More books … leadership, equity, district improvement …

More from my bookshelf

More books:

District improvement, equity biography, leadership, history, & human spirit – with brief comments on each:

District Improvement:

How Schools Work: An Inside Account of Failure and Success from One of the Nation’s Longest-Serving Secretaries of Education

By Arne Duncan
Former Secretary of Education tells well the story of improving Chicago schools; he started in an after-school tutoring program.  Explains federal policy and offers six steps for improving schools:  pre-school; after-school; SEL; quality teachers and principals; pathways; and college/career choice for all.

Opportunity for All: A Framework for Quality and Equality in Education

by Jennifer O’Day and Michael Smith

A good overview for district leaders.  Outlines policies and practices that seem promising and those that have not worked as well.  Focuses on systems and continuous improvement.


Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America (Hardcover)
By John Lewis

What an incredible statesman!  Lewis calmly recounts the March on Selma and the horrific price that has been paid to advance civil rights and racial justice.  Shares lessons of leadership: Remain calm. Use civil disobedience. Be respectful and persistent.  Says, Love will win in the end.

Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices & Priorities of a Winning Life

by Tony Dungy

African American coach led the Indianapolis Colts to the 2006 Super Bowl Championship.  Shares his life lessons.  Keep it simple.  Keep teaching.  Stay focused.  Eventually all the pieces come together.

The Truths We Hold: An American Journey

by Kamala Harris

Vice-President candidate shares her lessons learned from a life-time of civic involvement.

Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America

by Stacey Abrams

After a near miss for Georgia governor, Stacey Abrams has dedicated her time to making elections fair and accessible.  Great history lessons and action steps to be taken now to insure that all have fair opportunities to vote.


Skin in the Game: The Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Author of the Black Swan (anomalies we never saw coming), dismantles much of what we think we know about probability.  Advocates listening most to those with “skin in the game.”

The Leadership Bible: Leadership Principles from God’s Word

Sid Buzzell, Editor

Shows how systems leadership principles run as themes through the Bible.  Includes dozens of scripture references as well as connections to secular leadership resources.


The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

Timothy Egan

The book puts our times in perspective. Egan is a great writer and story-teller.  He follows a few families during the dust bowl years to show both the big policy decisions as well as the horrendous human impact.  This is the story of those who toughed it out as they lost nearly everything: crops, animals, farms, family members.


by Edmund Morris 

Edison was certainly a genius at inventing: light, sound, batteries, mining, rubber and much more.  His list of patents is incredible.  His ability to get along with people; not so much.

Profiles in Audacity: Great Decisions and How They Were Made

by Alan Axelrod 

I will read this one again – to capture more of the lessons learned.  My kind of history.  Short, succinct and compelling snippets of history.  Stories are a bit uneven.  Many provide great leadership lessons.  Others are great stories but we are left to wonder at the decision making processes.

Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and 116 Days that Changed the World

by Chris Wallace

Roosevelt died just as many years of work culminated in the development of the nuclear bomb.  Within days, President Truman had to decide to go forward or not.  Tells of his political decision making process as well as the incredible logistics that went into insuring success.


by Ken Follett

This is a work of fiction based on real characters.  How female agents insured that German communications were taken out on the eve of D-Day, depriving Germany of intelligence on the Allied invasion.

Human Spirit

A 5th Portion of Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101 More Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit

by Jack Canfield , Mark Victor Hansen, et al

There are more than 200 books in this series.  Positive, uplifting stories tell about overcoming great challenges.  A great reminder of how incredibly resilient we can be.

Lang Lang: Playing with Flying Keys

by Lang Lang and Michael French 

A classic story of developing a childhood prodigy. How a small child in a remote Chinese village became a world class pianist with grit, determination, practice, and constant improvement.  Illustrates how greatness can be developed with support, encouragement and hard work.



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Seattle Schools superintendent 2014-2018

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