2nd Edition

Introduction to the Principalship Theory to Practice

By Leslie S. Kaplan, William A. Owings Copyright 2024
    374 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    374 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The second edition of this textbook from respected author team Kaplan and Owings explores how principals can effectively build a culture around student achievement. Introduction to the Principalship, a second edition closely aligned with NELP (2018) standards, helps aspiring principals understand how to develop a vision for improvement, make decisions and manage conflict, build teachers’ capacity, communicate, monitor the organization’s performance, and create a school climate of mutual respect. This important book provides readers with various leadership concepts to inform their practice, as well as the cognitive and practical tools to evaluate and prioritize what leadership actions to take. Each chapter offers opportunities for readers to create personal meaning and explore new ways of doing leadership to advance a positive, person-focused environment. Providing both the theoretical framework and skills for effective practice, Introduction to the Principalship addresses the issues most urgent and relevant for educational leadership graduate students learning how to build a school culture that promotes every student’s success.

    Fully revised, this second edition includes a new chapter on building your capacity for leadership, expanded discussion of data-informed accountability, equity considerations, and crisis management, and all chapters updated and revised throughout to reflect the latest developments in the field.

    Special Features:

    • Learning Objectives - chapter openers introduce the topic and initiate student thinking
    • Reflections and Relevance - interactive exercises, role plays, class activities, and assignments that can be used synchronously and asynchronously to deepen and extend student learning
    • Key Takeaways - organized by learning objective, these answer readers’ question, "What about this information is meaningful for me as an aspiring principal?"
    • Suggested Readings - each chapter concludes with annotated suggested readings to extend and deepen discussion of key issues in chapter
    • NELP Standards - each chapter is aligned to the latest school leadership licensure standards
    • Companion Website - includes links to supplemental material, additional readings, video clips with related teaching and learning activities, and PowerPoints for instructors.

    About the Authors



    Chapter 1: Leading an Organization

    Chapter 2: Principal Leadership for a Student-Centered Learning Environment

    Chapter 3: Developing Your Philosophies of Education and School Leadership

    Chapter 4: Understanding and Leveraging Your School Culture

    Chapter 5: Initiating and Sustaining Change

    Chapter 6: Building Ethical Behaviors and Relational Trust

    Chapter 7: Building Teacher Capacity

    Chapter 8: Conflict Management, Decision Making, and Problem Solving

    Chapter 9: Enacting Data-Informed Accountability

    Chapter 10: Building Your Capacity for the Principalship


    Leslie S. Kaplan is a retired school administrator, a full-time education writer, and Adjunct Professor of Educational Leadership at Old Dominion University, USA.

    William A. Owings is Professor of Educational Leadership at Old Dominion University, USA.

    “There are lots of books about the school principalship but none that takes the reader systematically from the pre-beginning, through continuous learning, to legacy. Kaplan and Owings have produced a second edition that is a complete modern bible for anyone in or interested in the principalship. We learn about leadership itself, and key aspects: philosophy, culture, initiating, ethics, teacher capacity, conflict, data use, building capacity—all guided by standards, and action ideas essential to build, apply, and monitor the key standards, and their impact. I highly recommend this complete reference book for ethical action-oriented school leaders.”

    Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus, OISE/University of Toronto, is the Global Leadership Director, New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL) and a worldwide authority on educational reform


    “Kaplan and Owings provide an exceptionally enriched analysis of school leadership, offering robust thinking about student learning and school improvement. They highlight lessons rarely discussed in readings about school: while information and knowledge are essential elements of leading, they are often insufficient. Embedded in the scholarship here is the simple most essential understanding of quality schooling: masses of resources without genuine care for students routinely fail to successfully educate children and youth.”

    Joe Murphy, Professor Emeritus of Education, Vanderbilt University


    “In this vitally important work, veteran leaders and aspiring principals will find not only practical advice for the daily work of establishing but also keen insights about the deeper work of leadership. Administration and discipline often require the attention of school leaders. But Leslie Kaplan and Bill Owings bring extensive research and their half a century of leadership experiences to demonstrate that the most vital work of leadership is building and maintaining a culture that shapes the work of every staff member and creates a safe and challenging learning environment for every student. This is a book not merely to be read, but to be studied. There is no sugar-coating in these pages. Leadership is extremely hard and complex work. But Kaplan and Owings conclude, it is deeply rewarding and offers the reader opportunities to make a greater impact on generations of students and teachers.”

    Douglas B. Reeves, author of Fearless Schools: Building Trust and Resilience for Leader, Teaching, and Learning