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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.)