Matt Schilit on Professional Reading as Vital for School Leaders


Matt Schilit is a longtime school administrator, having served as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal. In his current position with the Allendale County School District, Matt Schilit leads all data, evaluation, and testing.

Matt Schilit knows that as an educator, he has a responsibility to never stop learning. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he began working toward a master’s in educational administration, graduating in 2003. But having a master’s wasn’t enough—Matt Schilit is currently attending classes at the University of South Carolina, where he will soon earn his educational specialist degree.

Even when he isn’t in school, Matt Schilit is still learning. Ever the reader, he is always searching for books that can help him grow as an educational administrator and leader. Here are a few books Matt Schilit recommends for anyone working in the field of education today.

  • The Shark and the Goldfish by Jon Gordon—According to Matt Schilit, this book centers on the mind’s power over our success, pointing out that even during tough times, those who believe in themselves will prevail. Matt Schilit explains that Gordon uses a fable of a goldfish that learns to find food from a shark to illustrate how the difference between a full and empty stomach depends on a person’s belief in himself or herself.
  • The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon—This book focuses on the importance of productivity, Matt Schilit explains, offering 10 rules to refuel every aspect of a person’s personal and work life by using positive thoughts. Matt Schilit is a firm believer in the power of positive thinking and The Energy Bus provides great words to live by.
  • The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John Maxwell—For leaders like Matt Schilit, this book highlights the qualities of a good leader on which readers can model their own work styles.

Matt Schilit states that the leadership qualities he exhibits in his work today have been bolstered by reading the works of Maxwell and Gordon. Not just for principals, Matt Schilit believes these books are must-reads for anyone in an educational leadership role, including everyone from teachers to school superintendents.

The books above are especially helpful because they focus on how to become a leader worth following. According to Matt Schilit, they also help leaders deal with the ever-changing field of education. As school administrators, Matt Schilit believes it is important to be innovative, change with the times, and work with a variety of personalities, all while keeping in mind that students come first.

Since 2012, Matt Schilit has served as coordinator of data and testing for the Allendale County School District in Fairfax, S.C. In this capacity, Matt Schilit oversees testing and reporting for the school district.

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