Read to Lead

As summer was drawing to a close, I had the opportunity to serve as Sergeant at Arms in the Livonia Rotary Club. One of the Sergeant’s duties is to assess fines to the members in order to draw funds into our service account. The fines are small and we try to make it fun. On this occasion, I decided to fine everyone who had not read a book during the summer months. I thought this would be an easy money raiser. To my surprise, only two members in the club raised their hands with their obligatory one dollar fine and even they had read the monthly Rotary Magazine and the newspaper. It really was a testament to the old saying, “You need to read to lead“.

In recognition of October as National Book Month, our Compelled Tribe of Ed Bloggers are sharing out books that have guided them on their educational journal. I chose three books and the first book helped guide me more personally, while the others were professional inspirations.

Jonathon Livingston Seagull: You will never find this book by Richard Bach on an educational “must read” list. It’s a philosophical story about about seeing past the illusions of life and finding illumination. My mother tried to get me to read it for years, but as a stubborn teen and young adult, I dismissed it. When I finally read it, I was disappointed that I hadn’t read it earlier. Now that my mother is passed away, it is one of my most cherished books and I read it from time to time when I need some inspiration. I highly recommend it to everyone and in full circle karma, I have not been able to convince my daughters to read it…yet.

Teach Like a Pirate: This gem by Dave Burgess was the shot in the arm I needed after 20 years in education. As I read the pages I of the book, I kept thinking this is what education should be like…fun and adventurous! I often highlight passages in books that I agree with or that stimulate my thinking and my copy of Teach Like a Pirate has more highlighted pages than any book I own. Hearing Dave speak several times has brought the ideas and concepts of the book even more alive to me. It’s one that I would recommend for ALL educators.

The Truth About Leadership: This book by Kouzes & Posner was part of my reading with the MEMSPA Leadership Matters cohort. Like my other book picks, this is a short and sweet read with lots of impact. It lists ten “Truths” of leadership that are backed by research and really resonated with me. It starts by sharing the truth that leaders make a difference and ends with the truth that leadership is “an affair of the heart”. Its combination of real-life stories, common sense, and research made it a compelling and useful book for me.

As educators, we are all leaders and need to be life-long learners. The best way to continue to learn is to continue to read. Through reading, we gain new insights and new perspectives and occasionally an epiphany that shapes who we are as educators. What books have guided you on your educational journey? Please share out on Twitter so that others may be inspired by them as well!



“We’re free to go where we wish and to be what we are” – Jonathon Livingston Seagull

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” – Teach Like a Pirate

“Leaders are here to serve others” – Truth about Leadership


Ben Gilpin                                   Sandy King


  • Monday, October 1: Students of the Month Assembly 9:05 AM, Lock Down Drill 2:00 PM, Team Meeting (Stromberg) 2:35 PM, Growth Plans due in Pivot
  • Tuesday, October 2: Achievement Team (Kaufman) 8:15 AM, Conferences Sign Up Genius out to parents
  • Wednesday, October 3: Jon out of Town
  • Thursday, October 4: Jon out of Town, No Staff Meeting, Skate Night at Riverside Arena 6:00-8:00 PM
  • Friday, October 5:  IEP (Kurtjian) 8:15 AM


  • Monday, October 8: Celebrate Monday Assembly (Responsibility) 9:05 AM, F&P Data in Illuminate for Grades 1-4.
  • Tuesday, October 9: Achievement Team 8:15 AM
  • Wednesday, October 10: School Improvement Committee 8:15 AM, Elementary Principals Meeting 11:30-4:30 PM, PTA Board Meeting 2:30 PM
  • Thursday, October 11: CLT Sessions 7:50-8:50 AM, DATA DIVES (Rotating Subs)
  • Friday, October 12: Fire Drill 9:30 AM, Early Literacy Benchmark Data in Illuminate for Kindergarten


  • Wednesday, October 17: Students dismissed at 12:10 PM, Conferences 1:00-4:00 & 5:00-8:00 PM
  • Thursday, October 18: Students dismissed at 12:10 PM, Lunch provided by Jimmy Johns, Conferences 1:00-4:00 & 5:00-8:00 PM

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