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Leading Together


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Table of Contents

Foreword Preface Acknowledgments About the Author Chapter 1: Developing Leadership for the Work that Matters Most Chapter 2: The "Ideal" School Chapter 3: The Rural Grassroots Chapter 4: The Urban Transition Chapter 5: The Suburban Blueprint Chapter 6: Ideal Leaders, Not Solo Superheroes Chapter 7: Fearless Improvement References Index

About the Author

Jonathan Eckert was a public school teacher outside of Chicago and Nashville for 12 years. He earned his doctorate in education at Vanderbilt University and served as a U.S. Department of Education Teaching Ambassador Fellow in both the Bush and Obama administrations. Currently, he is an associate professor of education at Wheaton College where he prepares teachers and returns regularly to teach in the district where his career began. In addition to leading professional development across the country, he has published numerous peer-reviewed and practitioner articles on teaching effectiveness and education policy.


"This is the book education in our country needs right now. Jon Eckert's professional experiences as a researcher, practitioner, teacher educator, and policy leader help bring a deep and layered view of the complexities of leadership development. The conversation starters are catapults to embrace uncomfortable and bold dialogue among those truly invested in building better systems for student learning. Prepare to be transformed, no matter what role you have in education."

-- Megan M. Allen, NBCT, Ed.D., Master of Arts in Teacher Leadership

"This refreshing book is upbeat in tone, practical in nature, and noble in approach. Principals and teacher leaders will be able to follow Eckert's advice with confidence and assuredly reap the benefits."

-- James W. Guthrie, Chair of the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations

"In his latest book, Leading Together, teacher educator Jon Eckert does us a great dual service. On the one hand, he helps impale the myth of the superhero educator (principal or teacher) who single-handedly defends students and defeats all problems facing modern schools. At the same time, he thoughtfully examines a spectrum of collaborative leadership styles. The highlight for many readers will be the realization that effective leadership does not have to be (and increasingly, cannot be) uniform or solitary."

-- Renee Moore, English teacher

"Leading Together is the best guidance we have to date about how to collaboratively dismantle the wall that has stood between teachers and school administrators for over a century. This is a marvelously accessible book in which collective leadership is discovered through the eyes and voices of teachers and principals."

-- Joseph F. Murphy, Frank W. Mayborn Chair and Associate Dean

"Leading Together re-introduces us to the solution that was there all the time: every teacher and administrator needs to engage fully with leadership and they need to do it together. The brilliance of this book is that it models the same strategies it promotes; it is underpinned by rigorous research and draws on deep professional experience developed in collaboration with others. We can finally put to rest the expectation that every school principal lead like Winston Churchill and encourage administrators and teachers to share the opportunities of leadership."

-- Beth Green, Program Director Education

"In Leading Together, Jon Eckert embeds his study in the practical - poignant questions for self-reflection, examples of real leaders doing this difficult work in real schools - and grounds all of it in his own rich leadership experiences. Above all, this book aims to do what all such literature should: support the adults across our education system in best serving all of our students."

-- Jocelyn Pickford, Designer of the Teaching Ambassador Fellowship * U.S. Department of Education *

"As a discipline, leadership is one of the most researched, but least understood, concepts in education. From my vantage point as a superintendent, teacher leadership is critically important in improving the quality of the student experience in our schools. This book brought clarity to the role teachers and administrators can play working in partnership to improve schools. Through this work, Dr. Eckert empowers teacher leaders to recognize opportunities to improve their craft and bring about meaningful and sustained school improvement."

-- Jeff Schuler, Superintendent of Schools

"Leading Together paints a rich portrait of school communities that have learned to combine their collective strengths to become greater than the sum of their parts. The stories, insights, and best practices embody the proverb, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." Whether you're a teacher, administrator, policymaker, or anyone else dedicated to the students who are the true purpose of our work, this book will provide practical ideas, probing questions, and plenty of inspiration for how we can go far together."

-- Justin Minkel, Second-Grade Teacher and 2007 Arkansas Teacher of the Year

"Leading Together includes rich research-based stories, reflective activities to spark action, and optimistic evidence about what this needed shift in school hierarchies means for improving student outcomes. Don't just read this; adopt it as your guidebook to become an even more influential leader."

-- P. Ann Byrd, COO & Partner

"In this powerful resource Eckert argues that school transformation depends on the systematic development of collective leadership. Through vivid, well-constructed stories, Eckert provides a guide that readers can use to cultivate effective school leadership in their own setting."

-- Mark A. Smylie, Professor Emeritus * Chicago, IL *

"A transformational dive into what it means to have genuine and powerful leadership in our education system, Leading Together will help open up dialogue around issues and topics that are paramount to system success. Although these topics are messy and complex, Dr. Eckert tackles them head on and with grace, understanding, and an authentic perspective that will have you wanting to take on the tough job of transforming our schools to better serve our ultimate client, students. As an instructor of pre-service educators, this will go on my syllabus as a must read."

-- Tammie J. Schrader, Computer Science and Science Coordinator
"Once again, Jon Eckert offers his straightforward, no nonsense thinking to busy practitioners. In Leading Together, he implores readers to think beyond the typical roles and boundaries of leadership in order to improve results for students. His authentic knowledge of everyday life in schools coupled with a thoughtful framework informs every chapter in this book. There are elements of his model that can be used right away...big shifts or little tweaks! His stories and humor make it readable (and meaningful!) for those of us seeking creative and collaborative ways to lead schools and districts." -- Joan Dabrowski, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning

"This is the first book that I have read that provides an adaptable solution to building leadership capacity in schools. Readers will be empowered to recapture the profession through shared leadership. Dr. Eckert provides a perfect blend of research, resources, reflective questions, and real-school examples that grabs the readers' interest. If you want to invest in human capital and improve leadership in your school or district this is the perfect book!"

-- Chris Silagi, Principal

"There are few books that promote uplifting the teaching profession like this one. If we desire to improve outcomes for all students and society as a whole, all educators must work together as they develop their leadership side by side and promote the work within the system."

-- Nancy Veatch, Teacher and Principal

"While many experts are calling for teachers to be leaders, this insightful analysis makes clear the often overlooked role that school and district leaders play in creating the cultural and systems that enable teacher leaders to play meaningful roles in school leadership."

-- Kristan Van Hook, Senior Vice President for Public Policy & Development

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