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A Practical Guide to Impactful Educational Leadership 

A Practical Guide to Impactful Educational Leadership 

July 27, 2022

“In my world, I can’t tell you how often I hear people say ‘my’ … my board, my school, my faculty. And when you say ‘our,” it just sounds like a little bit different message.”

Jim Kubacki

In this edition of The Beacon Podcast, we talk with Jim Kubacki, author of the book “Choose to Lead: A practical guide for educational leadership.”

In his discussion with Lighthouse Counsel Senior Consultant Kathy Gaston, Jim talks about how great leaders become great leaders and their impact on the organizations they lead.

He answers questions such as:

  • What are the four parts of leadership and how do they impact a person’s leadership abilities?
  • What is the main thing that stands in the way of a good school leader becoming a great and highly impactful school leader and how does one overcome that those obstacles?
  • What are the challenges that school leaders face today that were unheard of a decade ago?

About our guest

Jim Kubacki has enjoyed a 40-plus year career in education.  He currently is serving in his 12th year as president of St. Edward High School in Lakewood.  

  • Jim brought the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme to St. Edward.  St. Ed’s is now the largest IB Diploma Programme in Ohio, and St. Edward students have exceeded the international IB diploma success rate every year. 
  • In 2016, St. Edward was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.  
  • The school recently completed a $24.5 million capital campaign that included two buildings: the expansive Joseph and Helen Institute for Innovation and the Marilyn and David ’64 Commons. 
  • In 2017, St. Edward launched the St. Andre Scholars Program, offering a complete St. Edward High School experience to students with special needs.

Prior to returning to St. Edward in 2010, Jim had a nine-year tenure as president of Eastside Catholic School outside of Seattle that included the design and completion of an $88 million, 160,000-square-foot permanent campus for the school and the addition of a 240-student middle school.  

Earlier in his career, Jim was a college football coach at Harvard and Fordham universities, an associate dean of admission at Princeton University and principal at St. Edward for five years in the ‘90s.

Jim received his B.A. in history from Harvard University in 1977 and M.S. in counseling from the Fordham University Graduate School of Education in 1990.  An Honorable Mention All-America Quarterback at Harvard in 1975-76, Jim was inducted into the Harvard Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995. 

Connect with Jim on LinkedIn or email him at

“Choose to Lead” is available online at