Carefully chosen summaries to energize leadership, teaching, and learning

Praise for The Best of the Marshall Memo, Book One

The Best of the Marshall Memo Book One

“By creating this compilation of article summaries, Marshall and David-Lang have performed an incredible service to professional educators. This book is filled with practical yet insightful resources that will help educators in addressing some of the most complex and difficult issues they face. For educators who genuinely desire to make a difference, this book will be an invaluable resource.”

—Pedro Noguera, Professor of Education, UCLA


“The Best of the Marshall Memo provides busy educators with a concise toolkit that makes the research actionable. I wish I had this resource when I was principal of a large urban high school, always trying to solve the seemingly unsolvable problem.”

—Sue Szachowicz, former principal, Brockton High School/Brockton, MA


“Another great resource that my fellow superintendents and I will surely use! In our efforts to help leaders grow and think critically, this collection of article summaries will be a source of great conversations. Thank you, Kim Marshall and Jenn David-Lang, for an outstanding collection.”

—Curtis Jones, Superintendent, Bibb County Schools/Macon, GA; 2019 National Superintendent of the Year


 “I’ve long admired Kim Marshall’s dedication to improving teaching, leadership, and learning as a principal, principal-mentor, and writer. For more than 15 years, the Marshall Memo newsletter has been a vital resource for educators across the country. Now Kim has partnered with Jenn David-Lang to curate the very best Memo summaries and add specific action recommendations. With tips that range from the practical to the aspirational and even inspirational, The Best of the Marshall Memo is a veritable treasure trove full of gems for every educator who wants to better their schools, districts, and themselves.”

—John B. King Jr., President and CEO, The Education Trust; formerly tenth US Secretary of Education


“The Marshall Memo has long been the go-to guide for teachers and school administrators seeking sound advice about research that informs their work. Now, in this skillfully curated compendium of first-rate articles, Marshall and David-Lang provide readers with a trove of insight and commentary about key challenges that educators face in leadership, school organization, and instructional practice. The book brims with issues that will strike a professional chord, findings that will confirm and challenge educators’ beliefs, and resources to support individual learning and collegial growth. Keep this book within easy reach; you’ll use it often.”

—Susan Moore Johnson, Jerome T. Murphy Research Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education


“Kim Marshall, in collaboration with Jenn David-Lang, has reviewed, synthesized, and updated nearly 800 Marshall Memos he has written over the last fifteen years and produced an absolutely invaluable guide for school leaders. Under three broad headings—the leadership toolkit, more teaching in more classrooms more of the time, and structures for student success—this book provides school leaders an unprecedented amount of wisdom, drawing on research, of course, but also interpreting that research in the light of experience about how research can be implemented in real schools. Add in the clear signposting provided by the chapter headings, and this is, quite simply, a book that no school leader can afford to be without.”

—Dylan Wiliam, Emeritus Professor, University College London


“Whether we are principals, superintendents, coaches, or master teachers, we often find ourselves wishing we had a guardian angel on our shoulder helping us navigate the abundance of ideas and research on educational practice. Once we find great ideas and research in a particular area of practice we then wonder, “How can I use this effectively to polish my practice?” The Best of the Marshall Memo offers those of us engaged in the field practical solutions and key insights, as well as cautionary notes about ineffective practices in K–12 settings. A must-read for all leaders of teaching and learning!”

—Mary Nash, Superintendent, Maine School Administrative District No. 35/Eliot, ME; 2018 Maine Superintendent of the Year


“Kim Marshall has become a clarion voice in the crowded, murky field of educational leadership, identifying what matters most and sharing it in bite-sized form for educators across the globe. Kim’s and Jenn’s combination of real-world experience and visionary thinking creates a needed resource for every educator. Thank you—we’ve been waiting for this for a long time!”

