About the books of Joe Batory

SCAN0001   Yo! Joey!

Three Education Books Unlike Anything Else Out There!

The Most Unusual “School Leadership” Trilogy in America

Available from Rowman Education    1-800-462-6420     www.rowmaneducation.com

Education Review
    Batory, Joseph P. (2002) “Yo! Joey!” A Book About School Leadership. Lanham, Maryland and London:  Scarecrow Education. 

ISBN: 0-8108-4267-X

Batory, Joseph P. (2002) Joey’s Story: A Portrait of a School Leader. Lanham, Maryland and London:  Scarecrow Education.

ISBN: 0-8108-4420-6

Batory, Joseph P. (2003) Joey Lets It All Hang Out: Reflections of an Award-Winning School Superintendent. Lanham, Maryland and Oxford, UK: Scarecrow Education.

ISBN: 0-8108-4718-3


Joseph Batory was superintendent of the Upper Darby School District located just west of Philadelphia (PA) from 1984 to 1999. In these three books he presents his philosophy of public education and administration in a “brash, in-your-face, passionate style.”  Batory offers strongly-felt positions and opinions about public education, all the while advocating students and teachers. Each book contains very short, anecdotal chapters based on real incidents and people, in no particular chronological or thematic order, with a summary of the book’s ideas at the end, and a brief bibliography. The chapters are sometimes humorous but at other times focus on the more serious, larger issues in public education.  Batory jumps from one topic to another, adding personal tidbits about students, teachers, board members, and childhood influences to show how his educational philosophy developed. He confronts the attacks on public education nationally and locally.


 Yo! Joey! tells of Batory’s difficult childhood in a working-class section of Philadelphia, his struggle to survive college, and then teach English in Camden, New Jersey. From there he went into college public relations, then on to PR and personnel administration in the Upper Darby School District before finding himself superintendent in that diverse and growing system.


Batory argues that leadership is all about “standing up when necessary” (p. 61) and that “being a superintendent of schools should first and foremost be about moral high ground.” (p. 95).  He describes encounters with the media, including the Howard Stern program, with Nazi sympathizers, misguided politicians, bomb threats, weather problems, and teachers’ unions. .He often relates this with self-deprecating humor.


Joey’s Story goes over much of the same ground, with more detail about his early career and the various influences on his educational philosophy (He managed to complete his doctorate courses at the University of Pennsylvania while working full time). He continued to speak out in support of public education while encouraging innovation and creativity from his staff in dealing with a varied socioeconomic and ethnic pupil population and an increasingly difficult funding situation. He lambastes what he sees as an undeserved bashing of public schools by corporate and governmental leaders and he is equally unimpressed with the news media’s inadequate and simplistic coverage of education. He especially decries the over-emphasis on standardized testing which fails to allow for the diversity and variance among schools and their students.


Joey Lets It All Hang Out expands on some of the same biographical elements as in the first two books, but then turns more to educational philosophy matters and broader issues. When he became superintendent, he and his wife ignored the “conventional wisdom” and deliberately bought a home inside the school district right in the middle of his student and parent and taxpayer constituencies. This action is symptomatic of his putting personal action into support of his ideas. Batory berates corporate, governmental, and academic critics of public education who rarely have had any first-hand experience in the field. He speaks out against politicians who cut state support and then criticize public school systems for raising local property taxes and always wanting more money. At the same time, he honors members of local school boards who serve selflessly, celebrates the work of custodians, and praises the many teachers who labor to change the lives of students for the better.


Candor and bluntness run consistently through these books. Batory’s willingness to stand up for what he believes, his courage in challenging the status quo and the powers that support it and his personal concerns for students and teachers are all admirable qualities in anyone, not least in a school administrator. These books belong in every library serving school personnel and those preparing for school administration as well as in the personal libraries of superintendents. The “Summaries of the Messages” might well end up on the walls of superintendents all over the country where they should frequently be read.





Available from Rowman Education    1-800-462-6420     www.rowmaneducation.com


Reactions to Joe Batory’s Books….

…provoking & inspiring…a humane look at the “real world” role of a superintendent…a personal odyssey that will sweep you away…

Paul Houston, Executive Director, American Association of School Administrators


…wonderfully honest…courageous…telling it like it is…three cheers from a new fan…

Jonathan Kozol, America’s Top Author Re Education and Poverty


…challenging & explosive…a wild ride from a superintendent who definitely drove the bus…

          Don Fuhr, Professor Emeritus, Clemson University


…wonderful…marvelous…uplifting…recharges the batteries…

Frosty Troy, Editor, The Oklahoma Observer


…few war stories left untold and fewer still politicians left untouched…”

         Dennis Harken, Former Executive Director,

Montgomery County (PA) intermediate Unit


…a magnificent writer… one of America’s best kept secrets…his books should berequired reading in the graduate schools  of education

Matt Costanzo, Former Superintendent of Schools, School District of Philadelphia


 …a rarely seen insider’s look at what really happens in the daily life of a school superintendent…”

           John Nawn, Former President, Upper Darby School Board


…marvelous memoirs from one of America’s bravest, boldest and most compassionate school leaders…

           The H Files, Philadelphia, PA


…no holds barred “Joey Wisdom” on everything in public education including the hypocrisy that surrounds it…

         Philadelphia’s center city Barnes & Noble


…stupendous…frightening…should be required reading for the Beltway crowd…



…Joe Batory laces the philosophy and technique of school leadership with on-the-ground, upfront, in-your-face  real life experience as only he can…

         Gary Marx, President, Center For Public Outreach


..simply great reading…showing what it is like to be a leader and humane at the same time…

Rich Bagin, Executive Director, National School Public Relations Association


…compliments to Joe Batory for having the courage to write this book…it begins and ends with what the best school leadership is all about…relentlessly trying to make a positive difference for students…

          Education Review