The Best Teacher in You: How to Accelerate Learning and Change Lives

June 3, 2014

By: Robert E. Quinn, Katherine Heynoski, Michael Thomas, Gretchen M. Spreitzer

This new book introduces seven remarkable teachers and their stories of learning and, ultimately, deep change. Designed to help all teachers bring out the best in themselves and their students, the book examines the ways in which highly effective teachers ignite the love of learning and change students’ lives. It introduces a framework that helps you understand what great teachers do and how to get better. Find several starting points, self-assessments, and other support resources that can be used independently and in collaboration with colleagues. This book will inspire you to begin your own journey to find…The Best Teacher in You.

Available June 2014 |

Click here to read the Introduction, and here to read Chapter 1.


“The very best teachers are the ones who know their learning is never done. Bringing together the expertise of academic research, this book offers tangible ways that reflective, growth-oriented teachers at any level can help themselves continue to grow their practice.”

—Ellen Moir, CEO, New Teacher Center

“This is highly practical, with real classroom case examples, useful tools, well- grounded guiding principles, and more. It is honest and intensely relevant for the teachers and the schools that are under undue pressures these days, a book that has heart and soul.”

—Jim Evers, retired teacher and author of Becoming a School Where Everyone Matters and Crisis in School Management

“The authors have uncovered insights that characterize the extraordinary teach- ers who produce results three or four times higher than normal teachers. Their careful insight and compelling illustrations provide guidance that every teacher, parent, and leader will find useful.”

—Kim Cameron, Associate Dean and William Russell Kelly Professor of Management and Organizations, Ross School of Business, and Professor of Higher Education, School of Education, University of Michigan


bob8_300Robert E. Quinn holds the Margaret Elliot Tracey Collegiate Professorship at the University of Michigan and serves on the faculty of Organization and Management at the Ross Business School. He is one of the co-founders and the current faculty co-director of the Center for Positive Organizations. Quinn’s research and teaching interests focus on leadership, organizational change, and effectiveness. He has published 16 books on these subjects. He is particularly known for his work on the Competing Values Framework. He has 30 years of experience consulting with major corporations and government agencies.

IMG_0964_Kate(1)Katherine Heynoski is a powerful practices senior specialist at Battelle for Kids. Building on her research with highly effective teachers and principals, she conducts training and develops tools and resources to support educators’ professional growth. At the heart of her work as a researcher and a practitioner is a desire to help individuals, teams, and organizations continuously improve their practice. Prior to joining Battelle for Kids, Katherine worked as an instructor and a research assistant while completing her PhD at the University of Michigan. She has also worked as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt for General Electric. Katherine has published in Organizational Dynamics and Research in Organizational Change and Development. She also serves on the board of the Organization Development and Change Division of the Academy of Management. She lives in Dublin, Ohio, with her husband and two daughters.

Thomas PhotoMike Thomas has worked for the past 11 years at Battelle for Kids to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools across the country. As a senior director of innovation, he has designed tools and delivered professional development to build the capacity of teachers and administrators. Much of this work has focused on the diagnostic and school improvement uses of value-added data. He recently co-authored the book How to Use Value-Added Analysis to Improve Student Learning. Over the past seven years, Mike has conducted workshops and assembled focus groups of high value-added teachers and principals to better understand what constitutes effective practice. This book is the culmination of that work. Prior to joining Battelle for Kids, Mike served as the director of the Central Ohio Principals’ Academy and the co-coordinator of the preservice elementary and middle school Masters of Education program at The Ohio State University. In this role he received a Distinguished Teaching Award. Mike spent the first 12 years of his career as a middle school math and science teacher. Mike currently resides in Westerville, Ohio, with his wife, Lu Anne, and their dog, Kali. His daughter Emily is entering her senior year at Ohio State University; his son, Chris, is an officer in the US Air Force; and his daughter Lindsay is a nurse and the mother of his eight-year-old granddaughter, Kameron.

Gretchen Spreitzer_7668Gretchen M. Spreitzer is the Keith E. and Valerie J. Alessi Professor of Business Administration at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. She is also the co-director of the Center for Positive Organizations. She joined the Michigan faculty in 2001 after spending nine years on the faculty of the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. She is passionate about helping people develop as leaders. Her research focuses on employee empowerment and leadership development, particularly within a context of organizational change. Her most recent research focuses on how organizations can enable people to thrive at work and become their best selves. She has co-authored six books (including another Berrett-Koehler book titled How to Be a Positive Leader: Small Action, Big Impact with Jane Dutton) and many articles on these topics. She teaches leadership and change courses to undergraduate, graduate, and executives at Ross. She has been elected to leadership positions in the Academy of Management and the Western Academy of Management. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband, who is a public policy economist, and two teenage daughters.