Better Principals, Better Schools

What Star Principals Know, Believe, and Do

Edited by:
Delia Stafford, Haberman Educational Foundation
Valerie Hill-Jackson, Texas A&M University

A volume in the series: Urban Education Studies Series. Editor(s): Nicholas D. Hartlep, Berea College. Thandeka K. Chapman, University of California, San Diego.

Published 2015

A school is only as good as its principal. This quip forms the thesis of Better Principals as it provides a bird’s eye view on the enactment of Haberman’s eleven core functions of a star principal. Better Principals is imperative for two main reasons. First, the achievement gap between 20 million children in poverty and their mainstream counterparts is continuing to become even wider. Many students are constantly subjected to inequality of educational opportunity, which limits their future opportunities. Second, Haberman is one of the most prolific producers of administrators of the twentieth century (and into the twenty-first century). He reminds us that quality school systems, with quality leaders, benefit our society. Haberman explained that there is often selection blindness when it comes to identifying school leaders, and this deficiency has many negative consequences for education in general, and learners in particular. Haberman has generated theories, training programs and tools to engender substantive changes needed to produce better schools. Each chapter in this volume contains reflection questions for discussion to remind us all why selecting quality principals must be paramount when hiring school leaders. These illustrative book chapters emphasize the execution of Haberman's star principal ideology.

Praise for Better Principals, Better Schools

“Not every educator is suited to leading – or teaching – in the most challenging urban schools. Yet, nowhere else is excellence in leading – and teaching -- more critical to the success of students. This volume based on the pioneering work of Martin Haberman offers a practical response to those who say the task of instructional leadership is beyond the capability of principals. The authors offer concrete examples of how successful urban school leaders find the time and capacity to inspire and manage learning under difficult conditions. Just as important, the authors ground their examples in a set of clear justifiable principles that can be used by others to guide their own practice.”
Dr. Philip Hallinger
Professor, Chulalongkorn University (Thailand)

“If great teaching and more of it are the key ingredients for any successful school, then great leadership is the critical path. Better Principals, Better Schools turns this theory into model lessons for all current and aspiring school leaders.”
Mike Feinberg
Co-founder KIPP Schools

Guest Foreword, Terry Grier, Superintendent, Houston Independent School District. Prologue: A Star Principal for Every School, Delia Stafford and Valerie Hill-Jackson. Principal Netzer and the Tale of Two Urban High Schools, Gus Jacob and Jennifer Waddell. No Principal Left Behind?: The Core Beliefs of Nine Urban Elementary Principals in a Midwest School District Implementing No Child Left Behind, Rodney E. Watson and Valerie Hill-Jackson. The Other Side of the Desk: The Beliefs and Behaviors of Star Principals at Turnaround Schools, Jim Robins. Staffing Urban Principals in an Era of Hyper-Reform: A Case from “The Port of Good Things”, Myra I. Whitney and Beverly E. Cross. The Case for Selecting Better Principals, Valerie Hill-Jackson and Delia Stafford.