Taking Charge is a practical guide to the craft knowledge of leading schools from an experienced principal, school reformer, and educational consultant. Drawing on his own experiences as well as the experiences of other school leaders, Shaw captures the essence of what principals do and the leadership traits they need to take charge for school improvement. Through vivid portrayals, the book presents the strategic actions taken by principals in their first 15 months on the job and demonstrates the importance of taking action quickly. From these narratives of practice emerge four guiding principles or pillars that underpin participatory leadership in high performing school learning communities. They are: knowing the student well; strong inclusive professional relationships; continuous development of intellectual capital; and powerful and cohesive pedagogical responsiveness in teaching across all classrooms. This book delivers a comprehensive program for successful school leadership that will speak to new and experienced principals, as well as all school leaders who want to make a difference in the life chances of all students.