The principal of a school today works in a more fluid and expanding context than at any time in history. Information streams in from around the globe and from space, and we can access it at the touch of a keyboard connected to cyberspace. We can chat with faceless colleagues around the world on that same web of communication. The social circumstances for most of the students in our schools are very different from those a few years ago. Pressures are increasing from the business and political communities to produce students who will be useful to the economy. What an array of challenges and opportunities await the principal! Yet the greatest opportunity is answering the question of what is the right thing to do, as well as how to do things the right way. The ground rules that were in effect when schools were formed in similar, unquestioned molds are largely obsolete, leaving the principal to seek new views of leadership. Although some administrator preparation programs separate courses for the principalship into elementary, secondary, and in some cases middle levels, we contend that the important competencies are common to all levels. We do not wish to reinforce the administration of "things' as opposed to leading a community of learners. We do want to emphasize the principalship as a legitimate career field of its own. As an educational leader, the principal stimulates and uses input from all people affected by the school and in turn provides them with leadership toward the future. This book describes processes that are workable, responsible, and responsive yet not so rigid or brittle that they shatter under the inevitable stress faced by those who propose to lead. Examples of theories, principles, and practices are intended not to be formulas for success but rather to stimulate the reader to make practical applications appropriate to his or her organization and cultural, social setting. The overriding message of this book is the simple but often neglected principle that student learning is the supreme reason for the school's existence. The principle's leadership is paramount. Organization and administrative details must be considered to be means, not ends. Yet those details are not to be ignored; therefore, we include many topics and issues faced daily by nearly every principal at every level. The principal works with teachers, students, parents, and the community at large continually to refine and expand a vision of excellence to be achieved. It is from this viewpoint that this book is directed to principals, superintendents, those who want to be principals, and those who prepare prospective principals. NEW TO THIS EDITION Topics new to this edition include the questions and issues all schools face regarding the implementation of IDEA 97 for special needs students; collaborative ventures with community agencies to meet mutually identified needs and the challenges of shared authority involved; full-service schools; evaluation as affected by the standards movement and high-stakes testing; and many other topics principals will face from day to day. Case studies have been added dealing with topics such as teacher morale, gay rights, and pressures resulting from mandated testing. The book provides the reader and the instructor a wealth of real challenges for a principal, which can lead to the formation of personal views of what are the right things to do as well as how to do things right.Drake, Thelbert L. is the author of 'Principalship', published 2002 under ISBN 9780130941336 and ISBN 0130941336.