Report To The Principal’s Office: Tools for Building Successful High School Administrative Leadership


The main category of the book:
Effective High School Building Leadership

2. Other subject categories: Preparation for the School Principal’s Certification Exam and the School Building Appointment Interview; School Supervision and Administrative Leadership; The Criteria for Selecting and Evaluating a School Principal, Job Requirements, and the Job Analysis of the Principalship; The Structure, Functional Components, and Organizational Elements of a High School; Effectively Managing Administrative and Instructional Practices That Raise Student Academic Achievement; Effective Organizational and Institutional Leadership.


The Principal is the single most critical difference maker in a school’s success or failure, says exceptional new text!

‘Report to the Principal’s Office’: A Standards & Solutions Based Guide for Effective School Building Leadership!

Professors, superintendents, principals, aspiring principals, teachers, parents; and policy-makers are all embracing an intrepid new book on educational leadership. Report to the Principal’s Office: Tools for Building Successful High School Administrative Leadership (RTTPO) is veteran educator Michael A. Johnson’s blueprint for inspiring greater vision and accountability in our public schools. There’s no better time to reinvigorate education and this book arrives when critically needed.

Following a successful launch at Georgia State University, RTTPO is finding its way to readers who appreciate Johnson’s honest, forward thinking and passionate appeal to transform our present approach to developing effective school building leadership. A highly successful former teacher, principal and district superintendent, Johnson defines and demystifies both the fundamental and intangible aspects of the principalship by sharing his own school leadership personal journey. His ‘straight talk’, clear and cogent analysis is easily applicable to any school setting. The approach focuses on problem-posing and solution-based challenges that all principals face every day. The book, although a best practices school leadership textbook, also explains why the principalship is ultimately a calling to a labor of love.

While primarily dedicated to effective high school building leadership RTTPO is applicable to all grade levels of schooling and other areas of public and private leadership. Its chapters cover in lively fashion: the ethics and philosophies of good principals; creating successful students; school tone, climate and culture; security; counseling; STEM; STEAM; the library; dean’s office; Standardized Testing: preparation, security and integrity; and much more. The author discusses every influential part of a school’s life; and in his words: “For that which is not thoughtfully and strategically managed in a school building by the principal, will still get ‘managed’, just not in the best interest of good teaching and learning; raising academic achievement is not an accidental process!”

Johnson founded two highly acclaimed STEM-CTE high schools – Brooklyn’s Science Skills Center H.S. and Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering H.S.–Washington D.C. He was a district superintendent in NYC; Albany, NY; and Louisiana; as well as an adjunct professor of Science Education at St. Johns University School of Education. Johnson was an Expert Peer Review Panelist for the National Science Foundation, and part of the team that developed the NAPE science exam. He partnered with CISCO to create a computer certification program and a Cyber Forensics course and team. He also worked with agencies such as NYU-Polytech University, the Office of Naval Research and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop Four high school robotics teams/programs. He’s been featured in The New York Times, The China Daily (PRC), Fortune Magazine, and on NBC, CNN, PBS, etc. Now fellow education leaders-innovators, university administration & supervision instructors, and district & school administrators, celebrate this comprehensive treatise on the theory and practice of exemplary school leadership principles.

A Sample of Praise (abbreviated) for Report to the Principal’s Office

“Essential to support and encourage new and current school leaders. Michael Johnson takes a look at all the intricacies of the principalship, including self-reflection and personal experience that impact current practice when most educational leadership books overlook the influence and impact of who we are in how we make our leadership decisions. Thanks to this well-thought out and provoking book from Michael Johnson, educational leaders have a toolkit to provide direction and support for all levels of leadership.”—Susan Cleveland, High School Principal San Antonio, TX

“Report to the Principal’s Office is a phenomenological leadership treatise that both invites and commands the educational leader to vision both the macro and micro designs in crafting a school all kids deserve… Centered in that sweet spot of adult learning that has you taking notes and taking walks, reflecting and revising, humbled and inspired, resolved and recommitted in what some would argue is the greatest leadership position in our society – that in which you have the power to transform and liberate our next generation of young people. A must-read for every leadership program and graduate school of education in the US.”—Darian C. Jones, Ph. D., Founder / CEO Sankore’ Prep

