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Conversations With Principals

Conversations With Principals
Issues, Values, and Politics

January 2006 | 320 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Conversations With Principals: Issues, Values, and Politics is a unique compilation of interviews with principals at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels. Unlike any other text in Educational Administration, this book allows students the unusual opportunity to experience the inner voice of principals as they discuss the many decisions they make and the multitude of people they must engage.   

Key Features:
  • Places students at the front line of leadership: This book provides a simple, straightforward, and honest view of the realities of the principalship as experienced by those who assume these roles. Each chapter offers a rare view into the minds of educational leaders as they honestly discuss their feelings and strategies behind their leadership practices.
  • Provides personal profiles and school demographic data: The professional background of each principal is given so students can better understand their journey from an educator to a leadership position. In addition, each interview conveys a different school situation to demonstrate the complexity of the profession and allow readers to understand how different school contexts impact and affect decisions that are made.
  • Connects students to the material: At the conclusion of each chapter, comprehensive and probing questions, role playing activities, and leadership projects engage readers and connect them to the role of principal. An analysis section provided after each interview reflects on the leader's approaches and decision-making in a theoretical context that helps students link theory to application in a very practical and relevant way.
Intended Audience: This is an excellent supplementary text for a variety of graduate courses in Educational Administration such as Introduction to School Administration, Educational Leadership, Principalship, Foundations in Educational Organization, Effective Leadership, and Organizational Dynamics of the American Educational System.

The Role of the Principal

Connecting the Principal to the Reader

How the Principal Interviews were formulated

Organization of the Book

Connecting Across Interviews

Matrix of Principal Interviews

Chapter 1: Changing the School Culture
Chapter 2: Personal and Professional Belief Systems
Chapter 3: Maintaining Stability and History
Chapter 4: Social Exchange and Power
Chapter 5: The Lens of Decision-Making
Chapter 6: Leadership Focus and Planning
Chapter 7: Evaluation and the Political Arena
Chapter 8: Students in Transition
Chapter 9: Perceptions and Assumptions
Chapter 10: Addressing Organizational and Personal Needs
Chapter 11: Group Dynamics and Multi-Nationalism
Chapter 12: A Principal’s Approach to NCLB
Chapter 13: A Superintendent’s Perspective on NCLB
Readings and Resources


“This book meets a need faced by school leader preparation programs—that of bringing reality to abstract concepts. . . . This book will work well as a springboard for discussion with students.” 

Brenda LeTendre
Pittsburg State University, Kansas

"Books on educational leadership are often detached from the practicalities of managing a school. This cannot be said of Dubin's new volume. The many years Dubin spent as an administrator and professor are evident in the insightful and probing questions he poses. This volume will make an outstanding addition to the libraries of scholars interested in the vital role principals play in educational reform, and it will prove to be an invaluable teaching resource in the training of principals."

A. Cooley
Limestone College

"The preparation of educational leaders is a daunting yet crucial undertaking. This synthesis of a few of the principal interviews conducted and analyzed in Conversations with Principals: Issues, Values and Politics provides an enlightening window into their professional experiences, lives and decision-making approaches. These conversations connect and, almost through osmosis, mentor the aspiring educational leaders to understand the demands, complexity and impact of school leadership. Through these principals’ ‘inner voices,’ candidates can become more sensitized and prepared to assume decision-making roles in our K-12 schools."

Educational Leadership and Administration: Teaching and Program Development
The Annual Journal of the California Associaion of Professors of Educational Administration
Key features
Presents interviews with thirteen practicing administrators in diverse school settings. The oral history approach is highly effective in communicating the actual experiences and decision-making processes of administrators.  The rich and provocative details presented offer the candidate the opportunity to more fully appreciate the opportunities, challenges and demands of the leadership role.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

chapter 2

chapter 3

Sage College Publishing

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