The School Administrator


May 2008 Number 5, Vol. 65Values-Based NavigationReconciling personal beliefs with the board and community


  • Moral Rudders and Superintendent Values

    by Rushworth M. Kidder

    The core challenge is this — a difficult ethical decision, where values are in play and both sides have powerful moral arguments in their favor. What should superintendents do to make these tough calls?

    Similar Reading: Arlene Ackerman: Standing on bedrock values and Framework for addressing right versus right and Additional resources

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  • Ethical Decisions in Turbulant Times

    by Joan Poliner Shapiro, Steven Jay Gross and Susan H. Shapiro

    Using the story of a preschool director in lower Manhattan on Sept. 11, the authors detail a series of paradigms to help educational leaders navigate rationally through challenging and complex circumstances when they are under considerable emotional stress.

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  • Moral Dimensions of Educational Decisions

    by Amitai Etzioni

    Few significant decisions a school administrator makes lack a normative dimension. And the values at issue are usually not personal virtues but rather social ones. The challenge is striking a balance between competing values brought about by communities pressing for higher academics.

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  • Integrating Spirituality Into Work

    by Seth Wax

    Amid the day-to-day pressures of managing their school districts, many school system leaders are seeking inspiration and deeper meaning. While it often emerges from a religious context, spirituality can be thought of more as a personal meaning system, influencing how a person puts his or her beliefs into professional practice.

    Similar Reading: Additional resources

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  • Whose Religious Values?

    by Joanne M. Marshall

    No school leader wants to be involved in time-consuming, expensive and public litigation. So how should school leaders and school boards respond to shifting religious demographics in their communities?

    Similar Reading: Additional resources

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  • Charter Schools Uncovered

    by Thomas Fowler-Finn

    Charter schools are becoming increasingly aggressive in promoting themselves as a viable alternative for public school students. The superintendent in Cambridge, Mass., conducted his own analysis of the marketing claims. What he found were lots of unfair and skewed comparisons.

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    Changing Minds and Mindsets by Paul Riede

    As his West Virginia community moved further from its heyday as a coal mining and railroad town, Superintendent James Phares made it his mission to change the prevailing mindset of the populace.

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    Board-Savvy Superintendent

    The Pros and Cons of Standing Board Committees by Donald R. McAdams

    Standing committees of the school board can delve into complex issues but also lure boards into management.

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    Guest Columns

    Sign Man, Cone Man and Gate Man by Joseph R. Poletti

    A first-year administrator doesn’t dwell on the tedium of his role when he can forge special relationships with three students with exceptional needs at his school.

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    Fighting the Consequences of Negativity by Michael R. Weber

    Little did the author, a superintendent in Wisconsin, know he would unwittingly become a professional warrior against negativism and whininess among the people around him.

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    Executive Perspective

    Wherever You Go by Paul D. Houston

    The Zen teaching "Wherever you go, there you are" has assumed new meaning for AASA's chief executive as he contemplates personal and professional transitions.

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    The latest comings and goings of AASA members — promotions, retirements, honors and deaths.

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    Tech Leadership

    Blocking the Future by Scott McLeod

    Schools that forbid MySpace accounts, cell phones and access to controversial websites miss opportunities to teach the safe and appropriate use of digital tools that are here to stay.

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    Moving the Team From Collegial to Collaborative by Carrie VanAlstine

    Rather than insult adults with trust-building exercises, an Illinois district uses common planning time for professional learning teams to improve the climate and lift the quality of instruction.

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    President's Corner

    Sharpening Our Focus To Save Students by Sarah D. Jerome

    A legislator who recently characterized 2,000 high schools as "dropout factories" raised the ire of AASA's president, who says the association's legislative agenda is right to focus on the front end of schooling.

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    Systems Thinking

    It's All About Connecting by Joseph J. Cirasuolo

    The message — and not the medium — is what matters most when educators reach beyond critics to communicate the merits of public schools. The author is AASA's chief operating officer.

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