“I have had the unique opportunity to work with thousands of some really great schools in two of the largest school districts in our nation (NYC and L.A.). And I can say without hesitation, that there is no one more singularly significant, and uniquely situated influencer for the success or failure of a school than its building leader—the principal. Michael puts onto the pages of this book those great school leadership qualities that I observed when I visited (his) Science Skills Center High School, Brooklyn NY in the 1990’s. But it also brought back memories of my own high school leadership experience, a wonderful reminder of why those of us who took up this educational calling, dutifully and honorably answered that call. So, you think you want to be a school principal? Well, first read this book, and then decide!”—Ray Cortines, former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Education, and former Los Angeles Deputy Mayor for Education, former Chancellor of NYC Public Schools…

“Michael Johnson succeeds in doing what books on educational leadership rarely do. Because it is so finely attuned to the full range of roles the principal of an urban public school plays, this book offers the reader an incredibly useful, detailed examination of best practices… Report to the Principal’s Office gives us all hope that equitable change and intellectual rigor are possible in our urban public schools, and that the principal plays a vital role in making this happen. Johnson backs up this deeply held belief with a formidable mix of moral courage, organizational genius and strategic intelligence. In so doing, he has given us all a gift.”—Frank Pignatelli, Ph.D., Bank Street College of Education, Chair Educational Leadership Dept. (retired)

“This remarkable book is full of wisdom on everything from leadership philosophy to maintaining an effective nurse’s office. I first met Michael Johnson in the early 1990s and was struck then by the boldness and humane intelligence of his educational vision. That vision has developed and deepened over the years and is distilled in this indispensable guide to school leadership.”—Mike Rose, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, author of two books on education, most recently, Why School?: Reclaiming Education for All of Us.

“As a former principal and school district deputy superintendent, I know well the organizational hurdles that can either qualify or disqualify a school leader. I read the book as I would a textbook that I would use with my graduate students, and it is clearly student and instructor friendly. Our nation’s schools are in serious need of great and exceptional school leaders. And so I hope that this book will find its way into many supervision and administration course syllabi reading list.”—Sheila Jackson, Virginia Department of Education Office of School Improvement (OSI)

“Michael Johnson has provided a school leadership resource that is beneficial for principals at all grade levels. He has created an excellent study guide for graduate students enrolled in Educational Leadership, Administration and Supervision certification programs, and those educators preparing to take a school-administrator licensing exam.”—Althea Serrant, former teacher, principal & superintendent. Now a School Improvement/Principal Coach Georgia

“Michael Johnson says his book is, ‘a knowledge and skills mastery check-off guide for teachers and APs aspiring to become school building principals.’ But it’s a lot more – it distills what Michael learned from running exemplary science skills afterschool programs, successful science-focused high schools, and as a very effective Superintendent of a challenging New York City community school district.”—Norm Fruchter, Deputy Director NYU Metro Center

“I attended the NYCDOE high school where the author served as my principal. And now I am presently serving as a NYCDOE school principal. My school is filled with students depending on me to make education a path that will allow them to create present and future positive outcomes in their personal lives… I found in my reading and reflection that the leadership and inspirational concepts that planted the seeds of my becoming a professional educator 20+ years ago are clearly, and with great detail, outlined in this book.”—Dr. Shonelle Hall, Principal, P.S./I.S. 41 Beautiful Brownsville, Brooklyn New York

“This book RTTPO, is not only a great read – it should be on every school principal’s desk and anyone seeking a position as a school leader!”—Dr. Gene Alvin Geisert, former teacher, principal, superintendent, former AASA Superintendent of the Year and Dean of the school of Education, St. John’s University (Retired)

RTTPO is not only an investment in our future; it is the rare education leadership-focused book that all those in leadership positions will find absorbing, enlightening and challenging. The phrase: “top down” has lately fallen on hard times; this unfortunately has caused us to overreact and ignore the critical pedagogical and leadership power of the school principal. This book seeks to correct that oversight.

