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

“I am enthusiastic about Dr. Irving Jones’ book, Fearless Conversations School Leaders Have to Have. I have witnessed many times in group settings, his inclusive, thought provoking and intellectually stimulating manner in ensuring that we arrive at creative and effective solutions. And I know this is born out of his 25 years of success in the educational arena. He has been recognized as the Outstanding High School Principal in Virginia, NASSP/MetLife National Principal of the Year and a much sought after educational consultant. So the ideas he shares in this book with his colleague, Vera Blake, are truly worth examining to ensure our young people are fully prepared for work and life in the 21st century.”

James BrownNetwork BroadcasterCBS Sports & CBS NewsBaltimore, MD

“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

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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