2024 Summer Reading List for School Leaders

May 2024

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With the Memorial Day parades marched, we’re unofficially in summer. Really!! In this coveted time, things slowdown in Catholic schools across the country, and educators and school leaders get a little time for themselves. It is also a time to reflect back on the past year and to begin planning for next year. Hopefully, you can find some time to dig into some great books in your backyard or at a beach. Here are books that had an impact on me that you might consider adding to your reading list this summer.

Getting Education Right

by Mike McShane and Rick Hess

This book was so good that I sent a copy to my daughter who is an early childhood educator as I mentioned to Rick and Mike when I chatted with them on The Next Class 2.0 podcast. In this book, Rick and Mike put forth a conservative (not Republican) vision for improving early childhood, K–12, and college education in America. It is a must for those of us in the education field.

The Rule of St. Benedict

by St. Benedict of Nursia

and

The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century

by Joan Chittister

In the classic 1500-year-old The Rule of St. Benedict text, Benedict gives rules on how to form, live in, and build a community. He is addressing communities in an Abbey, but the rules are very adaptable to Catholic school communities. If you’re interested in St. Benedict, The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century by Joan Chittister is a fascinating read. Chittister adds perceptive commentary to the timeless wisdom of Benedict's Rule. As she notes in her introduction, Benedict directly touches the contemporary issues facing the human community—stewardship, conversion, communication, reflection, contemplation, humility, and equality. By reviewing Benedict's original Rule paragraph by paragraph, her book expands it into a broader context of spiritual living today and makes the ancient teachings relevant for contemporary readers. There’s even a recommended calendar for reading the entries and commentaries.

The Advantage

by Patrick Lencioni

In this very accessible management book, Lencioni argues that the one advantage an organization has is its team. The book gives some very practical and concrete ways for school leaders to lead and manage their team.

The Prayer that Changes Everything

by Jim Manney

In this short book, Manney digs into the classic prayer of St. Ignatius “The Examen.” This prayer is said every day by every Jesuit in the world. As you work on developing your spiritual leadership, it is a prayer to consider or, at least, learn more about.

Come Forth

by James Martin, SJ

In Martin’s latest book, he explores Jesus greatest miracle—the raising of Lazurus. I discussed the book in depth with Fr. Martin on The Next Class 2.0 podcast, If you want to get a sense of the book check out our podcast at  https://www.catholicvirtual.com/the-next-class-fr-james-martin/ or https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-7-fr-james-martin/id1591280216?i=1000650676263

The Women

by Kristin Hannah

One of the best historical fiction novels I have read since Where the Crawdads Sing, The Women tells the story of Frances "Frankie" McGrath, a young nurse who serves in the United States Army Nurse Corps during the Vietnam War. The novel debuted at number one on The New York Times fiction best-seller list.

Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World

by Henry Nouwen

or

The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

by Henry Nouwen

Next to Thomas Merton and Richard Rohr, Henry Nouwen might be the most important Catholic author of modern times. Either of these classics would be a great introduction to his writing and thinking.

The summer is also a great time to catch up on The Next Class 2.0 podcast. In addition to the authors above, I spoke to Josh Hale, Chis Chandler, Katie Everett, Sr. Vickie Perkins, Jeffrey Sullivan, Lincoln Snyder, and Tim Uhl. Listen and watch at https://www.catholicvirtual.com/resources/the-next-class-2-0-podcast/.

Enjoy the summer!

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President, Catholic Virtual

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