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The Brain and Strengths Based School Leadership

The Brain and Strengths Based School Leadership

  • Sheryl G. Feinstein - University of Nebraska, Kearney, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, University of South Dakota, USA
  • Robert W. Kiner - Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

June 2011 | 224 pages | Corwin

Build on individual strengths for optimized leadership

Best-selling author Sheryl G. Feinstein demonstrates how educational leaders can apply a popular business prototype of leadership strengths and the latest brain research to lead effectively. Her new book, co-authored by veteran administrator and instructional leader Robert W. Kiner, outlines four leadership styles—executer, relationship builder, influencer, and strategic thinker—and shows how to recognize and capitalize on these styles in order to:

  • Create a positive school culture
  • Mentor and supervise teachers
  • Keep track of standardized testing
  • Foster community partnerships
  • Use data to inform curriculum and instruction

The authors connect current cognitive research with the challenges of educational leadership, using vignettes and discussion questions to make clear the links between neural wiring, learning, and leading. Learn how to make the most of your own talents and also play to the strengths of everyone on your team.

Foreword by Jerry D. Weast
About the Authors
1. With the Leader's Brain in Mind
Strength-Based Leadership

The Workings of the Human Brain


Discussion Questions

2. Using Leaders' Strengths to Create and Maintain a Positive School Climate
What's the Point?

The Brain and School Climate

Putting It Into Practice

Instruction and Learning

Physical Environment


Discussion Questions

3. Mind Matters: What Leaders Need to Know About Students
The Elementary Student's Brain

The Secondary Students' Brain


Discussion Questions

4. Best of Class: Leading Teachers
Curriculum and Instruction

Assessment 101


Technology: Your Brain On-Line


Discussion Questions

5. The Rubber Meets the Road: Supervision and Evaluation
Extreme School Make-Over

Empowerment Supervision



Discussion Questions

6. Shared Leadership and Leading Teacher's Strengths
The Human Brain

Strength-Based Shared Leadership

Leading Teacher's Strengths


Discussion Questions

Appendix I: Stress, Teachers, and Students
Appendix II: Family and Community School Partnerships

"The authors help fill a void in recent work at the intersection of the brain sciences and education. The potential for neuro- and cognitive sciences to inform educators remains largely untapped. Principals and other school leaders should take a keen interest in the ideas set forth in this unique volume."

Mariale Hardiman, Assistant Dean and Dept. Chair, Neuro-Education Initiative
Johns Hopkins University School of Education
Key features

Features and Benefits:

  • Begins with a quiz to help the reader determine his/her leadership style
  • Explains how leaders can use brain-compatible strategies while addressing hot topics such as school safety, violence, diversity, gender differences, and role modeling
  • Incorporates interviews, quotes, and actual scenarios involving superintendents, vice principals, curriculum specialists, teachers, and students
  • Presents quick reference Pertinent Points in each chapter to highlight key concepts
  • Devotes an entire chapter to discussing issues of concern for specific grade levels, including topics such as the need for developmentally appropriate kindergarten programs that focus on social and emotional development, the need to explore and have integrated subjects in middle school, and the need to encourage autonomy and a positive identity in high school
  • Provides a chapter on how to use the book in a book club setting, with discussion and reflection questions correlated to each chapter

Sample Materials & Chapters



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