6 Books to Add to Your Principal Tool Kit

It’s not easy to find time to read, reflect or grow with the million and one responsibilities on your plate, but finding the time to deepen your knowledge and sharpen your skills is vital. Check out these titles that focus on important leadership skills. One of them just might help you make it through the rest of the year. Grab some of your fellow principals and pick one for a book study.

1. Is My School Better BECAUSE I Lead It?

by Baruti K. Kafele

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This is an excellent question that every school leader should ask themselves. Self-reflection is important, but the reality is that with so many things on an administrator’s plate, there just isn’t time to reflect. In this self-reflection guide, Kafele offers those seeking to improve the quality of instruction some wisdom on issues such as ensuring appropriate culture and climate, engaging in parent and community outreach, rallying staff, confirming emergency preparedness, and more. This guide will help you transform your practice and meet goals that will indeed make your school better.

2. What They Don’t Tell You in Schools of Education about School Administration

by John A. Black, Ph.D and Fenwick W. English, Ph.D

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This book has been touted as a hard-hitting practical guide that offers sensible, practical tips for school administrators. It’s a no-nonsense, realistic look at life in the principal’s office. It’s often required reading for school administrators in training who need to learn “how to survive swimming with the sharks.”

3. What Great Principals Do Differently: Eighteen Things That Matter Most

by Todd Whitaker

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This inspiring best-seller offers practical wisdom and advice from the field. Inspire yourself and others with the second edition of this best-selling book. The author, Todd Whitaker, explains the qualities and practices that distinguish great principals.

4. Time For Change: Four Essential Skills for Transformational School and District Leaders

by Anthony Muhammad and Luis F. Cruz

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Change is hard, especially when you’re trying to change the direction or culture of a campus.  Time for Change: Four Essential Skills for Transformational School and District Leaders offers powerful, effective guidance for those who want to develop and strengthen leadership skills to drive change and overcome resistance to change from teachers, staff and community. This book contains tools and strategies that will prepare you to lead your school forward to lasting, meaningful, and strategic change.

5. Never Underestimate Your Teachers: Instructional Leadership for Excellence in Every Classroom

by Robyn R. Jackson

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In this practical guide for supporting and empowering teachers, Robyn R. Jackson asserts that “to move your school forward, you must move the people in it.” “If you want a master teacher in every classroom, you must commit to helping every teacher be a master teacher.” Never Underestimate Your Teachers will help you learn how to meet your teachers where they are and help them all, from the fresh out of college to the most seasoned teacher, to develop the mindset and habits of a master teacher. 

6. If You Don’t Feed the Teachers They Eat the Students!: Guide to Success for Administrators and Teachers

by Neila A. Connors and Jennifer Streams

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If You Don’t Feed the Teachers They Eat the Students is a lighthearted book that is packed with practical tips to improve school climate, communicate with parents and students, and, most importantly, how to show appreciation and support for teachers and staff. 

Grab a couple of these books now or add them to your summer reading list. You’ll be glad you did.


Teia Hoover Baker is an educator, published author, and entrepreneur. She is an innovative, devoted educator whose career has been dedicated to coordinating programs that support struggling learners. Her passion is meeting students where they are and guiding them to excel. Her main focus is always what is best for children. Teia holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s of Education. In her spare time, she enjoys being Lovie to her growing grandchildren.

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