Book Review

Resilient School Leaders

by Jerry L. Patterson and Paul Kelleher, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, Va., 2005, 175 pp. with index, $25.95 softcover

The authors of Resilient School Leaders: Strategies for Turning Adversity into Achievement, believe school leaders have a choice in how they interpret adversity and in how they apply their own resiliency skills and courage to act on conviction.

Co-authors Jerry L. Patterson, a professor of leadership studies at the University of Alabama, and Paul Kelleher, chair of the department of education at Trinity University, draw upon current research in a variety of disciplines such as psychology and physiology. They also share insights from 25 educational leaders including Paul Houston, Michael Fullan and Larry Lezotte. These personal insights put a human face on dealing with adversity and reveal how school leaders can increase their own resilience.

The most poignant discussion focuses on why possessing strong personal efficacy enables school leaders to attempt more challenging goals. The authors provide tools for translating researched-based theories about personal efficacy into effective action, and they offer nine strategies to strengthen competence and confidence in dealing with adverse situations.

The authors clearly recognize that one school leader acting alone is not enough to sustain an organization through a crisis. They offer ways to enhance resiliency throughout the organizational culture of a school district by drawing distinctions between personal resilience and team resilience.

This book will help school leaders with strategies to move forward in the midst of adversity. It also will provide ideas for constructing ways to remain optimistic about future possibilities so that the important issues of teaching and learning remain at the center of our work.

Reviewed by Henry Kiernan, superintendent, Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, North Merrick, N.Y.