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How School Leaders Can Create a Culture of Change

  • Kirsten Richert - Adjunct Faculty, School of Business, Montclair State University
  • Jeffrey Ikler - Director, Quetico Leadership Coaching and Consulting
  • Margaret Zacchei - Educational Leadership Coach, University of Connecticut

Foreword by Kimberly Davis

Additional resources:

June 2020 | 192 pages | Corwin

Establish a school change culture where desired outcomes are actually achieved

Change in schools is hard, but often essential. Internal and external factors require careful analysis before jumping into any change. Are you prepared to work with colleagues with confidence and clarity through such shifts?  

In Shifting, educators and leadership experts Jeff Ikler, Kirsten Richert, and Margaret Zacchei empower educational change leaders to proactively and coherently navigate complex change in schools to achieve the desired outcomes. Using a three-part framework—Assess, Ready, Change—this book leads educators to examine a school’s imperatives and readiness for change, identity the tools and abilities required to manifest change, and take action by defining the roles and processes necessary to effectively implement both sweeping change and smaller day-to-day adjustments. Change leaders learn to

·         Shift the emphasis in the change process from procedure to the people implementing change

·         Move from an environment of “command and control” to one of leaders creating other leaders

·         Reframe change as an essential shift in school culture rather than a series of episodic events

Rich with leadership insights, stories, podcasts, and hands-on activities, Shifting offers an integrated tapestry of wisdom and support for changemakers intent on meaningful collaboration in a positive, engaged workplace.  

Foreword by Kimberly Davis


Knowing when and how to launch a change initiative is often as challenging as knowing when and how to hop onto a swinging jump rope. The process can be quite daunting. Shifting provides easy-to-manage examples of how leadership must enact change with intentionality and build guideposts that staff can utilize when navigating the complex variables of who, what, when, and why in organizational transformation.  The authors lead the reader to understand that change is never simply a single initiative or series of events, rather it is a multifaceted process that involves shifting the mindset of the whole. The paradigm shift changes you from the inside out. Powerful...

Gayle Stinson, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools, Lake Dallas ISD, Past President, TASA

Shifting: How School Leaders Can Create a Culture of Change could be a breakthrough book on change management in education. The authors have done a masterful job of combining theory and practice for the reader. The special sauce is the quotes and stories of the practitioners throughout each chapter. The book comes alive to the point that it feels like you are in conversation and learning from the authors and the leaders that are sharing their knowledge. Every leader needs to read this book before they embark on change to choose the best strategies and to understand their role in the change process.

Lyle Kirtman
CEO, Future Management Systems, Author of Coherent School Leadership: Forging Clarity from Complexity with Michael Fullan

At last, a book on how to lead productive change that embodies the premise that educational leaders should model what we want to see in the classroom. We can trust Shifting: How School Leaders Can Create a Culture of Change because it is filled with case studies about working educators from a variety of backgrounds. Reflective prompts guide teachers and administrators to adapt these insights to their unique school settings. Shifting speaks with an authentic voice and delivers the strategies that help us consider the changes we want so as to develop the schools we need. 

Peter Pappas
Developer of the "Taxonomy of Reflection", University of Portland, School of Education

Books on change tend to be either slickly glib and useless, or hopelessly complex and useless. Shifting offers a path that weaves together theory and stories from the front line, models and a practical call to action. It's an essential primer for change, whether you work in education or not.

Michael Bungay Stanier
Author of WSJ bestseller The Coaching Habit

As someone who knows first-hand how challenging it is to lead and sustain long-term, transformational change, I am especially grateful for this book. The authors condense insights from decades of research and dozens of frontline change leaders to extend a supportive hand to every educator who wants and needs to lead change, but doesn’t don’t know where to begin. My advice to every educator: keep this book close. If you don’t have the answers now, this book gives you the right questions and invaluable “real world” gold nugget guidance – and that will be enough. 

April Armstrong
CEO, AHA Insight

A must-read for aspiring or current education practitioners, and highly recommended for leaders of organizations experiencing a culture of constant flux and change. In a time when “self” seems to eclipse “team,” the authors remind us that people are at the center of any effective change, and leaders who demonstrate integrity, vulnerability, intentionality and mindfulness are far more likely to achieve organizational outcomes that have a lasting impact on all children.

Lynne B. Pierson, Ed.D.
Former Connecticut Superintendent of Schools

We love Shifting because the authors are candid about what schools need to do to "shift" toward excellence. Too many change initiatives fail because of surface level actions and a focus on what we're doing instead of actually getting results. This book confronts that reality in an honest way, but also provides a call-to-action with exactly what leaders need to do next. The "Try This" sections are perfect--providing both a platform for reflection and the critical steps forward.

Joseph Jones & T.J. Vari
Authors of Candid and Compassionate Feedback: Transforming Everyday Practice in Schools

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ISBN: 9781544381398

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