The Influential School Leader
Inspiring Teachers, Students, and Families Through Social and Organizational Psychology
The Influential School Leader is a unique, accessible guide for any leader seeking to improve their vision and positively influence school communities in the face of adversity. A successful school today requires a nimble learning environment that is supportive, welcoming, and inspiring for teachers, students, and families. Based on numerous contributions from social and organizational psychology, this book provides a dynamic framework that prepares education stakeholders to examine problems from multiple perspectives and dimensions to create durable solutions. An ideal resource for principals, superintendents, department heads, school psychologists, and other educators in positions of leadership, this expansive toolkit is packed with pragmatic strategies and relatable vignettes.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Improving Your Vision 1. Four Distinct Perspectives 2. Seeing the System in 3D Part 2: Conditions for Change 3. Balancing Psychological Safety with Accountability 4. Strengthening Belonging 5. Engaging in Open and Honest Communication 6. Encouraging Experimentation Part 3: Applying the Framework 7. A Leadership Guide—Moving from Theory to Practice 8. Preparing for Change 9. Case Study 1: Student Placement 10. Case Study 2: Covid-19, Returning to School
Craig Murphy is an Associate Professor of School Psychology at William James College, USA. Dr. Murphy also serves as a consultant to numerous school districts in his roles as Clinical Director at Bi-County Collaborative in Walpole, MA, and Executive Director of the Family and Educational Wellness Center in Franklin, MA. He is a nationally certified school psychologist and licensed educational psychologist.
John D’Auria is a core faculty member of the Organizational and Leadership Psychology Department and Director of the Educational Leadership Concentration at William James College, USA. A former math teacher, principal, and superintendent, Dr. D’Auria currently works as a consultant at Teachers21, where he previously served as President.
"As a superintendent, I found The Influential School Leader to be helpful and timely in this ever-changing, pandemic-driven atmosphere. The research and strategies provide not only support and guidance but also the opportunity to help you stop, think and reflect as you collaborate with teachers, principals, board of education members and parents when addressing difficult decisions."
—Justin B. Henry, School Administrator (April 2022), American Association of School Administrators
“This important book is a compelling guide to leading schools in our tumultuous times. The authors’ sophisticated use of psychological and organizational research gives rise to a practical and compelling framework for making progress on the enormous challenges that lie ahead in the educational sector. As a bonus, the book’s elegant, engaging prose makes it a pleasure to read.”
—Amy C. Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School, USA, and author of The Fearless Organization
“In The Influential School Leader, traditional ‘change theory’ meets social emotional leadership, and the result will inspire and empower leaders to understand their responsibilities and challenges through the human resource lens of people and their perspectives. Principals, superintendents, and other administrators will develop new skills that validate feelings, value communication, and enable constant improvement in sustaining conditions for change at a systems level. I strongly suggest that this book become a foundational resource for current school and district leaders and their teams, as well as required reading for aspiring leaders in education programs across our nation. I wish I had read it earlier in my career!”
—Dr. Mary M. Bourque, Director Government Affairs at the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, former Superintendent of Chelsea Public Schools in Chelsea, MA, and 2017 Massachusetts Superintendent of the Year
“Drs. Murphy and D’Auria brilliantly make the invisible visible through this framework, using real examples of problems and an approach that leads to solutions. They address the hard work done in schools and how to transform the culture so that all stakeholders (leaders, teachers, students, and parents) can take risks and bring about much-needed change.”
—Arlene Grubert, Executive Director of Bi-County Collaborative, USA
“In this book, the authors call upon evidence from social psychology and industrial-organizational psychology to help principals and superintendents become efficient, effective, and caring school leaders. In addition to their clear expositions of underlying psychological principles, the authors provide relatable examples and interesting case studies that bring the psychology to life. The Influential School Leader is a useful tool for school leaders in training as well as those who are already leading in the field.”
—Frank C. Worrell, Professor of School Psychology in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, USA
“Leadership positions in school systems are among the most difficult. Powerful constituencies must be authentically engaged that typically have disparate desires and agendas. As change often comes without a plan for implementation, the leader’s sensitivity to the feelings, attitudes, and beliefs of stakeholders is key to success. Drs. Murphy and D’Auria combine their extensive experience in schools with their knowledge of social and organizational psychology to create a framework that will be an indispensable guide for educational leaders at all levels.”
—Nicholas Covino, President of William James College, USA