We (Jessica Johnson, Shira Leibowitz, and I) are so excited for the upcoming publication of our book The Coach Approach to School Leadership: Leading Teachers to Higher Levels of Effectiveness.

The book addresses the dilemma faced by many principals: how to function as learning leaders while fulfilling their evaluative and management duties.  Our answer? Incorporating instructional coaching techniques as an integral part of serious school improvement.

The Coach Approach to School Leadership explains how principals can:

  • Master the skill of “switching hats” between the nonjudgmental coach role and the evaluative supervisor role.
  • Expand their classroom visits and combine coaching with evaluation requirements.
  • Nurture relationships with teachers and build a positive school culture.
  • Provide high-quality feedback to support the development of both teachers and students.
  • Empower teachers to lead their own professional learning and work together as a team.

Drawing from our work with schools as well as our conversations with educators across the globe, this thought- provoking book speaks to the unique needs of principals as instructional leaders, providing solutions to challenges in every aspect of this complex endeavor.

The role of the principal is changing at a rapid pace. Let this resource guide you in improving your own practice while helping teachers master the high-quality instruction that leads to student success.


Want to learn more about wearing a coaching hat? Virtual Coaching for School Leaders may be your answer! Virtual Coaching is focused, immediate, cost effective and based on your own goals! Let’s talk! 



We are thrilled to have the support of so many admired thought leaders! Here are our most recent reviews!

prepare to restart your principalship

The expertise of this author team shines a spotlight on perhaps the most impactful work of the school principal: coaching. If we’re not spending our time supporting our teachers, building their capacity, and emphasizing instructional quality, then what are we really doing? This book hits the mark with practical tools, examples of what principal-coaching looks like, and ammo to fend off the counter-arguments — prepare to restart your principalship!

Pete Hall, former school principal and author of Building Teachers' Capacity for Success

presents an ambitious yet workable approach

The Coach Approach to School Leadershipcasts a compelling, elegant, and even beautiful vision for leading learning. It presents an ambitious yet workable approach to managing the central paradox of the principalship, showing how we can wear the “coaching hat” as often as possible, while holding staff to high standards. Essential reading for every school leader

Justin Baeder, Director, The Principal Center, & creator of The Instructional Leadership Challenge

a must read book for all administrators

The Coach Approach to School Leadership is a must read book for all administrators who have been searching for a framework to help them move beyond the traditional practices of supervision and evaluation of teachers to that of learner and coach. Johnson, Leibowitz and Perret provide not only specific resources and strategies to help you build your capacity, but also challenge you to reflect on the positive impact that effective coaching techniques can have on your overall school culture. This is a book that I will keep close by and continue to refer back to time and time again.

Jimmy Casas, Senior Fellow, International Center for Leadership in Education, Author of Start. Right. Now: Teach and Lead for Excellence, Speaker

a must read for principals

The Coach Approach to School Leadership will change the conversation about how principals can serve as instructional leaders. Providing principals with tools and strategies to ‘put on their coaching hat’ is a much needed step for teaching and learning in our schools. So often, principals wonder how to provide relevant support to teachers, and serving as a principal coach is a way to do just that. The authors’ breadth of knowledge around both leadership and coaching makes this book a must read for principals.

leading teachers to higher levels of effectiveness

Among the most significant actions great principals do differently is getting out of the office and into classrooms to help teachers improve their skills. In this must read book for school leaders, the authors of The Coach Approach to School Leadership present both a mindset and practical tools supporting school leaders to address the paradox of being both coach and supervisor. Through a focus on instructional coaching techniques, and a deep understanding of the many challenges facing principals, TheCoach Approach to School Leadership offers extremely valuable guidance in the vital work of leading teachers to higher levels of effectiveness.

Todd Whitaker, Professor, Speaker, Author of What Great Principals Do Differently

engaging and easy to read

The Coach Approach to School Leadership takes the challenging task of instructional coaching by school leaders and breaks it down into achievable, understandable and meaningful chunks. Whether you are a leader adding coaching to your tool belt or a veteran coach, you will find yourself in the many vignettes and interviews throughout the book and gain from the authors’ perspectives and experiences. This engaging and easy to read book will help you start conversations, initiate reflection and inspire growth. You will gain insights into your own practice through the authors’ honest reflections, sharing of successes and challenges, and providing real world tools to support leaders wearing their coaching hats

Melanie Eisen, Associate Director for Professional Development, Prizmah: The Center for Jewish Day Schools

your investment will positively impact your teachers and students

Jessica, Shira, and Kathy have provided me with wonderful learning opportunities at #educoach on twitter for the last several years. Now in The Coach Approach to School Leadership, they have extended that learning opportunity to principals and teacher leaders as well as district staff responsible for supervising and coaching principals. They offer specific strategies, tools, and illustrative scenarios as well as responses and ideas to barriers and challenges. As an added bonus you can join in the dialogue and continued learning at #educoach and #coachapproach on Twitter. Your investment in “The Coach Approach” will positively impact your teachers and students.

Steve Barkley, PLS3rdLearning- www.BarkleyPD.com, Author of Instructional Coaching with the End in Mind

practical and applicable suggestions and tools

The most successful school leaders recognize the profound impact they can have when they step into the role of a “learning leader.”  In The Coach Approach to School Leadership, the authors offer a candid and explicit description of this role and argue convincingly that in order to lead teachers to higher levels of effectiveness, we must be able to weave instructional coaching practices into our work as principals. Filled with both practical and applicable suggestions and tools, this book is a wonderful handbook for any administrator’s desk.

Alisa Simeral, educational consultant, and Author of Building Teachers Capacity for Success

an important resource to any school principal

For too long building principals have been seen as those who went to the dark side when they entered into school leadership. This is flawed thinking because many principals go into leadership because they want to help everyone around them improve, including themselves. The Coach Approach to School Leadership provides effective ways to help raise the self-efficacy of the teachers around them. Johnson, Leibowitz and Perret rely on their numerous years of experience to offer an important resource to any school principal who wants to use their power for good and not evil.

Peter DeWitt Ed.D., Author/Consultant, Finding Common Ground Blog (Education Week), Author of Collaborative Leadership: 6 Influences that Matter Most

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The Coach Approach to School Leadership

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