Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Green, Tena. Your First Year as a Principal: Everything You Need to Know that They Don’t Teach You in School.

Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc. 2009. 288p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 978-1-60138-220-7. $24.95.l

Here former substitute secretary, teacher’s aide, and intervention specialist Green, who also is a novelist (The Catalyst, A Woman’s Touch, X-30), provides first-year principals and some principals in their positions longer with a guide to surviving and making their first years as school leaders easier and more effective. Green attempts to present new school executives with all the information that they did not learn in school as well as with the advice of veteran principals. In Chapters 1-3, she lays a plan for new school administrators, discussing how they need to assess the situations in which they find themselves, analyze the gaps between where their schools are and where they should be, and move forward to initiate and effect changes. In Chapter 4, Green briefly covers laws and litigation affecting the administration of schools, including the No Child Left Behind Act (2007), the Individuals with Disabilities Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. She includes a section on politics in education and the influence of various entities such as legislatures, special interest groups, tax payers, the media, superintendents, teachers unions, parents, private enterprises, and more. Chapters 5, 6, and 7 encompass various topics not limited to the responsibilities of principals-- dealing with teachers, parents, students, and the media—closing the gap, and end results. Chapter 8, the longest chapter, organized in a question- and- answer format, enables Green to set forth the advice of veteran principals in response to her questions on many subjects. Not a how- to- or step- by- step manual, this book provides new school leaders with the general overview and preliminary guidelines that they need to get their jobs done and be successful. It also presents some great advice from experienced school leaders. Well- researched and concisely written by a non-educator who has worked in schools in a variety of roles, this publication will serve as a useful companion to providing valuable insight and peace-of-mind. New principals should read it from cover-to-cover and learn as much as they can from it. While some new school administrators may wish to keep a copy of this publication on or close to their desks, the format and content of this book may make it slightly unwieldy as a reference tool or handbook. Recommended for first- year principals as well as for school and public library book collections-C. A. Lajos