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The Ethical Line

The Ethical Line
10 Leadership Strategies for Effective Decision Making

First Edition

Foreword by Douglas Fisher

August 2019 | 168 pages | Corwin

Be the leader your school community needs

The responsibilities of school leaders are increasingly complex. In this book, you will find a problem-solving model to help you think through morally complex situations. These steps will enable you to arrive at innovative solutions that are ethical, logical, culturally sensitive, and in the best interests of students. 

Packed with real-life vignettes, mental exercises, reflections, checklists, and other templates, these strategies will help you

  • Understand how ethical standards and core values drive your leadership choices
  • Approach problems through a lens of equity and care for the students entrusted to you
  • Recognize when urgent action is called for and when it’s better to slow down in order to thoroughly consider your actions and the potential consequences of those actions

As a leader, you face difficult challenges every day. This book will help ensure that the decisions you make are right for your students—and for the whole community.

Foreword by Douglas Fisher
About the Author
The Ethical Line

Temptations Lurk Everywhere

Tough Choices

How This Book Can Help

Features You Will Find

Chapter 1: Know Thyself
Strategy #1: Identify and Model Your Core Values

The New Normal

Your Ethical Line

Right vs. Right Situations

When Moral Compasses Falter

Strategy #2: Be Curiously Introspective

Find Kindred Spirits

Practice Self-Care

Express Gratitude

Build Resilience

Take a Cognitive Time-Out

Pause to Regroup

Calm Mental Chatter

Dare to Imagine

Chapter 2: Examine Your Community’s Values
Strategy #3: Listen Generously

Characteristics of Outstanding Listeners

Practice Empathy

Strategy #4: Create an Inclusive School Climate

Promote Emotional Well-Being

Engender Teamwork

Facilitate Collaborative Leadership

Recognize the Signs of an Unhealthy School Climate

Stimulate a Healthy School Climate

Foster Collective Efficacy

Strategy #5: Discover Your Community’s Hopes and Dreams

Explore Community Assets and Examine Your Leadership Privilege

Take the Pulse of Your Community Regularly

Empathic Interviewing

Strategy #6: Unify Around a Collective Vision

Which Values Guide Your Organization?

Making Sense of Norms and Codes of Conduct

Study Colleagues’ Behavior

Chapter 3: Adhere to Ethical and Legal Parameters
Professional Standards for Educational Leaders

Strategy #7: Consider Moral and Legal Consequences of Decisions

PSEL Standard 2: Ethics and Professional Norms

Lead With Moral Courage

A Framework for Making Ethical Decisions

The Seven Steps of Ethical Decision Making

Strategy #8: Ensure Equitable Processes and Outcomes

PSEL Standard 3: Advocate for All


Chapter 4: Promote an Ethical School Culture
Strategy #9: Walk the Talk

Be an Architect of Equity

Model Innovation and Empathy

Provide Clear Rationale for Decisions

Characteristics of Constructive Dialogue

Strategy #10: Become a Strategic Influencer

Defining Moments

Mental Preparation

Facilitate Win–Win Situations

Never Stop Learning and Growing

Implementation Steps


“Dr. Faddis has written an exemplar piece to support and guide school leaders in developing and utilizing an ethical lens when leading diverse schools. The Ethical Line illustrates the need for ethical leadership in a way that is conceivable and achievable, through the implementation of 10 key strategies. This is an essential read for all current and future PreK–12 leaders.”

Sarah Graham
California State University

An interesting text tackling ethical issues in education.

Dr Louise Campbell
School of Education & Social Work, Dundee University
March 27, 2020

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781544337883

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