Leadership 180: Daily Meditations on School Leadership

Photo/Dennis Sparks

In April Solution Tree Press published my newest book, Leadership 180: Daily Meditations on School Leadership. In its introduction I wrote, “I intend Leadership 180 to make a significant and lasting difference in the practice of your leadership, the quality of your professional life, and the effectiveness of the school community with which you are engaged. . . .”

Leadership 180 contains 180 brief essays that can be read and acted upon in just a few minutes a day. I included 180 essays to match the number of days found in the traditional school year and because, as I noted in the “Introduction,” “the number ‘180’ also recognizes the possibility of a dramatic change in direction that can occur within leaders and school communities when leaders alter their beliefs, deepen their understanding of key ideas and practices, and develop new habits. . . .

Each “meditation” concludes with a “Today I will . . .” activity that encourages immediate application of the ideas or principles it offers. Many of these activities focus readers on a “micro-goal,” an action so small and focused that failure is unlikely and whose completion may stimulate the development of a new habit. The topics included encourage and support school leaders in becoming more effective in their work and in living a more balanced life.

“Learn Forever”

The book’s second meditation begins, like all the essays, with a quotation, this one by Albert Einstein: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

“Learning adds vitality and a sense of purpose throughout the life span. Leaders’ most important learning comes as they pursue important individual and collective goals. They adopt new beliefs, deepen their understanding of important ideas, experiment with new practices, and reflect on what they can learn from those experiences. Such relentless effort is particularly important for school leaders because their learning, purposefulness, and vitality affect the entire school community.

“Today I will take a few minutes to commit in writing to a professional learning goal that will stretch me and benefit the school community; I will mark dates on my calendar when I will review my progress. To increase my clarity and commitment, I will share the goal with a colleague.”

Take a moment now to . . .

• complete the “Today I will . . .” activity suggested above.

Follow me on Twitter

If you use Twitter, I encourage you to follow me on Twitter (@DennisSparks) where I make regular posts on subjects related to leadership and living a productive, healthy, and balanced life. Simply click on  “Recent Twitter Posts” and request to follow me.

5 Responses to “Leadership 180: Daily Meditations on School Leadership”

  1. 1 Kay Psencik June 21, 2010 at 7:22 am

    I love the book. I love the concept. I am beginning the journey! Dennis, I love your photographs!

  2. 2 Carol June 21, 2010 at 9:26 am

    A great book with daily inspiration and insight!

  3. 3 Mike June 21, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    While reading Leadership 180, I knew I had to have a copy each for my teacher son and daughter. My son was particularly impressed with the concept and the ideas and plans to refer to it regularly. It’s a great gift for teacher friends and relatives.


  4. 4 Kent Peterson August 24, 2010 at 8:01 am

    I am looking forward to reading Sparks’ new book. It seems a perfect format for the busy school or district leader.

    It should support what he suggessts–continuous, lifelong learning.

  5. 5 Nicolas Rivas September 27, 2010 at 10:49 am

    I would say all of your oppinions and comments on leadership for schools, can also be applied in the relationship teacher to student, because in a way we are the leaders of our classromm and our enthusiasm and attitudes reflect on our lessons and class activities. Those meditations you mention here i will take them as my personal goal for the day, goal that can influence myself, my students, my colleagues, even my students families if it is reflected in the right way by my students and every one around me.

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