Book Review

The Principal’s Playbook

Tackling School Improvement

by Nancy Protheroe, Educational Research Service, Alexandria, Va., 2010, 236 pp., $30 softcover


John Draper, CEO of Educational Research Service, grabs the attention of readers of The Principal’s Playbook: Tackling School Improvement by setting the foundation for the contents of the book’s 20 chapters in its opening pages.


Author Nancy Protheroe, the longtime special projects director at ERS, has organized the work into four focused sections — Increasing Student Engagement, Improving Teacher Effectiveness, Implementing Effective Schoolwide Practices and Providing Effective Principal Leadership.

This format helps school administrators of all levels as each chapter begins with evidence from related research studies. Then clear connections are drawn between theory and effective teaching, learning and leadership practices.

Protheroe makes these connections through current strategies that have been applied successfully in schools.

Each chapter’s summary and current list of references are useful additions. The questions for discussion and reflection section of each chapter make the book a candidate for professional development initiatives. Some school leaders may use this for a book study group.

Reviewed by George E. Pawlas, retired professor of educational leadership, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla.