Becoming a School Principal

Becoming a School Principal Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn

Sarah E. Fiarman, Foreword by Richard F. Elmore
paper, 248 Pages
Pub. Date: October 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-846-7
Price: $32.00

Add to Cart

Pub. Date: October 2015
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-848-1

Add to Cart

Request an Examination Copy

The principal’s role is increasingly understood as a critical lever for school improvement. Yet the job can be a solitary one, offering few opportunities to reflect with colleagues. What does it take to manage the work of continuous improvement—to push staff members constantly to operate outside their comfort zones? What dilemmas and challenges must principals confront? How can school leaders learn from their mistakes and move forward?


In education we speak a lot about making the implicit explicit. Sarah Fiarman provides a useful road map for creating a community of learners (both students and staff) aimed at positive growth for all. — Thabiti Brown, principal, Codman Academy Charter Public School, Massachusetts

Becoming a School Principal is an essential resource not only for new principals but for principals moving to new schools—especially urban schools with racial mixes and achievement challenges. Sarah Fiarman skillfully reflects on her struggles and missteps and specifies the strategies that she adopts to lead her staff into a learning-focused culture that impacts student results. — Alexander D. Platt, lead author, Skillful Leader Series

Sarah's sharp insights both validate my efforts and challenge me to be better – to continue seeking an elusive balance between the humanity, humility, accountability, and urgency required of school leaders today. — Emily Glasgow, K–8 principal, Portland Public Schools, Oregon

Sarah writes as she speaks—with compassion, insight, and wisdom. The book is a learning experience for any principal, no matter how experienced. — Jon Saphier, founder, Research for Better Teaching

Becoming a School Principal represents a powerful vision of professionalism for school principals. — Elizabeth Zumpe & Heinrich Mintrop, Teachers College Record

More Less

About the Author

Sarah E. Fiarman is a Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she teaches instructional leadership for elementary, middle school, and high school principals. She is a former public school teacher and principal. Across her work, she is committed to building powerful learning communities through developing teacher leadership, examining teaching and learning in a collaborative context, and surfacing and addressing unconscious racial biases. Her coursework, consulting, and writing focus on increasing educational equity for all children, particularly children of color and other historically underserved student groups.

While serving as a public school teacher, Sarah was a National Board Certified Teacher, Responsive Classroom Consulting Teacher, and facilitator with Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity. As a principal, she was awarded a Lynch Leadership Academy Fellowship, and in 2013, the Boston Globe rated her school the “#1 Dream School in Massachusetts.”

Sarah has consulted on improving instruction at the classroom, school, and district level. She is a coauthor of Instructional Rounds in Education: A Network Approach to Improving Teaching and Learning with Elizabeth A. City, Richard F. Elmore, and Lee Teitel. Sarah is also contributing author to Data Wise in Action: Stories of Schools Using Data to Improve Teaching and Learning, edited by Kathryn Parker Boudett and Jennifer Steele (Harvard Education Press, 2007), and Data Wise: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Assessment Results to Improve Teaching and Learning, edited by Kathryn Parker Boudett, Elizabeth A. City, and Richard J. Murnane (Harvard Education Press, 2005). She received her EdD from Harvard Graduate School of Education in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Richard F. Elmore

Author Interview: EdCast

Author Interview with The Principal Center

E-book available through online booksellers

Other books in School Leadership

The College President Handbook

Edited by James Soto Antony, Ana Mari Cauce, Lynn M. Gangone, and Tara P. Nicola, Foreword by Mark D. Gearan

Other books in School Leadership

Stuck Improving

Decoteau J. Irby

Other books in School Leadership

Supervising Principals for Instructional Leadership

Meredith I. Honig and Lydia R. Rainey