized these traits into skill sets that educators need to be successful. The primary focus was placed on building-level administrators. They found most skills used by seven other professionals in their jobs also were essential in educational leadership.

The Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents recently published a report that compared the skills and traits of educational leaders and those of business leaders and presented much of the same results as indicated in this book. I found the book’s approach to be thought provoking and a good basis for reform of our professional development for teachers and administrators. However, if you are addicted to numbers and statistics, you might prefer to read a math dissertation.

Reviewed by Jim Hattabaugh, superintendent, Mansfield School District, Mansfield, Ark.