"This inspiring book makes a strong case for school leaders to include mindfulness in their personal and professional lives. Based on solid research and enhanced by compelling examples of real people, it shows how school leaders can feel more grounded, connected, clear and focused. Mindfulness makes leaders more effective with relatively little effort, but be advised that the benefits can be contagious, transforming your school from the inside out."--Christopher Germer, Clinical Instructor
"A 'must-get' book for school leaders looking for help to handle the daunting stress of their work. Brimming with hope and practical advice, this inspiring book combines fascinating portraits of real leaders with down-to-earth mindfulness practices that work. Brown and Olson--longtime practitioners of mindfulness, seasoned coaches and wise observers of the education scene--offer balm for the soul of school leaders who today are giving their all to realize their dreams."--Jerome T. Murphy, Howe Research Professor of Education & Dean Emeritus
"Masterfully practical, rich with wisdom and the heartfelt experiences of scholars and leaders in the field, this is the handbook to keep at your side if you wish to become more evolved, insightful, nimble and better prepared, in general, to address the challenges of teaching and leading. "--Dianne E Horgan, Associate Director
"This book is a must read for all school leaders. Given the high stakes testing environment and shrinking budgets of schools today, educators are under more stress than ever. This book will help school leaders find the equanimity needed to lead with calm, clarity, and effectiveness in the midst of the storm."
--Kristin Neff, Associate Professor"In
The Mindful School Leader, Brown and Olson offer with remarkable clarity and depth a thorough introduction to the practice of meditation, the science behind its benefits, and many firsthand accounts of lives and work situations transformed through this practice. Although this book was written for those in leadership roles in education, it will be inspiring for anyone interested in understanding their own minds and finding more ease in life and work."
--Joseph Goldstein, Co-Founder"Leadership of any sort is demanding work, and nowhere more so than in our schools. What do school leaders need if they are to lead well? Technical knowledge and skill, of course. But equally critical to good leadership is a capacity for 'mindfulness' which helps leaders see more clearly what's going on around and within them so they can navigate complex terrain without getting lost. This important book--beautifully written, illustrated with case studies, and full of practical guidance--can help school leaders find their bearings in ways that allow them to serve the urgent needs of teachers, students and the larger society."
--Parker J. Palmer, Author of "Healing the Heart of Democracy," "The Courage to Teach," "A Hidden Wholeness" and "Let Your Life Speak""Well-researched and beautifully documented,
The Mindful School Leader is a wonderful addition to the growing literature on mindfulness practices applied to the many sectors of modern societies. This book is unique in its many vignettes relating the personal stories of education leaders from around the world who talk about their experience with mindfulness. The authors also provide simple meditations that can be used even during busy workdays. This book will appeal to leaders in education and other fields who are interested in mindfulness but may not know where to start or how it can be applied to their lives."
--Gaelle Desbordes, Instructor, Harvard Medical School"When school leaders are stressed, their tensions radiate to their staff. When teachers are stressed, their students reap the turbulent ripples. When students' brains are stressed, optimal learning is unlikely. This book offers inspirational and practical advice to school leaders for calming their waters and spawning ripples of clarity and serenity throughout the school pond."
--Jay McTighe, Co-author, The Understanding by Design(R) series"An important support for school leaders, this book is comprehensive, and well thought out. The personal stories within are compelling and encouraging.
The Mindful School Leader is a tremendous asset to leaders worldwide to foster greater understanding and compassion within themselves and within schools."
--Sharon Salzberg, Co-Founder Insight Meditation Society"This is a book with deep wisdom on every page. While it draws its examples and targets its practical recommendations to educators, there is so much here of benefit to people in all manner of pursuits, pedagogical or otherwise. For me, this profoundly necessary book serves as a guide to being human in a world that seems determined to sap the humanity from us. And imagine the impact on our future that a more present and aware population of educators will make. Pay attention to this book, and it will teach you how to truly pay attention."
--Steve Heller, Program Director, Leadership Coaching Certificate Program "Georgetown University Institute for Transformational Leadership "
About the Author
Valerie Brown has studied and practiced mindfulness meditation in the Plum Village tradition since 1995 and was ordained as a member of the Tiep Hien Order by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in 2003. She is an educational consultant and ICF-accredited leadership coach of Lead Smart Coaching, LLC, specializing in leadership and mindfulness training for educational leaders (www.leadsmartcoaching.com). Valerie's life and work is a blending of career paths and disciplines, having devoted her early career as an attorney and lobbyist, representing educational institutions. She holds JD, MA, and BA degrees, and has trained extensively with the Center for Courage & Renewal, Georgetown University's Institute for Transformational Leadership, and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society/University of Massachusetts Medical School. As a certified Kundalini yoga teacher, she engages the wisdom of the mind-body connection to support vibrant, healthy leaders and teams. She shares her global vision of a society that is interconnected through mindful awareness and compassionate action in her first book, The Road That Teaches: Lessons in Transformation Through Travel (QuakerBridge Media, 2012). Her latest book, co-authored with her friend and colleague, Kirsten Olson, The Mindful School Leader: Practices to Transform Your Leadership and School, offers inspirational portraits and simple practices to promote greater peace and understanding within schools. When not leading retreats or consulting nationally or internationally, she is an advocate for Right Sharing of World Resources, a Quaker micro-credit lending organization and for Mercer Street Friends, a Quaker organization helping families and communities make the journey out of poverty. She lives in the funky artist village of New Hope, PA. about midway between Manhattan and Philadelphia, with her husband. She firmly believes that ice cream and carousel rides are critical to a better world!