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Published On 1/7/2020
Transforming Teamwork by Garmston, Roussin, and Zimmerman is a dense book full of important ideas for developing teams and evolving them into instruments for improving student learning. Like most books I review, there is an underlying assumption that change is a natural and expected phenomenon within our schools. I think we all know that this is often not the case. Change is most often seen as a threat. Which is why this book is important because ultimately this book is about changing the culture of our schools to the point where change is simply a natural collaborative venture for improving student learning.
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Published On 11/5/2019
This is the best work on leadership that I have read in a long time. She grabbed me in her opening note when she stated “my growing resolve is to go full-on Tom Petty and not back down.” I mean, who quotes a rock star when talking about leadership? Her writing is diamond sharp and crystal clear, which means it is easy to read but yet is rich in its content. Reading “Dare To Lead,” reminded me of the first time that I read Jim Collins and kept nodding my head in assent, as I read deeper and deeper. Like Collins, Brown’s work is based on extensive research, and also like Collins, it is delivered as a mandate, a statement of undeniable beliefs about leadership and the cognitive tools required to lead with courage and purpose. Also, like Collins, Brown develops her own vocabulary – words like “rumble” and “armor” and “arena” – and these capture vividly the concepts she is describing.
The book is divided into four parts that expound upon vulnerability, values, trust, and “learning to r
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Published On 10/25/2019
School districts in the United States and throughout the world have the responsibility to do everything possible to ensure the safety of students during the school day and while students are involved in extra-curricular activities. The enormous task of protecting students currently in our history is challenging. School shootings have occurred at an alarming rate, the potential for natural or technical disaster to occur near a school is always a possibility, and just the normal day-to-day activities within a school district has an impact on school emergency management.
Having effective school emergency management plans requires a comprehensive framework that includes written plans, response plan activities, mitigation techniques, and options to use in the recovery process (Hull, 2011). Each one of the components of a comprehensive school emergency plan is of equal value and importance. Having well written plans is a critical first-step in developing comprehensive plans for a sch
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Published On 10/22/2019
Deb Welch | Published on 10/22/2019
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Published On 10/17/2019
In a Harvard Business Review article, “Stressed at Work? Mentoring a Colleague Could Help,” Michael Gill (University of Oxford) and Thomas Roulet (University of Cambridge) explain the findings of research in mentoring programs for police forces in England and Wales. Their experiment showed that people who served as mentors “experienced lower levels of anxiety and described their job as more meaningful, than those who did not mentor.” Mentors and mentees realized that they had common pressures and mentors felt that they were able to do something important for someone.

In AISH and AAIE’s joint Mentor and Coaching program, mentors similarly express that they enjoy the personal connection and collegiality that evolves from the conversations between two International School Heads. Mentees express gratitude and relate that, “His contextual knowledge of my situation was extremely helpful,” “I was able to reach out as needed to have important conversations,” and “There are a lot of
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Published On 9/9/2019
Clayton Christensen’s “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” was originally published twenty-five years ago. Upon initial release, this book was a stunning piece of research on why some companies became obsolete despite good management. The impact is similar to that of educators who read his more recent research based tome, “Disrupting Class.” But there is a key difference between these two works: the earlier book develops a theory of why some companies fail due to disruptive innovation although they are doing everything right in terms of listening to customers, improving product, and sustaining profits for a long time. The second book is also a theory but one that predicts the future of education in relation to the disruptive innovation of online learning. Both are thoroughly researched and well written, but I find the current reissued book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” a much harder read and one that is more difficult to apply to our thinking about schools and change.
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Published On 7/29/2019
We live in a world surrounded by data and from baseball to leadership, analytics has become a faith-based approach to seeking truth and gaining an edge in the complexity of our modern age. One could argue that this forsakes a more human touch where one’s gut helps make decisions or falling back on past experiences gives one the edge or that the use of one’s instinct still renders clarity in some circumstances and they would be partly right. The current evidence/data based research approach is mostly a numbers game sprinkled with personal stories to illustrate data findings. Kouzes and Posner are not the only culprits here; Collins and others have also stoked this fire for quite some time. Yet, despite this approach, I have to admit that The Leadership Challenge offers a cogent and comprehensive view of leadership based on one simple question: “What did you do when you were at your personal best as a leader?”

