Fearless Conversations School Leaders Have to Have

by Vera J. Blake and Irving C. Jones Sr.
Foreword by Bill DaggettFearless Conversations School Leaders Have to Have

Step out of Your Comfort Zone and Really Help Kids
To meet the needs of today’s learners, fearless leadership is required to support and empower the adults who work with these learners. Anchored in research, Fearless Conversations is a guide to recognizing and using strategies that encourage staff to work at their full potential, build trust, and strengthen collegiality. Strong, courageous, focused, collaborative leadership is a win-win approach for all stakeholders. Readers will find

  • interviews and case studies to illustrate effective practice
  • strategies to help them move from traditional methodologies toward stronger transformational leadership
  • vignettes and examples to ignite additional thinking to facilitate achievement for all students

Written for aspiring, new, and experienced school leaders, this is a must-read for anyone who wants practical strategies that they can use immediately to build a culture of learning and improve academic achievement for all students.


  1. Creating and Sustaining a Viable Work Environment
  2. Crafting and Supporting Strong Missions and Visions
  3. Improving Through Effective Feedback
  4. Increasing Parent and Community Stakeholder Partnerships
  5. Managing and Sustaining an Organized, Productive, Ever-Changing School Culture
  6. Boosting Collegial Climates by Providing Embedded Professional Development
  7. Planning for Success


Book Reviews

“Fearless Conversations Leaders Have to Have is the kind of book principals are eager to devour, especially those new to the profession. Jones and Blake share powerful insights and provide real life fearless leadership examples and non-examples that can help to shape a principal’s leadership vision. Their awareness of the challenges and opportunities principals face when they walk through the doors of their schools every day makes this book a must-have. As a new teacher under Dr. Blake’s leadership almost 20 years ago, I can say with certainty that she has walked her talk and has a way of mentoring and guiding that is real, relevant, and learner-centered, even if that learner is an adult. I can’t wait to share this book with the principals I lead!”

Natalie GraysonSupervisorColumbus City SchoolsColumbus, OH

“The title of this book, Fearless Conversations School Leaders Have to Have, invites educators of all levels of school reform to follow the authors on an authentic journey to find moral and ethical harmony while discovering best practices for teaching and learning, alike.

The core principles of each of the seven chapters convey an inspirational repertoire of school improvement designs, strategies, organizational tools, and reflections. Any supervisor can utilize these principles when leading of school and/or organizational transformation. The authors’ use of humor to illustrate the intricacies of engaging in powerful conversations via formal and informal contexts offers opportunities to better understand differing perspectives.”

Deborah R. JacksonFormer President (2015)Learning Forward, Inc.Oxford, OH

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Areas of Expertise

Developing, Coaching and Enriching Leadership Skills; Differentiated Instruction; Classroom Management that Works; Art and Science of Teaching; What Works in Schools; Effective Student Engagement

Fearless Conversations

Fearless Conversations School Leaders Have to HaveThe new book “Fearless Conversations School Leaders Have to Have” is now available on