Report to the Principal’s Office (ISBN-13: 978-0692066317), 484 pages, $25, is available for purchase in hard-copy or Kindle on: Amazon at, Barnes & Noble at and Books A Million at

About the Author…

Michael A. Johnson is a native New Yorker and a proud product of NYC’s public school system. This was also the city where he spent the majority of his personal and professional life. He has served as a Public School: Teacher, Science Skills Center Director, Principal and several years’ experience as a school district Superintendent.

Over an 11 year period he led in the designing, building, and serving as the principal for two state of the art Science Technology, Engineering & Mathematics-Career Technical Education (STEM-CTE), Title 1 urban high schools. He also served as an adjunct professor of Science Education, in the School of Education at St. John’s University.

His book: Report To The Principal’s Office represents a compilation of the lesson plan objectives’ & notes from a Teacher to Assistant Principal (AP), and AP to Principal courses that he taught as Superintendent of Community School District 29 in Queens, New York. It also serves as the working-reflection textbook from many years of serving as a principal and superintendent. During those 20+ years he was responsible for appointing, mentoring, professionally developing, supervising, evaluating/rating, and unfortunately, in some cases, removing school principals from their positions. This book is about focusing on and defining the best practices of an effective school-based leader (SBL), the principal.

Some of his appointments include: The New York State Education Department Commissioner’s Advisory Council on Equity and Excellence in Mathematics and Science Education, Albany, New York. Health Careers Opportunity Program, College of Health-Related Professions Task Force, State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn, New York The Pre-College Science Education Initiate for Science Museums Review Panel, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Bethesda, Maryland. Expert Grants Peer-Review Panel, National Science Foundation, Washington. Educational Testing Service, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Science Assessment Exam Development Committee, Princeton, New Jersey. Clarke Fellow in Science and Mathematics Education, Teacher’s College Columbia University. Charles H. Revson Fellow for the Future of NY, Columbia University, New York. Trustee Brooklyn Public Library System.

A Few Of His Awards: “Special Recognition Award”, Kings County Club National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club. “Recognition Award”, Women’s League of Science and Medicine. “Ailanthus Award” for Community Service, State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn. “President’s Award for Outstanding Educator”, Medgar Evers College of City University of New York, Education Conference. “Award of Excellence”, City of New York Human Resources Administration. Proclamation, The City Council of N. Y.; Council Member 35th District, Brooklyn. “1993 Bridge Builders Award”, Black Child Development Institute. “Humanitarian Award”, Youth Law Center. “Community Service Award”, NYEX – Minority Management Association. “Community Service Award”, Caribbean Women’s Health Association, Inc. The Evelyn Brown Clarke Memorial Scholarship Foundation, Science Educator Award. Brooklyn Public Library Board of Trustees, Award for Service. “The Faithful Servant Award”, Progressive Club of Concord Baptist Church of Christ. “Outstanding Service”, American Legion, Department of New York Zone 2. “Meritorious Award”, National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club. “Congressional Achievement Award”, Congressman Gregory Meeks. “School District Leadership Award”, Congressman Major Owens. “Dream of King” Community Service Award, Hip Hop Summit Youth Council. NAACP, Albany, NY; Albany Branch Award, April. Resolution of Recognition U. S. Senate Floor; September 14, 2006; Congressional Record-Senate; S9581; U.S. Member of the Senate; Mary Landrieu (La) Global Diversity Innovation Award; World Diversity Leadership Council; Boston Symphony Hall; Boston, Mass. U.S. Architect Of The Capital Appreciation Award. U.S. Department of State Award: “For Contributions Fostering Global Understanding Through Language Learning and Support of the National Security Language Initiative”. U.S. Department of State Appreciation Award: “For Dedicated Support Of International Education and Exchange For the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows Program”.


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