"Mark Smylie does something both highly difficult and highly unusual―he considers not only the practice of continuous improvement as an organizational strategy but also the underlying theory. Based on his review of the literature in education and other fields, he digs beneath the surface of the mantra 'continuous improvement' and provides a highly readable, clearly written, and impressively comprehensive exploration of its meaning. Then he moves from theory into practice by examining models of continuous improvement applied to schools and to non-educational organizations. What emerges is an extraordinarily helpful set of ideas for well-grounded implementation of continuous improvement principles and strategies in a school context." (Paul Kelleher, Norine R. Murchison Professor of Education 2009-05-21)
"Fills missing holes in understanding how to create effective school systems that promote and support continuous improvement in all aspects of district operations. The author provides a plethora of references and interesting quotes to support his work." (Douglas Gordon Hesbol, Superintendent 2009-05-22)
"While reading this book I became so engaged with the research and the synthesis of ideas at work that I found myself stopping often to reflect on what I knew and what I had experienced as an educator. I realized I had reached a deeper understanding of the aspects of continuous change. This has already had an impact on my thinking as I begin to plan for next year’s staff development." (Margarete Couture, Elementary Principal 2009-05-22)
"Smylie's book provides an insightful, interdisciplinary perspective on our efforts to create schools that continuously focus on improving teaching and learning. Readers will appreciate his synthesis of what we know about guiding the process of organizational improvement. This book will serve as an excellent resource for researchers and practitioners interested in school reform." (Richard Halverson, Associate Professor 2009-06-09)
"For educators and their supporters who wish schools to be a better place for young learners and professional staff, this volume will help get them there. A must-read now―and again a year from now―as educators (continue to) improve their understanding of how to strengthen the educational enterprise." (Michael Knapp, Director 2009-08-07)
About the Author
Mark A. Smylie is professor of education at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Smylie’s research concerns school organization and processes of school organizational change, administrative and teacher leadership and development, and urban school improvement. His work has appeared in the American Education Research Journal, Educational Researcher, Educational Administration Quarterly, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Educational Policy, Journal of School Leadership, and Review of Research in Education. He has contributed chapters to numerous books on teachers and teaching, leadership and administration, and educational change.
Smylie has been chair of the Educational Policy Studies Department in the College of Education at UIC and secretary-treasurer of the National Society for the Study of Education. He also served as a director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago. Smylie has been awarded a National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellowship, the William J. Davis Award from the University Council for Educational Administration, and the American Educational Research Association’s Research Review Award. He has been a Residential Fellow at the Spencer Foundation. Before his work in higher education, Smylie was a high school history teacher. He has maintained a close relationship with schools and school districts through joint projects and professional development activity. He has consulted with numerous regional and national professional and policy organizations concerned with education.
He received his PhD from Vanderbilt University and BA and MEd degrees from Duke University.