Monroe, Lorraine. (1997). Nothing’s Impossible: Leadership Lessons from inside and Outside of the Classroom. New York, New York. Times Books ISBN 1-891620-20-7
Nothing’s Impossible: leadership lessons from inside and outside the classroom (Monroe, 1997) is an excellent read. Dr. Monroe gives her audience encouragement and inspiration to go on in what appears to be a bleak and dismal situation. It leaves you with the sense that all things are possible.
This biographical piece gives readers an inside look into Dr. Monroe’s inspirational and educational journey from childhood to adulthood to classroom teacher to leadership to founder of the Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem, New York. This book offers a panoramic view into one woman’s ability to look at a dismal situation as an opportunity. The reader is given the true and raw reality of the educational system in this country when it comes to students who are from low-income areas or who have been labeled, “unteachable” and/or “unreachable.” The book gives a front row view of how students’, teachers, staff, and parents work together in the New York public school system to ensure that their students are given the opportunity at an equitable, quality education.
Although his text is a collection of Dr. Monroe’s professional and life experience, each chapter is filled with stories that shaped her life as a child, a person, a leader and an educator. Although each story is not filled with success and greatness, the reader is able to walk away from it reflecting on what went wrong, what can be done differently to make a situation better. Dr. Monroe gives us inspiration at the beginning of each chapter with inspirational quotes that are simple, yet thought-provoking. It gives the reader the ability to say, “YES I CAN” and “YES I WILL.” It leaves the reader with a sense of accomplishment and determination that all things are possible with a group of “Creatively Crazy” (Monroe, 1997) people.
This book gives a refreshing outlook on a dismal educational system that many had written off. Dr. Monroe strategically guides us through a system that even the highest authority figures had given up on. She shows that money is not the answer for a system that continues to fail our students and society. She gives us a sense that WE, as educational leaders, are all we need in order to engage and develop successful students. With the right leader and group of people, we can determine our own destiny for our future and that of our children.
This book left me with a renewed commitment to continue with my educational goals. I am committed to finishing this journey with both feet planted firmly. I strive to be a leader that looks as the IMPOSSIBLE as an opportunity for SUCCESS!