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.

The West Linn School District1

The West Linn school district

It is 8:00 am, April 19, 2010, in Wilsonville, Oregon. As the parking lot fills, one can see smiling teachers making their way through the drizzle and into the main entrance of the high school. The banner in front of the building welcomes everyone to the 17th Annual Celebration of Inquiry.

Inside, the atmosphere is reminiscent of a top tier professional conference. Directional signs point to the exhibits area, the location of the continental breakfast, and the venue for the opening general session. The only thing that seems different from the ambience of other first-class professional conferences is that no one seems to be a stranger. In fact, observing the informal interactions of the attendees, one would ...

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