Click for the full text of Ed Ladd’s review of The Leadership Ch
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Published On 5/23/2019
Like many of you, I was inspired to look at learning differently thanks to the insights of Sir Ken Robinson. My favorite YouTube video was the wonderful animation on a white board of Robinson’s ideas about the “old” factory model of education and how it needed to change so we could encourage creativity and innovation in children. To me, Robinson captured the essence of the need to change from an older and well-established model of education to one that is culturally different. Aaron Dignan, in his newest book, “Brave New Work,” does the same for organizations and their “operating systems” in a dense and provocative challenge to how we currently work. Our “legacy organizations” are based on the work of Frederick Taylor’s “The Principle of Scientific Management” published in 1909 and born on the factory floor to create a efficient and controlled system that separated the “thinking” – management- from the “doing” – workers , and is the foundation for all of our organizational work flow
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Published On 4/28/2019
Graded American School in São Paulo, Brazil, brought ten distinguished educational experts to meet with twenty leadership, faculty, Board members, and students for a two-day "Think Tank" to search for the desirable future of teaching and learning.

I was fortunate enough to facilitate the process on behalf of AISH.

The group heard stories from students and teachers of personal, deep and enduring learning and charted the characteristics of their experiences.

The group next decided what they wanted to Keep, Drop, and Create in the school to achieve great teaching and learning.

Then we dialogued about how they could best lead, support and create an environment where students thrived and teachers transformed their learning; first, in individual reflection time which included "reading the walls" and considering personal notes, and then at tables, groups identified a list of concrete point describing the future. Five themes
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Published On 11/26/2022
Imagine a school where students were not segregated by their age but by competence, where most learning was project based linked to “real world” issues, where students worked collaboratively with other students and content experts globally, where students were taught content literacy instead of content fluency, and the humanities and values were central to the curriculum. More importantly, imagine a digitalized environment in which artificial intelligence becomes a collaborative partner in student learning. Well, you don’t have to imagine this world, Greg Toppo and Jim Tracey in their book Running with Robots present us with a future that is intriguing, challenging, and possible.
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Published On 10/5/2022
Reviewed by Ed Ladd
Regret. All of us have had regrets. Looking backwards is seen as a weakness; a failure of boldness and confidence; a detour from the road ahead. We are led to believe that “having no regrets” is a sign of strength. Daniel Pink, in his new book The Power of Regret, immediately rejects this worldview perspective with one simple sentence: “It is dead wrong.” For the complete review, click here.
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Published On 5/17/2022
The world’s positive response to the Ukraine crisis is a beautiful example of what true humanity is supposed to be. However, as an educator of color and a mother to two beautiful black boys, I am left with the feeling that this beautiful humanity does not include me, nor my sons, nor students and colleagues of color.
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Published On 5/13/2022
Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Expectations
by Brene’ Brown and Reviewed by Ed Ladd

