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Rules of the Game    

How to Win a Job in Educational Leadership

by Marilou Ryder, Delmar Publishing, Huntington Beach, Calif., 2012, 173 pp., softcover


Rules of the Game is a quick read with valuable advice for anyone looking to move into school administration for the first time or advance to the next level of administration. Author Marilou Ryder lives up to her promise of providing tips and trade secrets to help readers score their professional goals.

Ryder, a former superintendent in California, runs an educational consulting firm, and she speaks regularly on the topics of career advancement for educational leaders and executive mentoring.

Within the four major focus areas of planning, packaging, preparing and persevering, Ryder has included insider tips, examples, forms, sample exercises, prompts and key planning actions. Each of the six sections ends with what she calls “parting shots” designed to motivate the reader to take action.

This book is full of practical, step-by-step information and strategies that lay out what to do from the time you decide you are interested in changing jobs and ready to conduct a job search through successful transition strategies once you begin your new assignment.

My favorite part of the book is the Scrimmage Notes found in the section labeled "Preparing." Having recently sat on both sides of the interview table, these important components set the winning job candidate apart from those who simply applied because they wanted a job. Being truly prepared to step into a job as the top candidate takes time, research, reflection and organization. It is more important than ever to do your homework on the district and its job requirements and to mold your experiences to fit their needs.

This book would be an excellent resource for universities’ principal and superintendent preparation courses.

Reviewed by Lylia King, principal, Mary Jo Sheppard Elementary School, Mansfield, Texas


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