Breaking Out of Isolation

Spike Cook, Millville, NJ 

Fresh ideas to help you meet the challenges of innovative leadership!

Overcome the hurdles of being a school leader and stay ahead with this helpful guide to battling isolation and getting connected. Through powerful vignettes and strategies, you’ll discover how innovation-minded school leaders connect to avoid isolation, lower stress, find support, and share ideas. Grow your professional practice and learn to:

  • Jumpstart and sustain your Professional Learning Network
  • Strategically and meaningfully connect with colleagues and staff
  • Overcome isolation for lasting impact

Includes tips for Twitter, Google Hangouts, Pinterest and more. Get real-world solutions with this easy-to-follow roadmap to transformational change!



“School leadership is a challenge that is made more difficult through isolation, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In this book, the authors lead you to reflect on what isolates you and share practical ways to help get connected to other school leaders.  This is a must read for the connected and soon to be connected leaders!

(Todd Whitaker, Professor of Department of Educational Leadership)

“Being a school leader can lead to incredible, life changing moments for kids, but it is also filled with a healthy dose of loneliness and isolation. Spike Cook, Jessica Johnson, and Theresa Stager do an excellent job in this book unearthing this reality and providing real, practical solutions for today’s school leader. They lay out an excellent roadmap on how today’s leaders can build connections across communities so that their teachers and students can excel.”

(Dr. Robert Dillon, Director of Innovation for the Affton School District)

“Finally, a book that names the classic problem of isolation for educational leaders: once you become the head of your own school or organization, it’s as if other schools cease to exist!  Filled with real-time examples and reflection questions from three dynamic, active principals who’ve crafted their own connected and growing practices, this book will be a resource and a comforting guide for anyone seeking to establish a personal or professional learning network, and lays a Twitter-connected path to the next steps of leadership development.”

(Kirsten Olson, Ed.D, PCC)

“Cook, Johnson, and Stager hit the nail on the head as they identify isolation as a major obstacle to the success of school leaders. Principals do not thrive by doing it on their own, and the authors present a readable guide on how to get and stay connected by building a professional learning network. Helpful vignettes from other educators and the authors’ own experiences add nuance to the book’s treatment of both the opportunities and challenges of connectedness. Particularly insightful is the discussion of how becoming connected outside of one’s school and district can paradoxically contribute to short-term feelings of isolation. For readers who know they need to reach out to others to become better leaders, but are not quite sure how to do so, this useful book provides encouragement and a useful road map. Reflection and action sections at the end of each chapter also provide practical steps any reader can take towards becoming a connected school leader.”

(Jeff Carpenter, Assistant Professor of Education and Director of Teaching Fellows Program)

“To connect, or not to connect, that is the question – or is it?  Spike, Jessica, and Theresa have provided school leaders at all levels of connectivity with a toolbox of resources and professionals to begin their digital journey.  As a novice in the social media world, I am empowered to begin expanding my Professional Learning Network (PLN) by utilizing and following the steps and experts they have suggested.”
(Brian Partin, Principal)

“Linchpin educational leaders Spike, Jessica, and Theresa epitomize growth mindsets as they share how they use social media every day to build linkages across their own school communities and within global professional learning networks. In Breaking Out of Isolation this writing team brings alive stories of connected educators who amplify their own mindful learning, power up resource sharing across networks, and support each other. If you want to learn how social media can make a difference in your own work as an educator or are looking to influence others, Breaking Out of Isolation will be a valuable resource.”

(Pam Moran, Superintendent)

“As a building administrator, this is an absolute must read. This book should be a go-to-guide for leaders for years to come. Spike, Jessica and Theresa understand the complexity of leadership and share several tips, strategies and thoughts to help leaders gain confidence and increase success. Simply put it is time to grab a paddle (or this book) and get off of the island.” (Ben Gilpin, Principal)

“As of now there are about 20 books in the Corwin Connected Educator Series, a seemingly ever-growing set of titles masterminded by Peter DeWitt and Corwin Press. Each book is short enough to be read in one sitting, which makes the collection ideal for book studies and professional development, both during the summer and throughout the school year. Also, each paperback is authored by one or two educators who speak (and blog, tweet, etc.) with a credible voice in the world of connected education. Some of the topics include:
  • Flipped leadership
  • Tools for connecting educators, parents, and communities
  • Blogging for educators
  • Best practices for establishing a makerspace
  • Tools to connect and empower teachers

Finally, all of the authors are active on social media, and they regularly present at local conferences, which helps in bringing to life the contents of these books.”

(Ross Cooper, Supervisor of Instructional Practice K-12)