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Insights into Action: Successful School Leaders Share What Works

William Sterrett

Reviews  |  About the Author  |  Comments

About This Book

Do you ever wonder whether researchers and professional developers really know what it's like to be a school leader? Do you sometimes struggle to connect articles and conference presentations with the challenges you face day to day?

For award-winning educator William Sterrett, the answer to those questions was a resounding yes. So he made it his mission to identify the most important issues facing today’s school leaders and offer practical, effective strategies for success. Drawing on his own experience as a teacher and principal and on interviews with nine distinguished practitioners—including Carol Ann Tomlinson, Richard DuFour, Baruti Kafele, and James Popham—Sterrett merges current research and theory with lessons from successful educators who have truly "been there, done that."

Each chapter of Insights into Action carefully examines a particular topic of relevance, translating research and experience into replicable, sustainable practices and offering ways to overcome barriers to success. You’ll learn

  • How to be a more effective leader, including ways to turn your school vision into reality, become a learning leader, make professional development more meaningful, and achieve the elusive work-life balance; 
  • How to strengthen your learning community by differentiating instruction and leadership, fostering a positive school climate, and incorporating learning experiences outside the classroom; and 
  • How to face the challenges of today, including ways to infuse technology into your school community, gather and apply useful data, and turn crises both big and small into success for all.

Each chapter includes Action Items and In-the-Field Activities to extend the discussion, help you apply the book’s insights and strategies, and enable you to realize actual growth in your school.

In a job filled with constant stressors and challenges, it’s important to have a solid, well-grounded perspective. Insights into Action offers both practical lessons and inspiration to handle whatever comes your way.

See the book's table of contents and read excerpts.

Insights into Action: Successful School Leaders Share What Works

Book Details

Table of Contents

Study Guide

Product No: 


December 2011 

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Reviews and Testimonials

"I highly recommend chapter 7, 'Turning Technology Into Engaged Learning,' featuring the work of Pam Moran, superintendent of schools in Albemarle County, Va…It is so inspiring to learn more about Moran’s work and how she exemplifies the essential elements all school leaders should today possess… . Sterrett describes how Moran has led the way in transforming her district into a dynamic environment focused on learning, providing ample evidence that leadership is key in remaking learning organizations for the 21st century."

Lyn Hilt, K–6 school public school principal, Lancaster County, Pa.

"Bill Sterrett constructs a series of eminently readable chapters that satisfy thinkers, pragmatists, and those of us in-between. Leaders, be they aspiring, novice, or veteran, will all find valuable tricks, tips, and theories to spur innovation and improve efficiency, while cultivating a culture of learning in the process."

Jason Flom, grade 5 teacher, Tallahassee, Fla.

"I consider Bill Sterrett’s book to be a must-read not only for current school leaders, but aspiring school leaders as well. It should be a required text for every grad school educational leadership program in the U.S.  As a veteran principal of 14 years, I learned a great deal from the information shared in this valuable book."

Baruti Kafele, former principal and author of Motivating Black Males
to Achieve in School and in Life, Newark, N.J.

"Dr. Sterrett has designed a meaningful resource for instructional leaders that provides some great reminders and tangible ideas for how to lead our teachers through the challenges in education today."

Raegan Rangel, Milken National Educator 2003
Assistant Principal, Winchester, Va.

"A great book for all levels of administrators…the insights I gained from this book are priceless. I keep [it] on my desk and refer to it weekly."

Dr. Jay L. Jones, principal, Walkertown, N.C. 

"Great teachers can make great classrooms, but only a great principal can make a great school.  Bill Sterrett's analysis of the work of model administrators leads his reader straight to that conclusion: The stars it examines collectively serve as a de-facto register for best practice in school leadership and vision.  Anyone interested in principalship may rely on this work as required reading and should plan regular revisits to it for effective ideas, creative advice, and old-fashioned inspiration."

Wade Whitehead, Milken National
Educator 2000, school teacher, Virginia

"This wonderful book is a breath of fresh aira lifeline that inspires educators to continue this important journey. Sterrett invites all school leaders to connect and share experiences, and to do what we, as educators, already know we must do."

Kathryn Singh, Kappa Delta Pi Record, 48(2), May 2012;
reprinted by permission of the publisher (Taylor & Francis Ltd,


About the Author

William SterrettWILLIAM STERRETT serves on the faculty of the Watson School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. A former principal and teacher, Sterrett earned his B.S. at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, and his Ph.D. at the University of Virginia. Named a 2008 Milken National Educator as principal, Sterrett was recognized in 2009 by the Virginia General Assembly for his work. Sterrett resides in Wilmington, North Carolina, with his wife, Stephanie, and their three sons. He may be reached at the Watson School of Education, The University of North Carolina at Wilmington, 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403-5980; He may be followed on Twitter @billsterrett.

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  • Sharon_Porter 1 year ago

    This book is a great resource and must-read for administrators and aspiring administrators across grade levels. Infusing technology is the administrator's day is crucial to the extent of technology integration in the classroom. Love Chapter 7!

    Sharon H. Porter (@sharonhporter)
    K-8 Principal, Prince George's County Public Schools, MD