[semester equivalent = 1.33 credits]



Mary Ann Johnson



Leaders can’t avoid adversity, but they can choose to use it to become stronger.  In Resilient School Leaders:  Strategies for Turning Adversity Into Achievement, authors Jerry L. Patterson and Paul Kelleher, show how to move forward during times of difficulty or crisis, with such topics as student walkouts, firing staff, getting fired, district boundary disputes, over-reaching board members, and having your integrity or competence challenged.  From the reading you will find how to create resilient school teams and support teams that can function well in difficult times.
Using information from the book, leaders have the choice of how to interpret adversity and how they can use their resilience skills, courage, and core values to turn potential disasters into events with long-lasting positive outcomes.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. Learned the three dimensions of resilience capacity.
  2. Learned the four phases of the resilience cycle.
  3. Learned how to analyze the causes and risks posed by adversity.
  4. Learned how to plan a course of action.
  5. Learned how leaders sustain and strengthen personal efficacy and energy.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

The use of artificial intelligence is not permitted. Assignment responses found to be generated by AI will not be accepted.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Resilient School Leaders:  Strategies for Turning Adversity Into Achievement

  • Resilient School Leaders: Strategies for Turning Adversity Into Achievement
    ISBN# 1416602674
    by Patterson, Jerry L, Kelleher, Paul

    Buy from Amazon


Text cost is approximately $1.00 used from Amazon.



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: Resilience.

From “Chapter 1:  A Deeper Meaning of Resilience”  Please introduce yourself and tell why you have chosen this book.  What are the components of resilience capacity?  When the authors refer to the elasticity of your fuel tank, what do they mean?

Assignment #2: About Resilience.

Explain why the dimension of action is a pivotal component of resilience.  What happens to your resilience when the action component is missing?

Assignment #3: The Resilience Cycle.

Explain the four phases of the resilience cycle.

Assignment #4: Optimism.

From “Chapter 2:  Optimism in the Face of the Storm”  What are six key questions that will illuminate your relative degree of optimism?  What was one of the best insights you gained from this chapter?

Assignment #5: Problem Areas.

Why are realistic optimists so determined to uncover problem areas and understand how these areas contributed to the problems?

Assignment #6: Optimism & Pessimism.

From “Chapter 3:  Optimism and Pessimism in Action”  Reflect on the scenario the authors describe in the beginning of the chapter and discuss how you would typically respond to this scenario.  Based on your response, at what point on the pessimism-optimism scale would you fall?

Assignment #7: Answer a Question.

Answer one (1) of the following questions:  Share what you learned from the interviewees’ actions that will help you strengthen your level of realistic optimism.
OR   Explain what the authors mean when they claim that sometimes giving up is a strength?

Assignment #8: Insights.

What insights have you gained from the six (6) questions used to define the profile of realistic optimists?

Assignment #9: Personal Values Hierarchy.

From "Chapter 4:  Be Clear About What Matters Most" Describe the three levels of the Personal Values Hierarchy.

Assignment #10: Answer a Question.

Answer one (1) of the following questions:  The authors say: The proverbial rub comes when competing values jockey for position in the Personal Values Hierarchy.  What do they mean?  OR   When a person is faced with adversity and tension caused by competing values, how does the Personal Values Hierarchy help him/her decide how to move ahead?

Assignment #11: 3 Sets of Dynamics.

Based on “Chapter 5:  Act on the Courage of Your Convictions”  Explain the three sets of dynamics depicted in the Personal Strengths Triangle.

Assignment #12: Answer Another Question.

Answer one (1) of the following questions:  Describe the key elements in the Checking for Alignment Inventory.  OR
A school leaders’ ability to act in accordance with his or her values is complicated by three sets of pressure conditions.  What are those?

Assignment #13: Personal Efficacy.

From “Chapter 6:  Personal Efficacy”  To what extent do you think your sense of efficacy affects your ability to be successful?

Assignment #14: On Leaders.

From “Chapter 7: How Leaders Sustain and Strengthen Personal Efficacy” Answer one (1) of the following questions: How can you, or anyone, recover more quickly from setbacks?  How can you reduce your defensiveness and stay open to new information, even when it is negative?
OR  Look at the two lists of traits.  Which of the elements in each list are already in your leadership profile?

Assignment #15: Personal Energy.

From “Chapter 8:  The Meaning and Importance of Personal Energy”  Why is energy important to resilience?  How can a person more fully exercise his/her responsibility to be an energy creator in an organization?

Assignment #16: Sustain & Increase Energy.

From “Chapter 9:  How Leaders Sustain and Increase Energy”  Answer one (1) of the following questions: What do you think of the research finding that when individuals feel they have personal choices, that belief affects their energy level? OR  Share the three anecdotes that speak most strongly to you.  Explain why you chose them?

Assignment #17: Team Resilience.

From “Chapter 10:  From Personal Resilience to Team Resilience”  Answer one (1) of the following questions:  How do realistically optimistic teams interpret adversity?  OR  What are the special contributions that teacher leaders can make to team resilience?

Assignment #18: COURSE FORUM.

