Charismatic Principal Shares Compelling Insights for Overcoming Current Obstacles in Education

Charismatic Principal Shares Compelling Insights for Overcoming Current Obstacles in Education

WESTPORT, Conn. — Without question, schools today grapple with obstacles unheard of a generation ago, and yet, elementary school principal Dr. Kathleen Corley has figured out how to transform her school into a warm, nurturing community where students embrace a passion for learning.

“We have a lot of challenges, but there are a lot of good things that happen in schools,” Dr. Corley said during a recent interview. “No matter what the challenges are, the teachers are right there, trying their best to do better than yesterday.”

Dr. Corley, who has been called a Pied Piper of Education, can be seen leading the student drumline down the halls of Palmetto’s Finest Award-winning Red Cedar Elementary School ( or welcoming students each morning playing the flute. Dr. Corley inspires her students and teachers to want to excel in the supportive culture she has fostered while emphasizing the power of fun.

“As I always say, nothing wonderful happens in the principal’s office. Rather, the magic happens in the classroom. Once a principal truly understands this, his or her overarching mission becomes clear: remove any and all impediments between good teachers and good teaching. It’s as uncomplicated as that,” Dr. Corley writes in the preface of her new book, The Magical Place We Call School.

In the book, Dr. Corley, a 40-year veteran in elementary education, shares how to overcome current obstacles in education with human interest stories that illuminate a brighter path forward. She explains how to:

· Leverage techniques that work, especially when children seem out of control.

· Protect the targets of bullying as well as reaching and changing a bully.

· Match the right teacher to the right job.

· Inspire “all hands on deck” and build a team mentality.

Written with humor, insight and optimism, Dr. Corley reminds readers that despite the problems in schools today — disagreements about what students should or should not be taught, the lingering effects of COVID, etc. — magic still happens in classrooms. But that magic needs more than wishful thinking; it requires tenacity and good design. In addition, teachers must be backed up and empowered by administrators. Administrators must be backed up by district officers. And policy makers must listen to district personnel.

Dr. Corley says schools can raise the bar. Extraordinary things still happen in schools across America. The Magical Place We Call School is the primer needed to heal the American education system and build a supportive learning community.

DR. KATHLEEN CORLEY is an award-winning educator, an authority on school culture and the charismatic principal at Red Cedar Elementary School in Bluffton, S.C. Renowned for her unique communication and leadership skills, Dr. Corley has a bachelor’s in music education from the University of Illinois; a master’s in music administration from Chicago Musical College, Roosevelt University; and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Illinois. An educator for more than 40 years, she is the founding principal of three elementary schools, including Bluffton Elementary, and later Red Cedar Elementary, serving as its only principal. She has been an assistant professor at Salem State University, and continues to mentor principals. For her musical training and her leadership, Dr. Corley is known as a Pied Piper of Education.

Amazon link:

The Magical Place We Call School

Publisher: Forefront Books

Release date: January 16, 2024

Hardcover: 256 pages


ISBN-13:? 978-1637632246



“An often encouraging, compassionate, and reasoned approach to running elementary schools.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Someday a techie will invent a chip that can pre-install 40 years of classroom wisdom into every new teacher or principal. Until then, we’ve got Dr. Kathleen Corley’s book.”

Lenore Skenazy, president of Let Grow, author of Free-Range Kids

“Well done, Dr. Corley, for writing such a wonderfully engaging, personal, positive, and sage book about what schools can — and most definitely should — be about.”

Bruce Marlowe, Ph.D., chair, Department of Education, University of South Carolina Beaufort