Testimonials and Reviews

Book Reviews

The Fog of Reform

“George Goens’ highly readable book brings a sane, clear perspective to many dehumanizing outcomes of the school reform movement. Though often well-intentioned, decades of reform have left our children starved for schools with souls that cultivate “wise, caring, whole human beings, prepared to embrace changes and challenges of the future with creativity, soul, and humanity.” I hope every school principal, educator, parent, school board member, concerned citizen, and policy maker will read and share this book, then commit to the moral imperative: to change our national trajectory so that each American child attends a public school that is a primer of freedom, equality, liberty, justice, and ethics.”

Mary Broderick, Ed.D. —
Former President of the National School Boards Association

“In his book, ‘The Fog of Reform’, George Goens defines a moral imperative for school reform in America that moves beyond simplistic quantitative metrics. Children’s learning is more complex than a test score or hours of seat time, and requires understanding, questioning and challenging the ‘fog’ created by efforts to reform our public schools.”

David H. Larson, Ph.D.
Executive Director Emeritus
Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents

“American Public Education in under attack. It is being challenged like no other time in history. Multiple reforms have been proposed. The upshot for the public and citizenry is growing confusion about the role of public education and what schools ought to be for children. George Goens book, ‘The Fog of Reform’, examines reforms and defines concrete proposals on what schools should be and what leaders must do in meeting their moral imperative of educating children in the public setting.”

Jeff Keranen
Principal
Whitman Middle School
Wauwatosa. Wisconsin

“George Goens’ ‘The Fog of Reform’ gets us to rethink the role of testing in education and makes us focus on the big picture of learning institutions preparing students for success in life.”

Mark D. Benigni, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Meriden, Connecticut
2015 Education Week ‘Leader to Learn From’

“Goens’ candor and insights become such a bright beacon that reveals the dangerous fog shrouding our children, teachers and communities today that anyone will find useful to navigate our educational system back on a course of educational practices and policies that is good for children and supports the values and ethics upon which American education was built.”

Anthony Salvatore
Retired Assistant Principal
Newtown Public Schools
Newtown, Connecticut

Letters on the Promise of Living

George Goens’ profound collection of deeply personal letters, so carefully crafted as only his fountain pen can, bring you to a place where family and country still stand passionately rooted in tradition fed by values of honesty, compassion, resilience and unconditional love. His innate desire to forge an inexorable bond through letters to his grandchildren warmly embrace you as you fondly recall sitting on your grandfather’s knee listening to his special stories and poems…all the while sending you quiet knowings of faith, fortitude and love. And not unlike the lone wolf in all of us, Goens reminds us to go to still waters seeking those times of silent and sometimes painful reflection…so much a part of our wholeness. His insights and wisdom are a wonderful and renewing gift for the reader. — Amazon.com Customer Review

Soft Leadership for Hard Times

“George Goens takes a new approach in defining leadership through the extensive use of poetry and metaphors and includes citations from the likes of Carl Jung and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi to reinforce his unique perspective.” – School Administrator

“In his text, Soft Leadership for Hard Times, George Goens takes a new approach in defining leadership through the extensive use of poetry and metaphors and includes citations from the likes of Carl Jung and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi to reinforce his unique perspective. Goens, a former superintendent and university professor, focuses on those aspects of leadership pertaining to building relationships and the personal qualities of leaders that go beyond the simple analysis and use of quantitative data and traditional strategic planning.

Reviews

A good leader, according to Goens, is like a jazz musician. When playing jazz, musicians have a framework over which they have the creative freedom to play their melodies as they see fit. Each note is not scripted and every performance, even of the same piece of music, is different. Their success is based on their ability to improvise by creating a series of harmonious sounds in sync with the chord changes and rhythmic structure as performed by the rest of the band.

Leadership involves the ability to improvise and be creative. The framework for leadership consists of those guiding principles and values on which the leader is able to improvise solutions to problems and navigate through situations without prior rehearsal. Just as the notes improvised by the jazz musician have not been scripted, so too are the actions of the leader. No two performances are exactly the same and no two situations addressed by a leader are exactly the same.

Goens also uses scenario planning as an option to strategic planning. He downplays the effectiveness of strategic planning because of its inability to accurately assess or measure people-driven organizations such as schools. According to Goens, scenario planning is better suited for schools as it takes into account the issue of critical uncertainties defined as unpredictable issues connected to emotion, opinion, intuition or chance.”  — Ronald A. Styron, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, University of Southern Mississippi in The School Administrator

“It is an ‘illusion’, Goens says, that the ‘world is a logical place that succumbs to the power of logic.’ Educational leaders, school boards and administrators have been seduced for too long by the industrial model of productivity, in which the teachers are the workers and success is measured in quantitative terms and against the specifications of strategic plans, procedural manuals and product testing. The world, he says, is really ‘playful, chaotic and self organizing’ and the creative dynamic is, paradoxically, anything but predictable.

This little book has timelessness about it. And, at this moment in time, it offers a very special enlightenment to those of us who are submerged in today’s No Child Left Behind testing oriented culture.” — Bud Theisen P.h.D, Viterbo University