Two Books for School Leaders Who are Leading During Disruptive and Turbulent Times

by | Aug 19, 2021 | 0 comments

5 min read

Don’t miss this vblog on YouTube or catch our Read This segment of our One Thing Series podcast–books you need to read to lead better and grow faster.

Featured Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin

Featured Books: Leadership: In Turbulent Times


Why We Love This Book for School Leaders

We love this book for school leaders, especially now, because Kearns draws on the skills and attributes of four American presidents–Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson–who encountered times of confusion, fear, despair, and hope. Leadership: In Turbulent Times is destined to be a classic. 

Here are just a few reasons to pick it up: 

The author points out the specific traits that make for a successful leader in any organization. For example, we learn that not only was Lincoln ambitious–running for the office of the presidency at age 23–he had “the motivation and willpower to develop every talent he possessed to the fullest.” This is something that school leaders can emulate and model to develop a learning culture for themselves and others. 

Reflection Question: What learning experiences do you have lined up for this year that will help to develop your talents to the fullest?

The last four chapters are a ton of fun, including transformational leadership, crisis management, turnaround leadership, and visionary leadership. It’s almost like this book was written exclusively for school leaders, although it’s universal to any organization. 

Reflection Question: How will you communicate your vision for change in your school this year? 

Lastly, this is an incredible book to lead a book study on with other educational leaders. Kearns Goodwin is remarkable about describing each leader’s journey. As we move into our second school year filled with uncertainty and doubt, having candid leadership conversations that go beyond procedures and processes, and into the heart of tough decision-making, can prove to be invaluable. 

Reflection Question: How will you support others this year along their leadership journey?

Becoming a Better School Leader During a Disruptive Time in Education

Another book that we recommend in this ReadThisSeries episode is Leading Schools in Disruptive Times: How to Survive Hyper-Change by Mark White and Dwight Carter. We appreciate this book because it redefines certain aspects of school leadership for those who are experiencing overload and demands beyond control. The authors have a CAT strategy–coping, adjusting, and transforming–strategy that they embed within the conversation about school safety. Safety is no longer just about the physical aspects of school violence but also the psychological safety that students need to be effective learners. This point and many others make the book an important read for all school leaders. Let us know what you think, and don’t miss our podcast episode with Dwight Carter

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at

 We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 Joe & T.J.

PS — If you have a topic you want us to cover or need recommendations on books to read in a particular area of leadership, just send us a tweet or an email. 

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