Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard: Finding Your Purpose and Putting It to Work
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More About This Title Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard: Finding Your Purpose and Putting It to Work


How leadership with love can make lasting changes, even in the toughest situations

Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard offers real, actionable advice for those seeking to change the education system from within. While countless books, articles, and speeches decry the challenges disadvantaged students in low-performing schools face, no one has offered a clear path forward through these challenges—until now.

Author Linda Cliatt-Wayman, principal of Strawberry Mansion High School in Philadelphia, grew up in the same North Philadelphia neighborhood where she now leads and fought every single day for the chance to become a part of the solution. Today, she is a turnaround principal and popular TED Talk speaker who helps children living in poverty achieve more than they ever thought possible. In Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard, she provides hope, optimism, and a call to action to help all students reach their true potential. Steadfast leadership and clear principles can overcome almost anything, and this book shows you how to focus your passion, apply your skills, and lead your students down the path to a better future.

  • Discover and develop the leader within
  • Take responsibility and move forward every day
  • Give each student the critical interaction they crave
  • Be a force for real, positive change in neighborhood schools

Highlighting the intersection of strong visionary and strategic thinking with on-the-ground, day-to-day implementation, this narrative-driven guide tells the stories of real students and educators to show how clear principles and strong guidance can turn around schools—and the students they serve. 


LINDA CLIATT-WAYMAN has served as principal of several schools, most recently Strawberry Mansion High School in North Philadelphia, as well as Assistant Superintendent for all the 52 High Schools in the School District of Philadelphia. A passionate educator with an unwavering belief in the potential of all children, she has dedicated her career to helping chronically underserved students succeed in school and beyond. She recently heard the inner voice once more saying "It's time" and retired to advocate for justice and love in education for children in poverty. She has been featured on ABC World News Tonight and Nightline, has earned two honorary doctorate degrees, and delivered a TED Talk that has received more than 1.5 million views.


Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1 Envision 6

2 Discover 12

3 Select 17

4 Adapt 23

5 Synthesize 31

6 Rollout 37

7 Unveil 44

8 Implement 51

9 Amplify 61

10 Prepare 67

11 Audacity 75

12 Seek 81

13 Listen 88

14 Customized 94

15 Strength 101

16 Relentless 106

17 Steadfast 114

18 Realize 123

19 Confidence 130

20 Influence 139

21 Possible 147

22 Opportunity 154

23 Value 166

24 Courage 176

25 Purpose 181

Index 189