—Paul Bambrick-Santoyo, Founder and Dean, Leverage Leadership Institute; Chief Schools Officer, Uncommon Schools


“I can’t overstate the contribution the Marshall Memo has made to my work over the years, with its exquisitely-written weekly summaries of the most important educational articles. Now comes The Best of the Marshall Memo, the very “best of the best” of those summaries, with helpful activities and advice for how to apply their contents. This book is masterfully-organized around the most critical issues of instruction and leadership. There is more practical, concentrated wisdom in its pages than in all of the education courses I have ever taken. The Best of the Marshall Memo should be given to every teacher and leader who enters the education profession.”

—Mike Schmoker, Author, Speaker, Consultant


“Kim Marshall and Jenn David-Lang have always provided an invaluable service to educators, condensing all the complex information on what works in education into digestible bites, so we can quickly learn what we need to learn and then get back to the business of teaching. And now, like a single pearl produced by an oyster over many years, we get the very best of their curation in one powerful book.”

—Jennifer Gonzalez, The Cult of Pedagogy


“I often speak of the amazing “teacher in 206,” whose combination of belief and instructional skill gets amazing results with all students. The Best of the Marshall Memo is founded on the same formula: belief that our students can learn and our teachers can teach them. Marshall and David-Lang have produced a highly organized set of topical, research-based summaries of instructional practice that, taken together, set a comprehensive foundation for practical classroom application. This is a crucial handbook for educator proficiency.”

—Jeffrey Howard, Founder and CEO, Efficacy Institute


“Kim and Jenn have given busy school and district leaders exactly what we need—a thoughtful review and summary of relevant research and concrete ways for us to share this knowledge with our school-based practitioners. The selected themes and essential questions will transform meetings into professional learning sessions. This is a must-have resource for any school or central office leader.”

—Joan Dabrowski, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Wellesley Public Schools/Wellesley, MA


The Best of the Marshall Memo is an essential resource for the modern educator. Teachers and school leaders alike will benefit from the thoughtfully curated analysis and review of recent educational research and articles. The book’s format helpfully lends itself to deep dives on key topics relevant to every school in America. Leaders can use this book to foster reflection, dialogue, and staff-wide engagement on important challenges facing their school communities. Smart educators will use this resource to deepen the effectiveness of their practices and build capacity in their schools.”

—Nicholas Tishuk, Executive Director, Bedford Stuyvesant New Beginnings Charter School/Brooklyn, NY


“As a school leader for the last 20 years, I have been both inspired and overwhelmed by the countless books, articles, research, and ideas out there that can make me and my school better. Being a principal feels like two full-time jobs; sifting and sorting through all of the learning and professional development materials could easily feel like a third. Over the years, Kim Marshall and Jenn David-Lang have saved me immeasurable time by leading me directly to the best resources and thinking in education and providing me with thoughtful, effective, and efficient ideas and tools to turnkey and share my growth and learning. I could not be more excited about this new book and brilliant collaboration.”

—Mark Federman, Principal, East Side Community School/New York, NY


“Drawn from almost 800 Marshall Memos, this new volume represents yet another impressive and deeply appreciated service, curating the curation into a gold mine of the best thinking on some of the most challenging K–12 issues. Added to this meta-curation are Jenn’s pragmatic step-by-step instructions for how staff can apply these ideas right away. A truly fabulous effort, Kim and Jenn!! You have us all spoiled.”

—Elizabeth Imende-Cooney, International Educational Consultant, Advancing Educators, Assistant Head of School, Chadwick School


“Kim Marshall and Jenn David-Lang are unquestionably the most eminent summarizers of articles and books in education today. In this volume they take their unique and inimitable talents to a new level, combining their works on topics at the forefront of nearly every education improvement initiative. The works they summarize range from persuasively argued opinions to careful research syntheses—and the authors of these works don’t reach the same conclusions or offer the same recommendations. So while readers may not come away with definitive answers to their most probing questions, they will gain a deeper understanding of the issues involved and the voices most influencing the discussion.”

—Thomas R. Guskey, Senior Research Scholar, University of Louisville; Professor Emeritus, University of Kentucky


“Change is vital and difficult. Kim Marshall and Jenn David-Lang show us the way. In this gift of collective wisdom from decades of service, Marshall and David-Lang offer all of us who care deeply about children, social justice, schools, districts, and systems a toolkit and roadmap to assist us in leading-for-improvement—on behalf of students’ achievement and growing leaders on the ground. This book is, indeed, a treasure chest. A must buy. You will feel very wise to gain from it and its practical wisdom and accessible tools to improve your noble work and build capacity each and every day.”

—Ellie Drago-Severson, Professor of Education Leadership and Adult Learning and Leadership, Teachers College–Columbia University


“The Marshall Memo has played an indispensable role for years now in helping educators and school leaders to access cutting-edge research that can inform their work. With this new volume, Marshall and David-Lang have developed a resource to allow educators and school leaders to dive thoroughly and deeply into the research on a set of topics and themes crucial to their success. This book promises to be an invaluable text for powerful professional development and learning.”

—Scott Seider, Associate Professor, Boston College–Lynch School of Education and Human Development


“I highly recommend Kim Marshall and Jenn David-Lang’s The Best of the Marshall Memo, a terrific and well-organized collection of article summaries and professional development suggestions. I have greatly benefited from the Marshall Memo over the years—while in PK–12, and now as a professor—and more recently I gained further appreciation while studying the Memo as a key resource, a bridge that can span and connect the too-often disparate worlds of research and practice. Marshall and David-Lang, focusing intently on ideas and practices that can improve teaching and learning, do a great service for educators.”

—Joel Malin, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Leadership, Miami University/Oxford, OH


“For leaders who smile each time they see a Marshall Memo or The Main Idea in their inbox, this book will be a treasure! Jenn David-Lang and Kim Marshall demonstrate their mutual commitment to leaders as learners, providing rich resources drawn from thousands of articles found in the Memo. Jenn David-Lang offers substantive, thoughtful ideas for professional learning connected to each chapter, allowing leaders to transfer and apply the concepts to their own unique needs. The Best of the Marshall Memo will serve as a powerful catalyst for professional growth, and will provide leaders with positive, creative ideas that are so needed in our schools today.”

—Debbie McFalone, Author, Educational Leadership Consultant 


“Discover actionable insights to improve teaching, deepen learning, and strengthen leadership. This first-ever collection of the best of the Marshall Memo and the Main Idea is a must-have for busy educators who want effective ideas, strategies, and techniques they can use to enhance their own practice and expand student outcomes.”

—Mary Grassa O’Neill, Senior Lecturer on Education; Faculty Director, School Leadership, Harvard Graduate School of Education


“This unique book presents key insights from the education literature through the lens of two lifelong educators. Marshall and David-Lang skillfully interweave summaries of leading education research with case studies and narratives from practitioners about what it really means to implement change on the ground. It is sure to be a powerful new resource for engaging in evidence-based conversations about how to improve leadership and instruction in our nation’s schools.”

—Matthew A. Kraft, Associate Professor of Education and Economics, Brown University


The Best of the Marshall Memo is a must-have-at-your-fingertips tool. This book contains information for what you have to know to lead effectively; it also has what you need to do to be an efficient and impactful leader. Kim and Jenn curate resources for what, why, and a healthy dose of how leaders will close the Knowing-Doing Gap and positively impact student learning. The ‘what’ is with current research articles across fields; the ‘why’ is with reflective questions for leaders to connect the information and explore implications for their practices; and the ‘how’ is in the form of a detailed PD plan to apply the knowledge for each topic.”

—Hoa Tu, Deputy Superintendent, Brooklyn North High Schools/Brooklyn, NY


“This amazing book reminds me of my favorite childhood haunt: Mary’s Candy Store. Jam-packed with an eclectic mix of tantalizing treats, Marshall and David-Lang’s digest is simply irresistible.”

—Jerome T. Murphy, Dean Emeritus, Harvard Graduate School of Education