Book Review

Applying Servant Leadership in Today’s Schools

by Mary K. Culver, Eye On Education, Larchmont, N.Y., 2008, 144 pp., $34.95 softcover

Applying Servant Leadership in Today’s Schools could serve as a textbook and a study guide for the school leader. Mary K. Culver, a former principal who teaches educational leadership at Northern Arizona University, offers a comprehensive training methodology to shift the leader from theory into action, from the easily acknowledged and accepted principle of empowering school staff to the difficult task of putting it into practice.

Culver moves the reader through four servant leadership developmental levels clearly defined in operational terms: the intrapersonal, interpersonal, intraorganizational and interorganizational. She argues that moving up and through these levels requires deep and continual self-reflection.

The structure of the study guide promotes the required reflection. Culver devotes a chapter to each developmental level, offering a series of rich and authentic scenarios depicting the actions of leaders at various performance levels.

Culver guides the reader through a sequential study pattern in which she presents a topic, a couple of scenarios that illustrate different levels of leader behavior and performance, and an analysis to be conducted by the reader of each leader’s performance in each scenario. Culver follows that with discussion of the leader’s performance in the scenarios.

While this work is a well-written, comprehensive training guide, it would require a high degree of discipline and diligence on the part of a working school leader to complete the entire guide front to back. Rather, it might be valuable as a group study guide where members would have some obligation to work through each segment and offer feedback.

Reviewed by Jim Frenck, associate professor of teacher education, Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, N.Y.