May Reading Update [2019]

I feel like I barely read anything this month, but I do have a small list here to share. I think I needed to catch up on some TV and podcasts after vacation, and then I began taking Pilates classes, so my reading time was shortened. This month I read…

  • Naked Greed by Stuart Woods- Normally I dislike reading books in a series out of order, but since this book is around 30 of 50 with my favorite character Stone Barrington, reading it out of order wasn’t confusing for me. Each novel in this series stands alone as a fun mystery and the plot of Stone’s life moves slowly forward throughout the series. When I realized I had missed this one, I wanted to go back and read it, knowing a few life plot points might be out of order! This story ended up being very “pulpy” and full of more mob-like killings that a usual Stone mystery, but I still enjoyed it.
  • Nuance: Why Some Leaders Succeed and Others Fail by Michael Fullan – I always enjoy Fullan’s professional books, because they are full of research and his interactions in the field, mostly in Canada but also across the globe. I appreciated his ideas around joint determination, adaptability, and culture-based accountability. I wish the examples provided had been more practice and actionable, rather than big picture theory-based.
  • In Pieces by Sally Field [audiobook]- This was my first celebrity-read autobiography in awhile and I enjoyed it. I had no idea that Sally had such a complex and difficult childhood, nor how anxious she was throughout her career. I have enjoyed her as an actress in a variety of movies and shows, and I wish she had talked more about some of that work. The book focused a lot on her childhood, her complicated relationship with her mother, some of her relationships and her children, and a few key roles she’s played. The story focused more on her mental anguish as an actress and the relationships that hurt and shaped her.
  • Time for Change: 4 Essential Skills for Transformational School and District Leaders by Anthony Muhammad and Luis F. Cruz – I’ve enjoyed other professional books by Muhammad and I appreciated the way they took big ideas (how to create change in schools) and broke them down into 4 skills – the why, who, how, and the do of the work. I appreciated the scenarios they shared at the end of each chapter, and I believe these would be great conversation starters for a book study.
  • P3H: Pilots, Passengers, Prisoners, & Hijackers: An Educator’s Guide to Handling Difficult People While Moving Forward by Trish Hatch, PhD – A colleague who is a school counselors gave me this book. She knows and respects the author, who is well-known in the school counseling world. I appreciated the perspective she offered on the different types of people we encounter in school, and how to deal effectively with them. Looking back on my time as a principal, I can picture who the hijacker on my campus was, and I wish I had worked with that person differently. This is a quick and easy read, good for teacher/counselor leaders, those aspiring to become administrators, and new administrators learning the ropes.
  • Professional Learning Redefined: An Evidence-Based Guide by Isabel Sawyer and Marisa Ramirez Stukey – This professional book comes from Learning Forward, an organization I respect for their professional development materials and resources. The main ideas in this book are about how we redefine professional learning to take place where student learning takes place – in classrooms with teachers.  The authors go through learning structures such as PLCs, lesson study, learning walks, and 1:1 coaching, all of which I believe in and have participated in as a teacher, a coach, and an administrator. There was also a strong focus on protocols, which I also appreciate as a way to provide structure and support for adult learning. My only complaint was that most of the examples were elementary, with only 1-2 being relatable for secondary educators.

About Amy's Reflections

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in Southern CA, taking time to reflect on leadership and learning
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