Book Review

Superintendent’s Briefing Book 2008: Vital Information for School District Leaders

by Educational Research Service, Alexandria, Va., 2008, unpaginated with index, $96 looseleaf binder

Practicing and aspiring public school administrators would be well-advised to have this new publication of the Educational Research Service, Superintendent’s Briefing Book 2008: Vital Information for School District Leaders, on their close-at-hand bookshelves.

The wide range of research on the myriad challenges facing public school leaders was developed by the ERS staff, who reduced it to concise sections that provide a clear and succinct outline in each of 15 topical areas (among them Superintendent as Change Leader, School Board Focus on Student Learning, Teaching Teachers, Twelve Website Essentials and Community Relations).

The researchers suggest that decisions made by the public school leader can only be as good as the data on which they are based. They assert the Superintendent’s Briefing Book will enable that leader to “get up to speed quickly” with current issues; to find out where to get more timely information; to make research-based decisions; to involve community and support staff; and to provide informed and effective leadership in their school district.

This comprehensive document could and should serve as the basic text for a graduate course in any program that prepares chief school district administrators and central-office support staff. The fact this publication is presented in a three-ring looseleaf binder serves as testimony to the dynamic and changing conditions in American public education in this first decade of the 21st century.

Reviewed by Charles W. Rudiger, professor of leadership and technology, Dowling College, Oakdale, N.Y.