Fifth, I take great pride that even as the walls of my classroom have expanded to include the children of a whole

school district, my philosophy as an educator has not changed. I believe it is a time when we should - and must - question our most fundamental assumptions, affirm central truths, set out in new directions, and demonstrate leadership. I understand that effective teaching, and effective schools, is all about leadership. Leaders take the initiative. Instead of reacting, they are inspired to act by possibilities, dreams, and visions. Although, as I've said, I want to share some ideas about leadership and explain what motivates me, most of all in this book, I want to affirm the importance of schools as agents of hope, dreams, and inspiration. In the context of our schools, leaders must continue to build the foundations of a renewed education system - and they must begin by inspiring hope. Hope is what drives improvement. And improving schools and, ultimately, our students' performance is what we are all hoping for. Schools are the only institution that exists to inspire and empower our young people. Their power to make a difference is enormous. As I look back on my career in education and think about leadership, I am reminded of the story of two buddies, Bob and Sam, the most passionate base.t,hd Sam discussed baseball ball fans in Canada. Their entire adult lives, Bob 1 history in the winter and pored over every box score during the spring and summer season. They attended 60 games a year. They even agreed that whoever died first would have to come back and tell the other ifbaseball was played in heaven. One summer night, Bob passed away in his sleep after watching a Blue Jays' victory earlier in the evening. He died peacefully and happy. A few nights later, his buddy Sam awoke to the sound of Bob's voice from beyond. "Bob, is that you?" Sam asked. "Of course, it's me," Bob replied. 'This is unbelievable!" Sam exclaimed. "So, tell me, is there baseball in heaven?" "Well, I have some good news and some bad news for you. Which do you want first?" "Tell me the good news first." "Well, the good news is that yes ... there is baseball in heaven, Sam." "Oh, that is wonderful! So what could possibly be the bad news?" "Well ... you're pitching tomorrow night." All joking aside, education leaders are somewhat like Bob and Sam. They are as committed to learning as Bob and Sam are to baseball, and, like them, they know what works and what doesn't in their area of passionate interest. A significant difference between them is that education leaders are participants, not spectators. And they "pitch" not just in heaven, but right here and now. They are a major part of what makes the education system work. This book is for them.


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