Carol Mullen contends that in today's education climate there exists an urgent call for university faculty to take responsibility for reforming university preparation programs. She uncovers vital information about the needs of the nation's schools that can be reflected in program content and policy reform. Otherwise, the least effective of these programs could be eliminated, as has already occurred in some states. This book should help principal preparation programs that are behind the times to move forward. Such programs can thus be expected to be aligned not only with the expectations of universities, policymaking bodies, and the public, but also with school districts and practicing school leaders. Schoolteachers who aspire to school leadership will also benefit from this book, as Mullen speaks to them directly through the idea of peer administration groups. School practitioners who carry mentoring and evaluative responsibilities will also profit from learning about new school leaders' experiences of socialization, adjustment, and survival, as well as their conceptualizations of what matters for school leaders to know about the job itself.
This book is a powerful expedition into the early career socialization of school leaders, told by those who are making the trek, along with their teacher, and co-learner, Carol Mullen. Dr. Mullen uses metaphor to explore the experiences and juxtaposes the voices of these school leaders with her own voice and that of other researchers. Her ability to weave these elements together brings the reader along as a fellow traveler. The text is not only a practical guide for novice leaders and educational leadership professors, it is also an excellent resource for the theoretician and researcher. It is informative, exciting, and enjoyable-a "must read" for anyone interested in the field of educational leadership. -- Frances K. Kochan, UCEA president, 2002-2003 and interim dean and professor of Educational Leadership, Auburn University, Alabama
Dr. Mullen thoroughly examines an educational policy issue that should be among the foremost priorities of school districts nationwide-the recruitment, development, and retention of career administrators. Scholarship alone will not suffice. Leadership skills must be developed, and a commitment to public service fostered, as part of a process of continuous improvement that prepares career administrators for the challenges of today and tomorrow. To paraphrase George Mallory, present and future educational leaders should read this book because it deals with educational leadership issues at the most effective level, the school, and is based upon research that involves those that are practitioners in the field. -- Earl Lennard, superintendent, School District of Hillsborough County, Tampa, Florida
The book is peppered with personal anecdotes that break down the walls confining the 'neutral' observer. * Reference and Research Book News *
The reader is asked to break new ground by letting himself/herself get into the metaphorical trekking mindset, moving from the customary passive participant to an interactive fellow hiker. We encounter Sherpa guides, hiking trails, base camps, climbing scaffolds, using a compass, and backpacking tips-all linked to the initial experiences of early administrators coping with their sometimes overwhelming new responsibilities. Indeed, it must look like a huge mountain at times for the beginning school leader for whom the images of summit climbing will be cogent and real. So get ready to do your own intellectual backpacking. Dr. Mullen's cognitive trails, reflections, ruminations, and celebrations leave one with a view from the top that is intense as well as interactive and breathtaking. Well worth the climb! -- Fenwick W. English, R. Wendell Eaves Sr. Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill