Hilary Street, education leadership consultant, writer and former editor of the NAHT Leadership Paper Series
Authentic, refreshing, searingly honest and witty are the adjectives that come immediately to mind on reading A Head Full of Ethos. Armando Di-Finizio draws on his three headships in challenging schools, which he has led to become successful and sustainable organisations, and uses that experience to provide practical advice and guidance about the process of leadership. The book is underpinned by his belief that positive relationships and a clearly articulated vision and values are at the core of a successful school.
I have read many leadership books but none get ‘down and dirty’ with the reality of being a school leader day in, day out. And none give as much space to the importance of what it means to be an adolescent, and the implications of that for school leadership, as this book does. Armando offers sound, practical advice that new leaders (and indeed established leaders) can implement in their own context. Although I would advise reading the book from cover to cover, you can also home in on specific sections that have particular relevance to you. The book is easy to navigate, and the ‘What to take from this chapter’ crib sheets provide useful summaries.
The principles invoked and the guidance given are supported throughout by reference to relevant research, and by the experiences of other colleagues – whose contribution to his thinking he generously acknowledges. The humility that runs throughout this book is underpinned by Armando’s steely determination to lead always in accordance with his principles and deeply held beliefs, which have proved so successful in practice.