You are here

Leadership Development on a Large Scale

Leadership Development on a Large Scale
Lessons for Long-Term Success

First Edition
  • Kenneth Leithwood - University of Toronto, Canada, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto, Canada

Forewords by Philip Hallinger and John Malloy, A Joint Publication with the Ontario Principals' Council

October 2018 | 208 pages | Corwin

Effective school leadership can have a transformative impact on the lives of students. Written by one of the foremost scholars in the field. this book draws lessons from one of the most successful long-term educational leadership studies ever conducted to provide actionable advice and specific strategies. Learn how to:

  • Understand the evidence base to design effective leadership development programs and initiatives
  • Support instructional leaders in leading collaborative inquiry approaches to classroom pedagogy to help teachers convey complex ideas to students
  • Establish Principal Learning Teams to help guide school-wide and districtwide decision-making

Foreword by Philip Hallinger
Foreword by John Malloy
About the Author
Chapter 1. The Leading Student Achievement: Networks for Learning Project (LSA)
The Context

The Contributions of Leadership to Student Learning

A Brief History of the Leading Student Achievement Project

A Summary of LSA’s Priorities for Improvement

Chapter 2. Evidence Used by LSA to Learn Its Way Forward
Phase 1: Comprehensive Assessment of Project Implementation and Outcomes

Phase 2: Targeting a Small Number of Key Priorities


Chapter 3. Building on a Shared Understanding of Effective School Leadership
Successful Leadership Practices

Personal Leadership Resources


Chapter 4. LSA’s Approach to Leadership Development
LSA’s Initial Vision and Framework

Complementary Perspectives on LSA’s Functions

LSA’s Formal Professional Development Program


Chapter 5. Collaborative Inquiry
The Evolution of LSA’s Approach to Collaborative Inquiry


Chapter 6. Key Learning Conditions: A Subject for Collaborative Inquiry
Key Learning Conditions

Initial Justification for Five Key Learning Conditions

LSA’s Own Evidence About Key Learning Conditions


Chapter 7. LSA’s Theory of Action and How It Was Developed
How LSA’s Theory of Action Was Developed

The Four Paths Theory of Action

Empirical Test of the Four Paths Theory of Action


Chapter 8. Knowledge Building/Knowledge Creation: Education for a Knowledge Society
The Motivation for Adopting Knowledge Building

Knowledge Building

Creating Interest in Knowledge Building and the Capacity for Implementation

The First Year of Knowledge-Building Implementation

The Second Year of Knowledge-Building Implementation


Chapter 9. Creating Useful Knowledge About Leadership Networks: Taking It to the Next Level
Fundamental Assumptions About Learning in Networks

LSA’s Research About the Characteristics of Effective Leadership Networks


Chapter 10. Insights About Leading Large-Scale Leadership Development Projects
Four Practical Challenges in Sustaining LSA

One Large Technical Challenge: Assessing the Project’s Impact on Students

Eleven Lessons About Effective Project Leadership



There is no doubt that this book identifies a plethora of strategies that will move the field forward.  This is a project that has been implemented within a large number of schools/across a large number of leaders….and has been continually evaluated.  The strength is that it is not an “opinion” piece wherein an author references the work of others and then suggests what “might” be effective, but this is work that has been implemented, and is showing promising results.

Lynn Macan, Visiting Associate Professor & Former Superintendent
University at Albany -- SUNY

After following Fullan, Leithwood, Bryk, and Sharratt for many years, this is the next piece in the puzzle of how to implement large-scale school change that has an impact. I love how the project was mindfully constructed to self-assess and was responsive to the feedback from participants. We can learn a lot from reading this book and practicing such mindfulness when it comes to supporting schools to help students learn.

Linda Vogel, Professor of Educational Leadership & Chair of Leadership: Policy and Development
University of Northern Colorado

Having worked with Leading Student Achievement (LSA) and the Ontario Principals Council, and being a long-time fan of Kenneth Leithwood, I have seen first-hand how their work has impacted school leadership across Ontario. Now, in Leadership Development on a Large Scale we are able to learn how they did it, which means that their collaborative work will not only continue to have an impact on leadership in Ontario, but the rest of the world too.

Peter DeWitt, Corwin Author, Finding Common Ground blog
Corwin, Education Week

The Leading Student Achievement (LSA) project is one of the longest-standing research projects in Canada.  It has been a success because it uses research-informed strategies, is led by a world-recognized researcher, engages the field, and is fully supported by those who are expected to do the work.  I commend Ontario principals for having accepted our challenge to adopt a theory-into-practice approach that would expand leadership commitment to inquiry.  They have created a legacy that benefits students.

Avis Glaze, Corwin Author, International Education Adviser, & Founding CEO of the Literacy and Numaracy Secretariat

Leithwood demonstrates again why he is the most prominent scholar in the areas of educational leadership and school improvement. He fills a major void in helping us see how leadership can be developed and sustained by providing a marvelous ground level understanding of how school leadership unfolds and how that knowledge can be used to improve schools.

Joseph Murphy, Associate Dean; Vanderbilt University; Nashville, TN
Vanderbilt University; Nashville, TN
peer review

This is a rare book on Leadership: grounded, empirical, theoretical, cogent, comprehensive, and unwaveringly true to both local and system needs. As usual, Leithwood ‘leads’ leadership by capturing the state of play. Dive into Leadership Development on a Large Scale'  and you will be rewarded chapter after chapter with insights and ideas that will improve your efficacy as a leader.

Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus
OISE/University of Toronto.

Leading  improvement at scale is a complex, fraught, and messy business. In this book, Ken Leithwood provides clear, critical insights and sound empirical verification about the ways in which leadership development can be a significant force for lasting change. An intellectual tour de force and a major contribution to the field.

Alma Harris, Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy
University of Bath, Department of Education

Leadership Development on a Large Scale gives us new hope for school reform. Leithwood shows how collaboration between professional associations, a ministry of education, and a team of scholars envisioned, adjusted, documented, and sustained a successful program to improve all schools in Ontario. There are no quick fixes, as he points to the complexity of shifting a system from top to bottom. There is quiet wisdom in every chapter.

Karen Seashore, Regents Professor of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development
University of Minnesota

Leadership matters. Ken Leithwood and the Leading Student Achievement team shine the spotlight on real stories from the field on how school and system leadership is inextricably tied to student achievement and well-being. Our Ontario leadership narrative offers others a pathway to collaborative leading and learning opportunities that lead to improved conditions and success for students.

Luciana Cardarelli, Program and Member Services Coordinator
Catholic Principals' Council, Ontario

In 2005, the phrase ‘it is lonely at the top’ was a general feeling that most school leaders were experiencing in their schools. The Ontario Ministry of Education, under Avis Glaze’s leadership of the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat, welcomed OPC, CPCO and ADFO’s request for funding to structure professional learning for teams of leaders across the province. The impact has been profound. LSA has raised the bar on learning and leading and has had a direct influence on the student learning agenda in Ontario. Ken’s involvement at the outset and longitudinal data collection has provided evidence for continued support.

Joanne Robinson, Thought leader and first Chair of the LSA Project; Director of Professional Learning
Education Leadership Canada; Ontario Principals' Council

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

Rent or Buy eBook
ISBN: 9781544342207

ISBN: 9781544342214

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.