In high functioning schools and systems, leaders play four important roles: governance, operations, community building and change leadership. As El Paso superintendent Juan Cabrera and I discussed in a recent post, each of these roles can feel like a full-time job.

But it’s the changemaker role where there is a big opportunity for contribution. Building an improvement and innovation agenda is complex work. It combines technical solutions (proven methods applied to known situations) and adaptive solutions (designed approaches often including new tools). This is the stuff they didn’t teach you in graduate school (at least not most of them) but it’s where you can really make a difference for your community.

That’s why we were so excited for the release of The New School Rules by Anthony Kim, CEO of Education Elements. For school system heads, it’s the best changemaker’s guide out there.

I LOVE the organization of this book. Every chapter includes a problem statement, a new rule, a case study, lessons and suggested experiments. It’s super useful as a straight read or for bite-size tips midstream.

Kim and co-author (and organizational guru) Alexis Gonzales-Black claim that responsive organizations embrace an iterative and evolving approach to planning and structure, meaningful autonomy for teams and team members, and approaches to gathering and sharing and information that build trust and supports effective decision-making.

Kim notes that responsive organizations, “learn and respond rapidly through the open flow of information; encouraging experimentation and learning on rapid cycles,” and are organized as a network of employees, customers and partners motivated by shared purpose.

Read the full article about New School Rules by Tom Vander Ark at Getting Smart.