School Leadership: A Reality Check is a guide to successfully managing a leadership role in the eduation system. This book is born out of research investigating what constitutes failures of leadership through a qualitative study of school leaders and quantitative analysis. Pam Ryan has crafted a reassuring and practical method, providing accurate guidance and elaborating on the dimensions of leadership for everyone contemplating an educational leadership role - or already in one. Ultimately, it helps readers reach their own conculsions about what it means to understand and exercise leadership.
Pam has addressed the absence of a publication that can assist leaders and leader aspirants to reflect on the qualities that educators require in order to be effective. There are many books on leadership but none that I am aware of that have been written in such a friendly way by a person who has spent her whole life being an effective educational leader in such a range of settings. Educational leadership is complex and challenging- and does not always go right. To have a handbook such as this proposal to inform, guide and support leaders as they seek to improve the educational needs of their students while at the same time acting with regard to the eco system, or big picture, in doing so, is invaluable. It is also topical- with a move towards agentic schools, growth mindset and the power of vulnerability, the idea of generative leadership supports and extends these contemporary educational/leadership concepts. The book initially sets out the rationale of the contents and then logically and fully unpicks each critical aspect of those contents. The Call to Action, Game Changing and Reflective Prompts all offer a practical, thoughtful structure in which to reflect and apply the contents to a leader’s particular context and situation. This is a book that leaders will go back to time and time again as different situations occur.