Brene’ Brown’s latest bestseller is as big and bold as the title suggests. She catalogues, defines, and expounds upon 87 emotions and human experiences that she has grouped into 13 chapters filled with her research and personal stories. Brene’ writes, “My hope for this book is that together we can learn about the emotions and experiences that clarify what it is to be human – including the language that allows us to make sense of what we experience.”
Brown is steadfast in her beliefs that her work must be “empirically based” and that a common language and understanding of our emotional selves is essential for making connections with others.
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Published On 4/8/2022
With more than 2.4 million refugees now having crossed the border into Poland, the front line of the humanitarian crisis associated with the war in Ukraine has an epicenter. What is amazing is the degree to which the entire population of Poland, and our school population, have embraced this challenge and formed a grassroots movement to support and care for displaced and traumatized people, predominantly made up of women, children, elderly, and pets.
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Published On 3/15/2022
by Todd Shy
Reviewed by Ed Ladd
There are books that make you smile, think, and remember. There are books that inspire you and there are books that you want to share. Todd Shy has written a book that does all of these things in his love letter to his daughters and to his profession – teaching. Part memoir, part treatise on education, and part meditation on his “teaching life,” Shy has written a beauty of a book with echoes of Emerson and Thoreau that examines his life as a teacher and a student with candor and wisdom.
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Published On 1/24/2022
Reviewed by Ben Thrash
Burnout. Stress. Exhaustion dragging at your best intentions.
School leaders entering 2022 face both their personal overwhelm and the significant challenges of those in their care. An uphill climb at best, it’s expected that one feels bouts of disempowerment. I candidly relate. However, in the wise words of sisters Emily and Amelia Nagoski, authors of Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, “Stress is not bad for you; being stuck is bad for you.” Though published pre-pandemic, their 2019 book serves as a prescient manual for navigating our collective sense that we are not quite enough.
Click here for the full review.
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Published On 11/10/2021
If you remember nothing else from this review, remember this: Tame your advice monster.
Michael Bungay Stanier’s The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever, has a variety of important lessons, but for leaders, reconsidering how we support those we lead through more effective listening has potential impact for improving our relationships, our impact, and our schools.
For busy leaders, The Coaching Habit has the value of being a quick read and is designed not only to impart knowledge but to help you apply it. The first section is structured to help you build new habits and improve your support of team members through the development of a new habit for coaching. And he uses an evidence-based approach to help us get there.
Click here for the full review: The Coaching Habit
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Published On 11/10/2021
It has been 20 years since Fullan published his seminal work on leadership entitled Leading in a Culture of Change. And, although it has been two decades since Fullan’s framework for effective leadership was presented, his core ideas appear to be more aligned and more necessary now than ever before in a world that has changed dramatically, while schools in many cases have remained the same. Fullan, and his team of researchers, have collected significant data that shows most leadership in business and in schools is largely ineffective, but he still strongly believes that with the right goals, focus, and understanding of change, effective leaders can be developed. Click here to read the full review: Book Review_Leading in a Culture of Change
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Published On 9/14/2021
Reviewed by Ed Ladd

Despite the title, this book was not what I was expecting. Greene, a recognized entrepreneur and the founder of Kiddovate, works as a creative expert to assist companies in disrupting the status quo. He correctly views the Pandemic as a disruption but, rather than focus on lessons learned or “unlearned” (her vocabulary) in a year of online learning, hybrid models, and some face-to-face, she makes a huge jump by comparing her year of homeschooling in 2016 to the Pandemic disruption.
Read the full article here: //
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Published On 5/14/2021
One of my golfing buddies explained to me a few months ago that he had purchased a pushcart for golf and had started walking every round of golf instead of riding in the golf cart because of what he read in “this book” by Sanjay Gupta. I quickly looked up the book when I got home. Any book that can impact a person enough to change their behavior must be worth a read I thought, so I quickly ordered the book, and am glad that I did.
Keep Sharp takes a three-prong approach to brain health. The first section examines how the brain works and what current research is discovering about the brain’s function and health. Section Two explores what one can do to maintain and improve brain health, and Section Three discusses in detail dementia and Alzheimer’s and the research being done to combat these declines in brain functioning. Please click here for the full review:
Keep Sharp
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Published On 4/7/2021
Reviewed by Ed Ladd.
Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist from The Wharton School, has written a book that is an essential read for anyone who seeks to lead organizational change, for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the challenges we face in the world today, and for anyone who wants to have a life of learning. In international education, we have for a long-time embraced Carol Dweck’s concept of a “growth mindset.” Grant takes a deeper dive into what is required to achieve this mindset and presents us with the research and the strategies to achieve this lofty goal. I believe wholeheartedly with his statement “I can’t think of a more vital time for re-thinking.” And while, his reference point is global, I think it aptly applies to education. He wants to “anchor our sense of self in flexibility rather than consistency."
Click here for the full review.
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Published On 3/11/2021
Reviewed by Ed Ladd
All of us know how successful Google is, and most of us have heard that the company is rated as one of the best places in the world to work. Many of us have visions of a Google workplace full of tie-dyed t-shirts and worn jeans work attire where the foosball tables jockey with Starbucks coffee bars for office space. This imagined imagery suggests a company that is casual and relaxed where work is serendipitous and playful. Nothing could be further from the truth as Laszlo Bock reveals in this book about how Google cultivates an organization that is purposeful and value driven. And in doing so, Bock gives us insights into how we could create a similar culture within our schools.
Click here to read the full review:
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Published On 2/10/2021
Reviewed by Rachel Caldwell, School Director, Pechersk School Int’l, Kyiv

