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.

Three Key Leadership Functions
Three key leadership functions

It is widely agreed that the process of developing effective schools requires high quality school administration (Chrispeels, 1990; Dufour & Marzano, 2011; Hallinger, Bickman, & Davis, 1990; Heck, Larsen, & Marcoulides, 1990; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1990). We have become enamored of the scaffolding metaphor as a means for describing successful school administration. If one imagines observing someone gazing up at a skyscraper and watching them marveling at the beauty of the complex structure, it is hard to imagine hearing one of the first things out of their mouth being, “Wow, the scaffolding that was used to build that skyscraper must have been absolutely amazing!”

In reality, there was no way a skyscraper or any other multistoried structure could ever ...

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