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Crafted from authentic experiences shared by principals, Reality Calling: The Story of a Principal’s First Semester reveals fictional Principal Joe Gentry’s first few months on the job. We see his efforts to establish relationships with students, staff and community, handle unexpected (and sometimes unimaginable) events, and pursue the often elusive concept of instructional leadership. Throughout the process, Joe seeks guidance and support from his wife, mentors and two friends, who are also new principals. As the months roll by, he strives to navigate the complex ups and downs of school leadership, find personal and professional balance, apply the standards that govern school leaders and learn from his mistakes. This extended, real-world case study provides readers an authentic, unvarnished account of a fully-human principal knee deep in what is appropriately called the toughest job in education. The book concludes with Joe and his two principal friends reflecting on lessons learned and setting goals for the second half of the school year -- revealed in this book's companion, Seeking Balance: The Story of a Principal's Second Semester.