Coping with Educational Crises: Approaches from School Leaders Who Did It provides readers with perspectives and research-based strategies regarding the leadership approaches employed by school district administrators at all levels of organizational responsibility including superintendents of schools; assistant superintendents; program directors and coordinators; principals; assistant principals; and teacher leaders to confront unexpected major crises in school operations such as that created by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
This book consists of eight chapters written by practicing administrators, leadership researchers, and experienced educators who present their analyses and insights about managing the people, things, and ideas of educational organizations during crisis situations. They articulate various approaches that they and other educational leaders employed to abate the deleterious impact of crises on their respective organizations.
Coping with Educational Crises also provides recommendations to current and future school leaders who may face similar crises during their careers. Additionally, the editors and contributing authors offer sage advice to educational policymakers, school administrators, parents, and community leaders to recognize the collateral opportunities associated with any crisis including reforms to the pre-crisis traditional educational system since some of its key foundations, procedures, and expectations may have been significantly changed forever.
Walter S. Polka is professor of leadership and coordinator of the PhD program at Niagara University with over fifty-five years in education, including thirteen years as superintendent of schools.
John E. McKenna is an award-winning educator and adjunct professor with over thirty-five years of public education experience as a teacher, building principal, and district-level administrator.
Monica J. VanHusen has been an educator for the past eighteen years and currently is the educational technology coordinator for Stafford County Virginia Public Schools.
Chapter 1. School Leadership in a Global Crisis: A Study of Initial Reactions and Future Perspectives
Carol S. Cash, Jodie L. Brinkmann, and Ted S. Price
Chapter 2. A Practicing Superintendent’s Experiences During a Global Crisis: Recommendations for Preparing for the Next One!
Jeffrey Robert Rabey
Chapter 3. Constructing a Comprehensive Crisis Management Framework: Sunflower Unified School District Case Study
John E. McKenna and Walter S. Polka
Chapter 4. Instructional Leadership: The Critical Spark to Lead Meaningful Educational Change
Monica J. VanHusen and Walter S. Polka
Chapter 5. Managing the Auxiliary School Services: Budget, Finances, Facilities, Transportation, and Food Services in Crisis Situations
Chapter 6. Human Resources During Crises: Emphasize the HUMAN in Human Resources
John E. McKenna and Moira H. Cooper
Chapter 7. Commencing New Leadership Positions During Crises: Finding an Appropriate Leadership Conceptual Framework to Address Unexpected Personal and Professional Challenges
Chapter 8. The Next Era is Up to Us: Seizing Opportunities and Creating a New Future
John E. McKenna, Monica J. VanHusen, and Walter S. Polka
About the Editors and Contributors
Coping with Educational Crises: Approaches from School Leaders Who Did It is an important read for practitioners and academics alike as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. The insights provided by the authors are incredibly relevant as they share lessons learned. They encourage us to explore how we, as educators, have a critically important role to play in navigating the turbulent forces of change during crisis. Dr. Polka and his colleagues do an exceptional job of exploring the full spectrum of leadership challenges during a global crisis from the perspective of school leaders. Their stories help us to understand how they seized the opportunity to pivot during the most difficult of times and to marshal in a new era of school leadership post-pandemic through creativity, perseverance, and an unwavering commitment to students.
Educational leaders face myriad anticipated and unanticipated challenges, many of which multiplied during the COVID-19 pandemic. Coping with Educational Crises: Approaches from School Leaders Who Did It is full of experiences shared by top leaders, researchers, and practitioners on how to continue to navigate a current crisis situation as well as courageously prepare for an unknown future with researched strategies, confidence, and hopefulness. I highly endorse this resource for beginning and seasoned educational leaders at all levels and for researchers who care deeply about doing education right in times of both calm and turmoil.
When the Covid pandemic hit our shores in 2020, most educators had very little time to prepare for how it was going to impact our schools, students, and teachers. Coping with Educational Crises: Approaches from School Leaders Who Did It, co-edited by Walter S. Polka, John E. McKenna, and Monica J. VanHusen, provides examples from school leaders across the country and Canada of approaches and programs put into place to deal with the pandemic’s impact on schools. This is a must-read for educators to be prepared for the next “crisis”—no matter how big or small—that may have an effect on our students and teachers.
Coping with Educational Crises: Approaches from School Leaders Who Did It provides a comprehensive look at the approach school leaders, at all levels, took with the Covid-19 pandemic. Stories are shared in detail, allowing leaders at all stages to read about this historical event, learn from it, and prepare for future crises as well as recognize the opportunities that may result from a crisis. Furthermore, this book provides a great perspective for all individuals of how schools and districts operate, providing insight on day-to-day operations and the considerations that need to be addressed during a crisis to ensure the needs of the school, community, and all stakeholders are met.
We often hear that timing is everything. Coping with Educational Crises fits that motto well, as its timing is a perfect fit for the leader who seeks knowledge from those in the field who dealt firsthand with a once-in-a-century challenge. This book has something for all educators regardless of their position in education and does what we all should do: learn from, quite possibly, the biggest challenge a leader will face. Experience the challenge through the eyes of leaders who dealt with the pandemic at the ground level and learn from these brave leaders as they share their experiences and thoughts on not only the pandemic, but the future of education.
Coping with Educational Crises: Approaches from School Leaders Who Did It is an invaluable resource for on the ground and in the weeds active participation in school leadership, lending the reality of experiential practice and embedded voice to the continuously constructive nuggets of practical advice as well as community-support ethics and integrity. This book is equally valuable to researchers focused on educational leadership, as well as organizational leadership, performance improvement, change management, and human resources with an industrial/organizational psychology perspective. As the tumultuous 21st Century rolls forward, this book will become even more important and may well reach the status of a guidebook beacon toward dealing with forthcoming major crises in schools.
The coronavirus has had a devastating and disruptive impact on organizations and has created unprecedented challenges for leaders in every domain. As the director of a graduate leadership program, I found Coping with Educational Crises: Approaches from School Leaders Who Did It to be an excellent resource for leaders and especially for leadership graduate students. Each chapter provides insightful, evidence-based guiding practices aimed at not just leading, but leading well in the world, even during a crisis. I really appreciate the emphasis on ethics and humanity as we navigate a post pandemic future.
If leaders want to thrive in the time of crises, Coping with Educational Crises: Approaches from School Leaders Who Did It provides passionate, yet practical, insights from the experience of leaders who in their time of turmoil and crises were able to successfully facilitate educational programs and processes in their respective school contexts. Each chapter is filled with trends, testaments, reviews, studies, and strategies that spark reassurance and confidence in leaders, reminding them they can make it through any challenge, even during a pandemic, epidemic, and endemic. This book is important to have readily available on the practitioner’s professional desk and not just in the bookcase, because it serves as a powerful resource that shows educators and stakeholders how educational leaders coped and thrived during this most unprecedented and turbulent time in education.