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I'm in the Principal's Seat, Now What?

I'm in the Principal's Seat, Now What?
The Story of a Turnaround Principal

August 2013 | 136 pages | Corwin

Tried and true strategies every principal can implement

From a turnaround principal who has been there, I'm in the Principal's Seat, Now What? outlines clear strategies to create a positive, collaborative, and all-inclusive school environment.

Dr. Allan Bonilla, former Principal of the Year in the nation's fourth largest school district, shares experiences from his 40-year career in education to guide and encourage current and aspiring principals. Featuring tools such as checklists, rubrics, and templates, the book offers true-life stories, examples, and interviews with award-winning “turnaround” principals. The author shifts attention from tasks that seem important to strategies that produce measurable results by focusing on topics such as:

  • Delegation and collaboration
  • Meeting the needs of the at-risk student
  • Improving attendance and student achievement
  • Being a true visible leader
  • Incorporating successful business practices
  • Celebrating success, and
  • Adopting a coaching mindset

Far from being a standalone anecdote for success that hinges on one unique personality, this relevant guide will help launch your own sustainable turnaround story.

“Bonilla recognizes that culture matters—a lot—and he offers specific strategies to help everyone in a school learn and grow.”
—Thomas R. Hoerr, Author and Columnist
Head of the New City School, St. Louis, MO

“This book provides a practical guide for building a school on the vision that each student matters. Given the right organizational structure and climate, teachers will take ownership of problems, will implement proven, practical solutions, and will grow from good to great when they are supported by their principals.”
—Gene Bottoms, SREB Senior Vice President
Founder and Director, High Schools That Work

About the Author
Chapter 1. Building a Positive Culture
Chapter 2. Structured Visibility
Chapter 3. From Delegation to Collaboration
Chapter 4. From Collaboration to Change
Chapter 5. Supporting Students at Risk
Chapter 6. Let's Celebrate
Chapter 7. Coaching Strategies at Work
Chapter 8. Parents Welcome
Chapter 9. Where We Are Now

I’m in the Principal’s Seat, Now What?  provides a realistic, relevant view of how to be a principal in a changing environment.  The power of the ideas and strategies is seen in the success of the school!  This book is a must read for those studying to be a principal or newly placed in a principalship.”

Dr. Elizabeth J. Lolli, Superintendent
Monroe Local School District, OH

"I'm In the Principal's Seat, Now What? is a structured recipe for what matters most in school turnaround. The significant strategies are a visual road map for leading change and providing a quality education and high achievement for all students."

Suzanne Link Gimenez, Retired School Turnaround Principal
Devonshire Elementary, Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System

"It has been a privilege and pleasure over the past two years to listen to Allan as he shared with me his dream of writing a book that would assist in the transformation of low-performing schools. I quickly realized how much value this book would be to leaders of the many low-performing schools I was visiting as a turnaround consultant. I look forward to recommending this book to all my clients!"

Mike Cave, MEd, School Turnaround Specialist and Certified Educational Leadership Coach

"I'm in the Principal's Seat, Now What? is a practical, yet powerful book that provides valuable insight into time-tested principles needed to turnaround any institution of learning. This back-to-basics book is designed to help school leaders create a culture of academic excellence."

Eric Acosta, Ed.S., Principal
Miami-Dade County Public Schools

"As a rookie administrator, I was placed under the supervision of Dr. Bonilla. I quickly learned that creating a positive culture, establishing a mission of academic success, and being visible are essential keys to being an effective school leader.


Dr. Bonilla uses simple and pragmatic approaches to organizational leadership that promotes universal buy-in from all stakeholders. His experience and on-the-job strategies should be a guide for all school and/or district administrators."

Manuel Ferrer, Ed.D.
The Education Doctor, Inc.

"In his book I’m in the Principal’s Seat, Now What?, Dr. Allan Bonilla has done a masterful job of depicting responsibilities and duties that a school principal faces on a daily basis in the performance of his or her duties. I consider this book a “must read” for every aspiring school principal who wishes to gain an insight into the role that he or she will play as a school principal."

Dr. Ada B. Hernandez, Retired Principal
Miami Dade County Public Schools System

"For ten years I've had the personal and professional gratification of closely and enthusiastically observing Dr. Allan Bonilla "walk the talk" and "be in the Principal's seat" at Palm Springs Middle School in Miami. As his consultant on instruction, curriculum, and student learning, his leadership engendered one of the most exciting and productive learning communities I've encountered as a consultant, teacher, leader, and professor. This book, I'm in the Principal's Seat, Now What? is a 'must-resource' for every serious school leader!"

Dr. Clint Bunke, President
CDRM Corp.

"'If you talk the talk, then you must walk the walk.' Dr. Allan Bonilla is one prime example of an administrator who did just that in turning around a school that was at the lower rungs of a ladder and elevated the staff and students through the prescription he set forth. The triad of relationships, collaboration, and team building are the key ingredients to changing a school's culture. Allan orchestrated and coordinated the faculty, the staff, and all of the stakeholders so the students could achieve their best. His plan was carried out daily by being visible throughout the day (morning, afternoons, evenings, & weekends) to parents, teachers, students, community leaders and this was accomplished before me as one of Dr. Bonilla's assistant principals. It is a prescription that will work at any school, any business, or at place where "teamwork" is the key to success. The principles Allan sets forth are the key ingredients for success in any setting where people working together can achieve anything if they work as a team. I, for one, am proud to have been a part of the success that Dr. Allan Bonilla achieved through his vision many years before this educational trend came into being."

Howard Popowitz, Retired Administrator
Miami Dade County Public Schools System

"I’m in the Principal’s Seat, Now What? is a must read for all current and aspiring school site administrators. The book focuses on developing and implementing effective strategies that will transform schools from ordinary to exemplary learning institutions. The book was authored by Dr. Allan Bonilla who distinguished himself serving as Principal of one of the district's most challenging schools. Dr. Bonilla is recognized as an effective Principal, having received the Principal of the Year distinction from the nation's fourth largest school district."

Delio G. Diaz, Executive Director
Dade Association of School Administrators (DASA)

"Dr. Bonilla's book is a true and refreshing account and how-to guide. His extensive experience and knowledge result in a powerful combination that guarantees achievement and educational excellence."

Martha Montiel, Administrative Director
Education Transformation Office (ETO), Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Key features
1. Tools such as checklists, rubrics, and templates for leaders to use and follow when making turnaround changes
2. Stories and examples from an author who has done turnaround work
3. Brief case examples and pointers, interviews with other award winning turnaround principals in CA, NY, and elsewhere

Sample Materials & Chapters

Front Matter

Chapter One

For instructors

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