Paul Bambrick-Santoyo is managing director of the high performing North Star Academies in the US and an instructional leader to be admired. He is also the author of Leverage Leadership, a practical, hands on guide to leading school improvement, which demonstrates clearly and decisively the actions school leaders should be taking to improve their schools.
With a foreword by Doug Lemov of Uncommon Schools and Teach like a Champion fame, Leverage Leadership is a remarkable demonstration of the possibilities of school leadership. Bambrick-Santoyo presents a step by step guide to how he implements his own 7 highly successful leadership strategies, that leverage successful student outcomes. The seven levers Bambrick-Santoyo advocates are Data Driven Instruction, Observation and Feedback, Planning, Professional Development, Student Culture, Staff Culture and Managing School Leadership teams. Each of these levers is supported by a range of explanations, step by step guides and implementation experiences.
What Bambrick-Santoyo demonstrates are leadership actions which present a relentless approach to what matters most, and that of course is student learning. By leading teacher planning and evaluation and focusing on professional learning and improving instruction, leaders can be far more effective. These actions are what teacher leaders and principals should be spending their time on, as opposed to the meetings and administrivia which often rule our lives.
Bambrick-Santoyo presents his own daily and weekly calendars as evidence that his relentless approach to instructional leadership is possible – if not a little exhausting. And this is one of Bambrick-Santoyo’s main points. As obvious as it sounds, as an educational leader, you have to prioritise your priorities! Too often as a leader we get caught up in scheduling nightmares which keep us busy and in a flurried state, but that don’t provide a benefit to teachers or students. But by prioritising your time to be spent with teachers and students in classrooms the payoff can be huge.
The book is detailed and easy to read and reference. As a bonus, it is supported by a DVD of supporting materials, including professional development resources, documents, presentations and videos. Pretty handy to help you implement the 7 practices.
An excellent, thought and action provoking read which makes a handy companion for planning and implementing change, or a revolutionary guidebook depending on your needs.
Further Reading: Similar Books → “Teach Like a Champion”