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MAEC’s Reads: May 2021

It’s no surprise that so many of us love to read. After all, we are advocates for learning! Each month, our staff discusses the books we are reading. These books (listed below) help us think about how to best fulfill the mission of MAEC and how to become the best leaders we can be. We will post new lists over time, and we welcome your suggestions. What should our staff be reading? Tell us about it on Twitter @MAEC4Ed.


1. Black Lives Matter at School: An Uprising for Educational Justiceedited by Denisha Jones and Jesse Hagopian
Recommended by Mira Best
Black Lives Matter at School succinctly generalizes lessons from successful challenges to institutional racism that have been won through the Black Lives Matter at School movement. This book will inspire many more educators and activists to join the Black Lives Matter at School movement at a moment when this antiracist work in our schools could not be more urgent and critical to education justice.

2. Coaching for Equity: Conversations that Change Practice, by Elena Aguilar
Recommended by Mariela Puentes
If we hope to interrupt educational inequities and create schools in which every child thrives, we must open our hearts to purposeful conversation and hone our skills to make those conversations effective. With characteristic honesty and wisdom, Elena Aguilar inspires us to commit to transforming our classrooms, lays bare the hidden obstacles to equity, and helps us see how to overcome these obstacles, one conversation at a time.

3. The Copyeditor’s Handbook, by Amy Einsohn, Marilyn Schwartz, and Erika Buky
Recommended by Hugo Nájera
Unstuffy, hip, and often funny, The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications has become an indispensable resource both for new editors and for experienced hands who want to refresh their skills and broaden their understanding of the craft of copyediting.

4. The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity, by Nadine Burke Harris, M.D.
Recommended by Nyla Bell
The stunning news of Burke Harris’s research is just how deeply our bodies can be imprinted by ACEs—adverse childhood experiences like abuse, neglect, parental addiction, mental illness, and divorce. Childhood adversity changes our biological systems, and lasts a lifetime.

5. Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need, by Sasha Constanza-Chock
Recommended by Kasia Razynska
What is the relationship between design, power, and social justice? “Design justice” is an approach to design that is led by marginalized communities and that aims explicitly to challenge, rather than reproduce, structural inequalities. It has emerged from a growing community of designers in various fields who work closely with social movements and community-based organizations around the world.

6. Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds, by adrienne maree brown
Recommended by Jenny Portillo
Change is constant. The world is in a continual state of flux. It is a stream of ever-mutating, emergent patterns. Rather than steel ourselves against such change, this book invites us to feel, map, assess, and learn from the swirling patterns around us in order to better understand and influence them as they happen.

7. Equity Partnerships: A Culturally Proficient Guide to Family, School, and Community Engagement, by Angela R. Clark-Louque, Randall B. Lindsey, Reyes L. Quezada, and Cynthia L. Jew
Recommended by Karmen Rouland
Here at last is a resource that will open up access and reveal all-new ways to forge more culturally inclusive partnerships with families and communities . . . partnerships that extend well beyond parent-teacher conferences, PTA meetings, and the occasional bake sale.

8. Leading with Dignity: How to Create a Culture That Brings Out the Best in People, by Donna Hicks, Ph.D.
Recommended by Marianna Stepniak
This landmark book from an expert in dignity studies explores the essential but underrecognized role of dignity as part of good leadership. Extending the reach of her award-winning book Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict, Donna Hicks now contributes a specific, practical guide to achieving a culture of dignity.

9. Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation through Anger, by Lama Rod Owens
Recommended by Karmen Rouland
In the face of systemic racism and state-sanctioned violence, how can we metabolize our anger into a force for liberation? White supremacy in the United States has long necessitated that Black rage be suppressed, repressed, or denied, often as a means of survival, a literal matter of life and death. Lama Rod Owens shows how this unmetabolized anger–and the grief, hurt, and transhistorical trauma beneath it–needs to be explored, respected, and fully embodied to heal from heartbreak and walk the path of liberation.

10. The Practitioner’s Guide to Governance as Leadership: Building High-Performing Nonprofit Boards, by Cathy A. Trower
Recommended by Carol Gant
The Practitioner’s Guide to Governance as Leadership offers a resource that shows how to achieve excellence and peak performance in the boardroom by putting into practice the groundbreaking model that was introduced in the book, Governance as Leadership.

11. Street Data: A Next-Generation Model for Equity, Pedagogy, and School Transformation: First Edition, by Shane Safir
Recommended by Kasia Razynska
Education can be transformed if we eradicate our fixation on big data like standardized test scores as the supreme measure of equity and learning. Instead of the focus being on “fixing” and “filling” academic gaps, we must envision and rebuild the system from the student up―with classrooms, schools and systems built around students’ brilliance, cultural wealth, and intellectual potential. Street data reminds us that what is measurable is not the same as what is valuable and that data can be humanizing, liberatory and healing.

12. The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, by Heather McGhee
Recommended by Kate Farbry
Heather McGhee’s specialty is the American economy—and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. From the financial crisis to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a common root problem: racism. But not just in the most obvious indignities for people of color. Racism has costs for white people, too. It is the common denominator of our most vexing public problems, the core dysfunction of our democracy and constitutive of the spiritual and moral crises that grip us all. But how did this happen? And is there a way out?

13. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo and Michael Eric Dyson
Recommended by Paul Smith
The New York Times best-selling book explores the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.






The MAEC blog is designed to engage hearts and minds of school and district leaders across the country to engage in issues that you have identified as being essential in education. Opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.

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