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It’s National Library Week #NLW14 and if you’re like me, you were introduced to your love of books and learning through a library. To celebrate Day 1 of NLW14, today’s focus is on book studies for professional development. At Studer Group one of our eight factors that motivate and engage employees is “providing opportunities for development.” Studer Group’s 2010 Baldrige application included:

SG is highly attuned to the needs and desires of its workforce, including but not limited to…. professional development.

As a member of Studer Group’s Education division I experience this company commitment via colleague (expert) insights, Lunch and Learns, and opportunities for book studies. One book study included colleagues from across the company joining together during specified lunches to discuss the content and application of concepts from The Great Employee Handbook (2012). Our Education division uses book studies as an opportunity for not only extending our learning of new skills (e.g., social media and marketing), but to also build relationships across our team and with partners (e.g., Results That Last). Check out the video below of Dr. JoAnn Sternke, Superintendent of Pewaukee Schools (WI), sharing how the book Hardwiring Excellence led to new professional relationships and became the first of many book studies for this 2013 Baldrige Award winning district.


Superintendent Sternke and her colleagues are not alone in the K12 arena in using book studies to engage leaders and teachers in professional development or to create new professional partnerships. The following texts were identified by other school leaders as being used for book studies in districts:

Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success in Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time (Scott)

Student Centered Leadership (Robinson)

Visible Learning (and Visible Learning for Teachers) (Hattie)

Professional Learning Communities at Work: Best Practices for Enhancing Student Achievement (DuFour and Eaker)

Focus (Schmoker)

Delivering on the Promise (DeLorenzo, Battino, Schreiber, and Gaddy)

School Leadership That Works: From Research to Results (Marzano)

Becoming a Learning School (and another book Change Leader) (Fullan)

You Don’t Have To Be Bad To Get Better (McKay)

Having Hard Conversations (Abrams)

Talk About Teaching (Danielson)

A Sense of Urgency (Kotter)

QBQ! The Question Behind the Question (Miller)

A leap to focus on book studies and professional development as a means of celebrating National Library Week? “Libraries and librarians have a powerful and positive impact on the lives of Americans on a daily basis. Their stories are key to communicating the value of libraries” (ALA website). In addition to communicating the value of the library, my childhood community librarian was the one who challenged me to think critically about the book(s) I was reading… and selecting. And, she always engaged me in conversations about the book’s content. Sounds like the initial steps to a great book study and opportunity for learning!





Dr. JoAnn Sternke is Superintendent of Pewaukee School District (WI) which earned the 2013 Baldrige Award. Prior to the Baldrige, Sternke led the school district to receive the state’s highest award, the Wisconsin Forward Award. All schools in the district have an “excellence” distinction. Video clip is from the beginning of Sternke’s presentation at Studer Education’s What’s Right in Education conference titled “Creating a Culture of Excellence.” Dr. Sternke shared the continuous improvement process that set the stage for Baldrige recognition. Read our What’s Right post highlighting her presentation here and about the celebration of the district’s Baldrige award here. Follow Dr. Sternke on Twitter at @jsternke. For more information about Pewaukee School District check out its website at http://pewaukeeschools.schoolfusion.us/. Follow the school district on Twitter at @PewaukeeSD.

Our mission at Studer Education’s EBL K12 is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. To do this we partner with teachers and leaders to create results-oriented school cultures. Visit us online at http://eblk12.com to learn more about Studer Education and Evidence-Based Leadership in K12. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the sixth straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.