Book Review

What Every Rookie Superintendent Should Know

by Robert Reeves, Rowman and Littlefield Education, Lanham, Md., 2006, 430 pp., $39.95 softcover

Robert Reeves’ book What Every Rookie Superintendent Should Know is written in a relaxed conversational style that makes it easy to follow.

As the title implies, the book offers practical and friendly management tools for newcomers to survive in the first year of a district leadership post. Near the end, Reeves promises a “great new end in mind — survival the second year!” As this suggests, his work is devoted to survival rather than inspiration and enlightenment.

Each chapter begins with a discussion of what will be presented and ends with a summary. Time-out reflections provoke readers’ thinking, and a toolbox takes the spot of a bibliography. The toolbox lists follow-up materials relevant to the activities described in the chapter.

Activity sequences are offered in a month-to-month format, allowing for a direct and simple reference to the activities of a superintendent during the course of a 12-month school year. Reeves does an excellent job pulling together some useful material from others on interest-based bargaining, systemic thinking and change and strategic planning.

The toolbox offers few female author references, contributing to a flavor that leans to the male perspective. Lacking is any discussion about interpersonal relationships faced by superintendents, and the educational view overall seems singularly weighted toward the effective schools model rather than a more inclusive array of approaches.

Reviewed by Joseph W. Rudnicki, superintendent, Sunnyvale, Calif.