What organizational leader wouldn’t want to know the secret to creating an environment where colleagues can flourish and become highly productive, energized, innovative, collaborative, and joyful?

According to Paul Zak, the author of Trust Factor, this utopia is within our grasp. Even better, Zak provides the reader with scientific evidence to support the proposed building-block approach to creating the culture of trust necessary for these attributes and responses to flourish.
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Published On 11/10/2020
I always enjoy reading Malcolm Gladwell. He enlightens me. He connects the dots in ways that I would never suspect and in doing so illuminates my understanding of the world. He tells stories, coupled with research, to reveal hidden truths. In books like The Tipping Point, Blink, The Outliers, and others he has done this consistently. And he does it again in his latest work, Talking to Strangers.

In a world where people of color are killed by police in alarming numbers, we have failed to understand why. And although we point to the broader concept of systemic racism, we are at a loss to explain the point of conflict when two strangers meet and the result of that coming together is death. Gladwell attempts to uncover this mystery. For the full book review, please click here.
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Published On 10/14/2020
Book Review by Ed Ladd
White Fragility: Why It Is So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

In the year of the pandemic, most of our efforts have been focused on how to reopen our schools and keep our children safe and healthy. In the midst of this disruption, the other major issue of this past year is The Black Lives Matter movement. Although the anger and frustration resulting from George Floyd’s death and those of others has led to months of demonstrations, civil unrest, and unfortunately some violence, there appears to be little significant “action” to actually address systemic racism in our society. Robin DiAngelo, in “White Fragility” addresses this issue and forces us to look at our society differently. In doing so, she begs the question explicitly on how we need to seek to understand and talk about racism differently. This is a brave book. Click here to read the full review.
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Published On 9/17/2020
In Alfie Kohn’s latest blog entitled Out of Control: Taking Liberties with Autonomy During a
Pandemic, he opens with a quotation from Warren Buffet: “When the tide goes out, we can
finally see who has been swimming naked.” Kohn restates this in how a pandemic confronts us
with many “truths” about ourselves: what kind of society we really have, what we really
“culturally” believe, and our “tendency to worship individual liberty and slight the common

Click here for the full review:
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Published On 7/10/2020
Due to the disruption of “school” everywhere by the pandemic, the discussion about learning and teaching has never been more vigorous or possibly more needed. I think many educators, rightfully so, view this crisis as an opportunity for change and are seeking new scenarios for what learning and teaching should look like in the future. This month I have taken a different tack by reading the recent memoir of Tony Wagner, renowned researcher and writer from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This was a different kind of book but one that should be read by teachers as well as administrators. In many ways, Tony's experiences are great catalysts for our own reflections on how students learn in our schools.
Wagner’s Learning By Heart: An Unconventional Education takes us on a journey from expelled middle schooler to high school dropout to college dropout (twice) to a world of elf-discovery that enables Wagner to both live and learn the beliefs that have elevated him.
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Published On 6/4/2020
by Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky
Book Review by Ed Ladd
Today, around the world, as countries are trying to reopen, the push, the need, the call for a return to normalcy echoes loudly each day. There is a visceral yearning to return to pre-Covid-19 living conditions. The mantra of almost everyone is: “let’s return to normal.” And as people seek to return to a life that was and grieve that sense of loss for that “normalcy” lost in their lives, they begin to struggle with this sense of loss.

Click here for the Book Review: Leadership on the Line
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