The NEW School Rules is for every leader who wants to effectively make change and create environments of growth, excitement, and passion.

The NEW School Rules has been featured in

Why We Wrote This

We noticed patterns in how our ways of working often hold us back, rather than move us forward. Schools and districts across the country spend millions of dollars on a long list of programs and initiatives to improve student outcomes, yet we’re grateful if we see student academic gains of a couple percentage points. Decisions take too long. Increasing and changing demands lead to confusion and too many things falling between the cracks. Everyone’s energy is sapped in the effort to defend decisions rather than take action. We know there is a better way to meet, function, and make decisions.

Co-author Anthony Kim

The 6 Rules

We spent the past seven years studying the practices that have the biggest impact on how organizations function and how work gets done. These six rules are the culmination of our research. The rules can be used in any order based on your team needs or organizational priorities. Each rule includes case studies, activities, and resources.

About the Book

The NEW School Rules: 6 Vital Practices for Thriving and Responsive Schools is both a practical guide for how to improve the practices of schools and districts as well as a thoughtful examination of the self-imposed barriers that can get in the way of getting work done in organizations. Designed to be actionable, the book offers leaders the ability to implement immediate change in order to have a lasting impact. While many books in education focus on curriculum, budgeting, technology or talent, The NEW School Rules focuses on processes, people and organizations. It is a game-changer in the education space.


The NEW School Rules offers a critical and timely framework to ensure that future generations are equipped to thrive in a rapidly-changing world.

Tony Hsieh
CEO of and NY Times Bestselling Author of Delivering Happiness



The NEW School Rules is inspirational, easy to read, and realistic. It offers specific, doable steps to help you get started with implementation and make strides toward becoming part of a responsive organization. Ideal for an administrative team book study

Kathy Rhodes
Principal Hinton Elementary, Hinton, IA



Every school district should read, digest and grok this book. In it, Anthony Kim and Alexis Gonzales-Black make a major contribution around how schools should organize, plan, create teams, and more. Not enough attention is paid to these areas that can have profound positive impacts on students, teachers and the community.

Michael Horn
Co-author, Disrupting Class and Blended


The NEW School Rules tackles organizational change in an interesting and accessible way with adaptable tools and protocols you’ll want to implement in your schools. The desired outcomes are clearly defined through an empathetic design approach

Jill Gildea
Superintendent, Greenwich Public Schools, Greenwich, CT



When we take something as beautiful and life-giving as education, and find that managing the institutions that provide it is soul-crushing, we know something is very wrong. The NEW School Rules shows us the problem, offers an alternative vision of educational administration, and gives us the practical tools to unlock new energy in ourselves and our colleagues. Every administrator should read this book.

Matthew Kramer
CEO of Wildflower Foundation, and former CEO of Teach For America



The NEW School Rules is a concrete, battle-tested roadmap for leaders who want to do right by kids by having the courage to help adults embrace change. The NEW School Rules encourages districts and schools to fundamentally rethink how they are organized in order to become more responsive, agile, innovative and, ultimately, effective. What I appreciate most is that the book is both visionary and evocative – and also practical and instructive. We must build education institutions that put kids’ needs in an ever-evolving world ahead of everything else.

Cami Anderson
Former Superintendent of Newark Public Schools



Discussions about improving education inevitably gravitate to things—curriculum, standards, assessments, technology, PD. In The NEW School Rules, Anthony Kim and Alexis Gonzales-Black make a highly compelling case that to fundamentally improve education the focus must be on process—specifically, the organizational management, structure and practice that govern how decisions are made and actions occur. And the authors go beyond simply supporting their hypothesis; they provide school administrators with an accessible how-to guide for implementing the kinds of organizational changes that will lead to real improvements in student outcomes.

JD Solomon
Editorial Director, District Administrator Magazine


Super practical rules on school change with all stated problems, lessons, and experiments you can try tomorrow. The New School Rules provides guidance on defining the work, encouraging experimentation, sharing leadership, accepting ambiguity, and turning schools into learning organizations. The New School Rules is a must read for teacher, school, and system leaders.

Tom Vander Ark
Getting Smart



The NEW School Rules is as important for adult learning as it is for student learning. This work recognizes that adults in the system have to learn, evolve, and grow if our kids are to succeed in an ever-changing world. I wish I’d had this book years ago!

Dale Erquiaga
President/CEO of Communities in Schools and former Nevada State Superintendent of Public Instruction



principal can pick this book up and find excellent advice to help her lead a school without micro-managing

Melissa Wood-Glusac
English Teacher, Thousand Oaks High School, Thousand Oaks, CA


Here’s what we’re reading and writing

Articles, reports, and activities related to The NEW School Rules

Reboot Our Schools

We need to reorganize our schools to mirror our day-to-day lives so formal learning is more relevant to students and the school workplace is more appealing to our teachers.

Workout #4A

In this workout for Decision-Making Rule #4, build the skills to take ideas that you might have said “won’t work” and make them safe enough for you and your team to try.

Rethink Consensus

Consensus as a strategy is often overused and misused. Instead of defaulting to consensus, we need to focus on how to get clearer about roles and authority.

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