The School Principal’s



Building the How-To Path to Excellence




             JIM BURGETT


          The eternal, unvoiced plea of every school principal is HELP!



But who helps the building leaders with everyday answers, encouragement, practical tips, how-to lists, and almost any resource needed so they can continue to lead with joy and passion—and change their students' world?

Finally, help for principals has arrived! It's Jim Burgett’s The School Principal’s Toolbook: Building the How-to Path to Excellence. This book provides a practical and fun set of tools to understand, confront, and resolve almost every dilemma afoot or ahead! It's written for the rookie, veteran, or for those just needing a shot in the arm of potent leadership rejuvenation! And, like all of Jim's books, it's based on good, solid, practical information.

The book isn't confined to principals either. Burgett's words offer help to everyone responsible for school building leadership, including assistant or associate principals, deans, special education directorshead teachers, and building leaders.



Rights and Responsibilities    Setting Priorities     The School Family  

Building the Best Staff Possible  Leading the Leaders    Change, Vision, and Motion ♦

Communications    Zoom Learning     Team Leadership   Expert Advice 

Care for Yourself Too!    Tools / Ideas for the Principal 



          ISBN-13: 978-0989653022 (bound)

          978-0989653039 (digital)

          Category: Education/K-12 Principals

          Price: $24.95 (bound), $20 (digital)

          Formats: Bound (paperback) and digital

          Cloth Trim: 6” x 9”

          Page Count: 268

          Publisher’s Location: Novato, CA

          Discount: Trade

          Publication Date: October 2014





Paperback ($24.95)

Digital ($20)


● in quantity, 8+ for discount and better mailing,


or (800) 563-1454


Further information: (800) 563-1454


Education Communication Unlimited




There may not be enough superlatives in the English language to describe Jim Burgett’s The School Principal’s Toolbook. This book does not belong on every administrator’s bookshelf; it belongs open on his or her desk. Every chapter is filled with informative, inspiring and entertaining advice and wisdom delivered in Jim’s conversational, engaging style. 

… While the Toolbook has no footnotes, it is well-researched and evidence based as Jim incorporates all that he has learned—and is still learning—from his 40+ years in education; it also includes anecdotes, case studies, and ample examples of successes and failures from colleagues willing to share their experiences. 

Above all, Jim is a coach. Whether (you are) a first-year assistant principal or a grizzled veteran superintendent, you will be a better leader after reading this book. Guaranteed. Whether you are looking for a fun, quick read or a profoundly deep read, you have found it, and whatever time you invest with the Toolbox it will pay enormous dividends. You will be (better) equipped to make an enduring difference in your school, district, community, and beyond.


Dr. Glen “Max” McGee, Superintendent of Palo Alto (CA) School District

and past Illinois State Superintendent of Schools



Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Rights and Responsibilities


1. The Right to Take Your Time

2. The Responsibility to Think Before You Make Decisions

3. The Right to Make a Mistake

4. The Responsibility to Discipline

5. The Right to Delegate

6. The Right to Have a Life

7. The Right to Seek Help

8. The Responsibility of Knowing the Expectations of You!

9. The Responsibility to be a Role Model

10. The Responsibility to be Unforgettable


Chapter 2. Setting Priorities


Personal Priorities and the Rocks

Handling the Baggage

Administrative Priorities—Be Visible

Administrative Priorities—Do Right

Institutional Priorities—Be Passionate

Institutional Priorities—Be a Salesperson

Institutional Priorities: Know the Mandatory Skills

Institutional Priority: Build Character

Institutional Priority: Implement the “A” Theory


Chapter 3. The School Family


Who are the Educators?

Know the Kids in the Family

Know the Adults

Build Family Pride

Include Visitors


Chapter 4. Building the Best Staff Possible




After Hiring

Building Camelot

Cleaning House

Evaluate Toward Improvement

Four Steps Toward Improvement

The Law is Changing


Chapter 5. Leading the Leaders


Leaders are Innovators

Leadership vs. Management

Classic Leadership Styles

Leadership Styles for Principals

Developing Your Style of Leadership

Leadership and Criticism

Accepting Complaints

Responding to a Complaint

Comments about Leadership



Chapter 6. Change, Vision, and Motion


Assessing the Need



Watch the Pendulum

Do it. Make it Work.


Chapter 7. Communications


Know Your Audience

You Care, They Forgive


Know all Sides

Communicate Efficiently

Communication is Visual

Communication is Speaking

Communication is Attitude, Energy, and Honesty



Communicating with Zoom



Communication vs. Information

20 Slides/20 Seconds

Faculty Meetings, Newsletters, Website


Chapter 8. Zoom Learning: Understanding and Embracing How Kids Learn


What Does This Mean to Principals?

Zoom Samples

Google vs. Apple

Knowing the History

So How Do We Learn to Zoom

Google It

Assign it

Resource it

Learn it

Do it


Chapter  9. Team Leadership


What is a Team?

Team Strength

Team Selection

The Big Team

Ten Rules

The Team Player

Professional Learning Communities


Chapter 10. Expert Advice


Qualities of Effective Building Leaders



Chapter 11. Take Care of Yourself Too!


You Are in Control

Ten Basics You Already Know

Physical Health

This is NEAT

Mental Wellness

Social Wellness: The Art of Good Relationships

Spiritual Wellness

Professional Health


Chapter 12. Tools and Thoughts for the Principal


More testimonials…


“Practical is often neglected when discussing the ’how to’s’ of being a school principal.  This is a phenomenal resource that every new principal or school leader should have at their disposal.  If I only had this ‘Toolbook’ when I became a principal many problems could have been avoided.” 


L. Earl Franks, CAE, Executive Director of the

Alabama Association of Secondary School Principals




The School Principal’s Toolbook is well done and extremely practical for administrators. At so many points I had to stop and think about situations I encountered as an assistant principal or as a principal as well as issues that I discussed with administrators during my 16 years at MASSP. I wish I‘d had it when I began my career and at different times. The lists of ‘how to’ skills, the practical examples of real world situations, and the valuable insight into school leadership makes this a must read for all aspiring or new administrators. It would also serve as a great refresher for administrators regardless of the number of years of experience.”     


Jim King, Executive Director, Missouri Association of

Secondary School Principals, 1998-2014




“The School Principal’s Toolbook by Jim Burgett is a refreshing combination of tried and true expertise and forward thinking for principals in today’s complex and rapidly changing school environments.  I found myself wishing this valuable resource had been available to me when I began as a middle school principal:  forging connections with the school family, setting priorities and learning strategies for dealing with difficult conversations and situations would have been easier with this seasoned and straightforward guide.  Reading Jim’s book felt like having a candid conversation with a trusted mentor.”


Karen Bronson, Director of Professional Development for the

School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS)