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Nothing's Impossible

The inspiring autobiography and leadership principles of the charismatic, enormously well-respected educator who founded the Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem.. In 1991, Dr. Lorraine Monroe founded the Frederick Douglass Academy, a public school in Harlem, in the belief that caring instructors, a disciplined but creative environment, and a refusal to accept mediocrity could transform the lives of inner-city kids. Her experiment was a huge success. Today the Academy is one of the finest schools in the country, sending graduates to Ivy League colleges and registering the third highest SAT scores in New York City. The key to its success: a unique leadership method Monroe calls the Monroe Doctrine, which she developed through decades as a teacher and principal in some of Americas toughest schools. In this book Monroe tells her own remarkable story and explains her Doctrine through pithy, memorable rules and observations and a host of wonderful true stories. This is an inspiring read for both new and experienced educatorsand for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of seemingly impossible odds.
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About the Author

Dr. Lorraine Monroe has over thirty years of experience as a teacher and administrator in the New York City public schools, most recently as principal of the Frederick Douglass Academy, widely hailed as a model of effective inner-city education. She is currently director of the School Leadership Academy, a new program to teach strategies for innovation and excellence to principals and school administrators, at the centre for Educational Innovation.


Part autobiography, educational theory and treatise on leadership philosophy, Monroe's lovely book encapsulates her lifelong passion as a world-renowned leader in education. Beginning with her role in transforming New York's Intermediate School 10 into the famed Frederick Douglass Academy (as seen on 60 Minutes last year), Monroe explains what leadership qualities are fundamental in creating quality schools so needed in our society. In a conversational style, Monroe conveys her recipe for success and, as a byproduct, shows the importance of other people taking the risks she took. Her practical applications (she "hates...senseless meetings, long memos, and rigid rules") and humorous anecdotes (as a child she inundated a tyrannical teacher's desk with dill pickle juice) give the book a down-home, animated tone. Each chapter concludes with her own "Monroe Doctrine," encapsulations of her philosophies: "Any life can be a work of art. So how can we but work in the belief that we will make a difference?" Monroe concludes with recipes for lasting leadership: techniques vital for avoiding burnout. "As you grow, so does your work, and so will those whose lives you touch." Leaders and potential leaders will get ammunition to do good work by hearing Monroe's message. (Nov.)

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