From “Chapter 11:  Bringing It All Together:  Six Strengths of Resilient Leaders”
Answer one (1) of the following questions:  Of the six (6) strengths of resilient leaders, which one(s) do you feel are your strongest? Which do you feel you need to focus on to strengthen your resilience?  In each instance, indicate why you feel the way that you do.  OR  The authors conclude the book by saying, “We hope this book gives you added fuel and added strength for your journey amid life’s storms.”  From your perspective, were the authors successful?  Explain.
Would you recommend this book to others who are considering becoming a school administrator?   What would you say about the book to justify your opinion? If other students have already written comments, please respond to the one(s) that caught your attention.



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #19: Lesson Development.

Assignment #19:   (Required for 400 and 500 Level)
Assignment #19-A:
  • Adapt a lesson reflecting what you’ve learned in this course.
  • Implement your lesson with students.
  • Write a 250-500 word commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
  • Include any student feedback on your lesson.
  • Share what you’ve learned with other teachers taking our courses by adding your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here.
  • For a sample lesson plan template click here.
  • Submit your modified lesson to your instructor via the online response box or file upload.
Assignment #-B:
  • Adapt a lesson reflecting what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
  • Share your learning with other teachers by contributing your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here.
  • For a sample lesson plan template click here.
  • Write a 500+ word article about a noteworthy teaching success you’ve had with one or more students.
  • Please refer to the guidelines on our blog What Works: Teaching at its Best prior to writing your article.
  • When you submit your article to your instructor, please also email a copy to Renee Leon THI blog curator and media specialist.
  • Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website. 
  • Submit your lesson to your instructor via the response box or file upload.

Assignment #20: (500 Level ONLY)

In addition to the 400 level assignments, complete one (1) of the following options:
Option A) Create a PowerPoint presentation for a group of colleagues. Focus on key ideas and inspiring innovations to augment current practices.
Option B) Compare and contrast this book with another related book or online research of articles.  For online research be sure to include URLs.


Assignment #21: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Mary Ann Johnson, M.Ed Adm. has worked with students of all levels, from alternative high school to gifted classes. She has also been a junior high vice principal and is now working with teachers for continuing education in classes, distance learning and building leadership groups. She is a teacher emeritus who has led seminars for educators which focus on developing a quality learner environment for students and for teachers. Her courses are research-based and resonate with user-friendly and energizing content.



Alvy, Harvey & Robbins, Pam.  Learning from Lincoln, Leadership Practices for School Success, pb, 192 pages, ASCD, 2010. ISBN: 978-1-4166-102306.
In a fascinating focus on ten qualities of Abraham Lincoln that would grace any leader, but especially a leader of a public service vocation, Alvy and Robbins bring anchor stories of Lincoln’s  key moments and decisions that inform and inspire anyone  working to lead and improve the quality of life for others in his/her domain.  Primary source examples of Lincoln’s personal trials and his compassion lead to personal reflections for the reader to consider in their own Leadership Story. This is a powerful review of American history that leads to a personal exploration of one’s own leadership style.
GRUENERT, Steve & WHITAKER, Todd. School Culture Rewired: How to Define, Assess, and Transform It, pb,175 pages, ASCD, 2015.  The hardest job for most administrators is to deal with a school culture that is not healthy.  In the process, there can be disappointment  for leaders in managing the course corrections.  But with the directions given leaders in this book, there are many insights to avoid likely pitfalls and to point out  a wide range of “leverage points” when changes are most easily made. The book is encouraging and realistic as a guide for the difficult job of rewiring a school’s negative culture without causing career  and personal pain.
COVEY, Stephen, Merrill, A. Roger & Merrill, Rebecca R. First Things First, Fireside, 1996, pb, 371 pages.  The problems of time management are addressed for people who feel they are squeezed when their personal life goals and the rest of their life are out of balance.  The key difference lies in analyzing how to balance the clock and the compass.  Sometimes it is a wake-up call that makes this a timely book, and sometimes it is just a vague feeling of dissonance, but you will find some interesting self-reflection insights in this book with a look at the eight approaches to time management, and how to tell which is the best to bring your life into balance.  Also available as an audio book!
KOUZES, James M. & POSNER, Barry Z. Learning Leadership: The Five Fundamentals of Becoming an Exemplary Leader, Wiley, 2016, pb, 272 pages.
ISBN: 978-1119144281.  The authors of this book are renowned, and in their latest work they include self-coaching guidelines to personalize the information in the research, which comes from studies in more than 70 countries.  Their focus is on the ongoing learning required of the best leaders, including self-awareness.  The leader is encouraged to examine some of the false prescriptions about power in leadership, and to keep focused on the values and actions that help stay centered and effective in stressful times.
SPARKS, Dennis. Leading for Results: Transforming Teaching, Learning, and Relationships in Schools, 2nd ed, pb, 213 pages, Corwin, 2007.  This may be the best book of wisdom an administrator can find to address, in a highly readable manner, the key needs of a practicing administrator.  It includes chapter topics about the focus on Transformation, through Clarity and Creation, Interpersonal Influence, A Culture that Promotes Professional Learning, Teamwork and Continuous Improvement, and Professional Learning and Doing.  There are places for reflection as well as energizing insights throughout the book.
SPARKS, Dennis. Leading Change in Your School:  How to Conquer Myths, Build Commitment, and Get Results, pb, 177 pages, ASCD, 2009.  Of course, in the process of leading change, there will be plenty of resistances and setbacks, but in this book you will be introduced to some of the dangerous myths that will lead to unsuccessful outcomes, and will be guided through strategies to reorient priorities when needed and to remember the values behind your leadership decisions.