Routledge Education is pleased to announce that Mary A. Hooper, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of West Georgia and Director of ULead West Georgia, and Victoria L. Bernhardt, Executive Director of the Education for the Future Initiative, are our May Authors of the Month! Their first book together, Creating Capacity for Learning and Equity in Schools, is available for preorder here.
What made you decide to write this book?
I first met Vickie when I invited her to facilitate a professional learning session designed to help our faculty strengthen our leadership candidate’s performance in leading data-informed continuous school improvement. From the moment we began working together, Vickie and I both realized that we shared a passion for supporting schools and the leaders responsible for moving learning and equity forward. We recognized the need for preparation programs to equip school leaders to link theory and practice in the context of sustaining inclusive learning communities, modeling cultural responsiveness, leading continuous school improvement, inspiring a purpose-driven shared vision, and cultivating a quality learning system. Our intention was to create a resource that would support aspiring leaders, current leaders, and leadership preparation providers in their efforts to ground preparation and development programs in the multiple modes of practice that focus on the technical aspect of instructional leadership, the human side of transformational leadership, and the systemic framework of adaptive leadership.
What is the one thing you hope readers take away from this book?
Leaders must have a clear and compelling sense of purpose for their schools that includes a focus on learning, continuous improvement, and equity. The focus on creating capacity for both learning and equity in schools provides a clear indication that addressing inequities in all facets of the school must be a priority for educational leaders. Leadership is pivotal in terms of the level of responsiveness that the school demonstrates in addressing inequities, and it is vital to intentionally address the role of leadership in the preparation and development of school leaders.
Is there something you think is important to highlight about this topic?
Preparing and developing school leaders with the capacity to create conditions conducive for learning and improvement is a challenge that local school districts must address to ensure equity and excellence in all schools. A performance-based leadership development program must include a coherent set of applied learning experiences designed to fully integrate existing efforts related to continuous school improvement.
What is a common misconception about this topic that you would like to clear up?
There is no question that school leaders have an immense challenge to engage others in improvement with a focus on closing achievement gaps. However, focusing on closing achievement gaps is not enough. School leaders must be equipped in leading all aspects of continuous school improvement to ensure that each student achieves success. This necessitates that school leaders have the capacity to function as leaders for equity and social justice and to intentionally develop this capacity in others.
Educational equity refers to an educational environment in which individuals can consider options and make choices based on their abilities and talents and not on the basis of stereotypes, biased expectations or discrimination. Equity relates to the actions and resources dedicated to ensure that the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged groups is shrinking, while at the same time improving performance for students in all groups. When linking equity and excellence, leaders ensure that students from varied racial, socioeconomic, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds are all learning at high levels of performance.
Mary A. Hooper, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of West Georgia and Director of ULead West Georgia, a research and development initiative focused on innovations in performance-based preparation and development of educational leaders. Dr. Hooper is actively engaged in partnership development with local school districts and other universities. These partnerships have focused on the design of competency models, leadership development programs, and performance assessment instruments.
Mary began her career in public education as a middle school teacher. She has more than two decades of leadership, leadership development, and consulting experience at building, district, and state levels. She also served as an elected school board member for eight years.
Dr. Hooper earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the University of Florida and her Ph.D. from Georgia State University.
Victoria L. Bernhardt, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Education for the Future Initiative, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to build the capacity of all learning organizations to gather, analyze, and use data to improve learning for all students. She is also a Professor (currently on leave) in the College of Communications and Education at California State University, Chico.
Dr. Bernhardt is passionate about her mission of enabling all educators to continuously improve student learning and educational leadership. She has made numerous presentations and conducted workshops throughout the United States and at international conferences.
Dr. Bernhardt earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Iowa State University and her Ph. D. from the University of Oregon.
Successful educational leaders develop people, processes, culture, and structures in their schools. Creating Capacity for Learning and Equity in Schools provides a comprehensive guide for aspiring and practicing leaders to strengthen their capacity to create high levels of learning and equity.…
Paperback – 2016-05-24
Through Creating Capacity for Learning and Equity in Schools, Mary Hooper and Victoria Bernhardt provide a pathway for educators to engage school communities by commitments to instructional, adaptive, and transformational leadership. The book guides aspiring and practicing leaders to strengthen their capacity for creating high levels of learning and equity. Chapters explore key theories and research, provide resources for developing personal and organizational leadership capacity, and guide leaders through a reflective process to help them link theory and practice. The practices defined by these three independent and interrelated modes of leadership enable educational leaders to create and sustain schools that support effective teaching, data-informed decision-making, and inclusive communities driven by a vision for learning and equity for all.