How to bring out the best in your staffand in yourself

Research shows that the single variable that makes the most difference in student performance is the quality of the teacher. How do we keep teachers motivated in the face of increased pressure for grades, class sizes and media attention? How do we attract and retain high-quality teachers? This inspiring text offers a refreshing alternative to the portfolio and high-stakes accountability models of school improvement. Based on the successful methods of Dealous Cox, The Relentless Pursuit of Excellence describes a leadership philosophy based on the search for wisdom through personal reflection and community. The authors share their experience with this leadership style and document the sustainable results of transformational leaders working with teachers as partners rather than adversaries. These results include

Consistently improved teacher performance; Improved teacher quality; Greater professional satisfaction for teachers; Stronger community support for schools

Richard Sagor and Deborah Rickey have tracked this established leadership model for more than 30 years. Their work shows how, when sustained over time, these leadership principles have transformed professional behavior throughout school districts and made a long-term difference for teachers and students.

An Acceptance of Uncertainty
An acceptance of uncertainty

The school improvement process in the West Linn School District was built on the twin pillars of the Quaker metaphor:

  • A belief that no single person could ever have a monopoly on all the wisdom needed to inform professional practice
  • An understanding that each member of the community likely possesses insight and wisdom that may well have been missed by others

In earlier chapters, we discussed how these values were the foundation of the people strategy for school improvement and led to the creation of policies and practices affecting staffing, professional development, and supervision. In this chapter, we shift the focus from the management of personnel to the leadership of school programs by exploring how those same values can be used ...

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