1st Edition

Leadership for Green Schools Sustainability for Our Children, Our Communities, and Our Planet

By Lisa A. W. Kensler, Cynthia Uline Copyright 2017
    246 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    246 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Leadership for Green Schools provides aspiring and practicing leaders with the tools they need to facilitate the design, leadership, and management of greener, more sustainable schools. Framed by theory and research, this text draws from the fields of sustainability science, built learning environment, and educational leadership to explain what green schools look like, what role school buildings play in advancing sustainable organizational and instructional practices, and why school leaders are "greening" their leadership. Sustainability can often seem like an unreachable, utopian set of goals, but this important resource uses illustrative examples of successful schools and leaders to show how establishing and managing green schools aligns with the work they are already doing to restore engaged learning within their schools and communities. Leadership for Green Schools is a unique and important resource to help leaders reduce the environmental impact of school buildings and immerse students in purposeful, meaningful learning for a sustainable, just future.

    Special Features:

    • Examples from award-winning schools and leaders—best-practices and illustrative examples throughout make whole school sustainability come to life and show how green leadership is a real possibility for the reader.
    • Aligned with Professional Standards for Educational Leadership—provides the tools necessary for leaders to advance sustainability goals while at the same time fulfilling the core purposes of their job.
    • End-of-chapter discussion questions—valuable pedagogical tools invite personal reflection and conversation.



    CHAPTER 1: Introduction - Leading Schools with a Green Frame of Mind

    PART I: The DNA of Whole School Sustainability

    CHAPTER 2: In the Best Interests of Children

    CHAPTER 3: Design Principles for Whole School Sustainability

    CHAPTER 4: Greening Your School’s Vision

    PART II: Healthy Ecosystems for Learning

    CHAPTER 5: Place, Community, and Partnerships

    CHAPTER 6: Green School Buildings as Dynamic Learning Environments

    CHAPTER 7: Operations and Maintenance for Whole School Sustainability

    PART III: Meaningful, Purposeful, Engaged Learning

    CHAPTER 8: For the Love of Learning

    CHAPTER 9: Innovative Teaching in Green Schools

    CHAPTER 10: Green School Networks, Recognition Programs, and Resources Tania McKey



    Lisa A. W. Kensler is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Auburn University. She received her EdD in Educational Leadership from Lehigh University in 2008 and a Master’s degree in biology from Old Dominion University in 1996. Prior to returning to her childhood stomping grounds in Pennsylvania to earn her doctorate, Lisa spent a decade serving as a secondary science teacher and teacher leader in Norfolk, VA, Annapolis, MD, and St. Louis, MO. She taught in public schools and an independent school. In all cases, she worked to create the sort of classrooms students would choose to attend, even if their attendance was not required. She empowered students to lead in the classroom and beyond. She and her students were active in Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots program, designing and leading initiatives for making the world a better place. Prior to her work as an educator, Lisa was an ecologist. Early in her career she worked for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service studying coral reefs, Chesapeake Bay, and the Great Lakes.

    Lisa’s research is grounded in her lifelong love of nature and her experience as an ecologist and educator. She uses her understanding of living systems to inform her research related to green schools and the leadership and learning required for transforming schools into more socially just, ecologically healthy, and economically viable communities. She has published articles and book chapters on democratic community, trust, systems thinking, and sustainability. She also integrates sustainability into the educational leadership courses that she teaches. Lisa was the 2013 winner of the Emily & Gerald Leischuck Graduate Teaching Award, an award that recognizes "faculty members who have consistently shown evidence of superior teaching excellence. These individuals have gone above and beyond the call of duty by engaging their students in the classroom and instilling a love for life-long learning."

    Cynthia L. Uline is a Professor Emeritus of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University. Cynthia received her PhD in Educational Administration from the Pennsylvania State University in 1995 and a Masters degree in Special Education from Syracuse University in 1979. Cynthia previously served on faculty at the Ohio State University, where she was an assistant and associate professor of Educational Administration from 1995 to 2005. Cynthia also served as a classroom teacher, teacher leader, state education agency administrator, and an educational consultant working with school districts, community agencies, city governments, state agencies, and governors’ offices, always seeking to facilitate meaningful partnerships on behalf of students and their families. Cynthia currently directs SDSU’s National Center for the 21st Century Schoolhouse http://go.sdsu.edu/education/schoolhouse/ The Center supports the planning and design of learner-centered schools through communication, research, and training. Over seven years, the Center delivered a fully online advanced certificate program in educational facility planning, with students representing 34 states and 5 countries. Developed in partnership with the Association for Learning Environments (formerly CEFPI), the Advanced Academy for Learning Spaces continues to provide training in the key knowledge and skills central to the design, construction, and maintenance of learner-centered school facilities.

    Cynthia’s research explores the influence of built learning environments on students’ learning, as well as the roles leaders, teachers, and the public play in shaping these learning spaces.  Her current research considers the potential of green schools as student-centered, ecologically responsive, and economically viable places for learning. She has published articles related to leadership for learning, leadership preparation, and the improvement of social and physical learning environments in journals such as Educational Administration Quarterly, Teacher College Record, Journal of Educational Administration, Journal of School Leadership, International Journal of Leadership in Education, Leading and Managing, Journal of Research and Development in Education, Educational Leadership, and Educational Technology. This is Cynthia’s third co-authored book.


    An unparalleled contribution to school leadership. Hugely significant, perfectly timed, and wonderfully accessible.

    Joseph Murphy, Frank W. Mayborn Chair of Education and Associate Dean, Peabody College of Education, Vanderbilt University

    If Leadership for Green Schools was required reading for every school administrator and pre-service teacher, education as we know it would be transformed. Kensler and Uline make a tremendously compelling case for why green schools are indistinguishable from a 21st century education. What a tremendous contribution to our growing movement to ensure every student can learn in a school that is healthy, safe and inspiring. 

    Rachel Gutter, Senior Vice President of Knowledge, U.S. Green Building Council and Director, Center for Green Schools.

    The green, healthy, sustainable schools movement is perhaps the most important educational initiative of our time.  Leadership for Green Schools does a magnificent job of conveying not just the importance of this movement but the significant role school leaders play in shaping the vision, purpose, shared leadership, and vibrant learning environments for teachers as they prepare young people for an uncertain future. 

    Jennifer Seydel, Executive Director, Green Schools National Network