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Education Culturally Responsive Leadership
by
Lauri Johnson, Carrie Fuller

Introduction

Culturally responsive leadership, derived from the concept of culturally responsive pedagogy, involves those leadership philosophies, practices, and policies that create inclusive schooling environments for students and families from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds. Common practices include emphasizing high expectations for student achievement; incorporating the history, values, and cultural knowledge of students’ home communities in the school curriculum; working to develop a critical consciousness among both students and faculty to challenge inequities in the larger society; and creating organizational structures at the school and district level that empower students and parents from diverse racial and ethnic communities. Similar terms used to describe this approach to leadership include culturally proficient leadership, culturally relevant leadership, culture-based leadership, cultural competency, multicultural leadership, and leadership for diversity. Although there are subtle differences in how authors and researchers employ these different terms, in general these approaches encourage teacher leaders, school principals, and district-level leaders to “lead for diversity” and work with teachers, parents, and the larger community to develop curriculum frameworks, pedagogical practices, and organizational structures and routines that are consistent with the cultural orientations of ethnically diverse students and their families. While much of the investigation of culturally responsive practices has focused on classroom teaching, recent efforts have applied a culturally responsive framework to school leadership. In general, these studies characterize culturally responsive school leaders as those who emphasize high expectations for student academic achievement, exhibit an ethic of care, promote inclusive instructional practices, and develop organizational structures that empower parents and the larger community in the life of the school. Culturally responsive leadership often overlaps with “leadership for social justice” approaches, a term that has been prevalent in the US educational literature and focuses on improving the educational experiences and outcomes for all students, particularly those who have been traditionally marginalized in schools. While this bibliography incorporates some sources that focus on socially just leadership, it emphasizes those school leadership theories and practices that respond to issues of ethnicity, culture, language, and race.

General Overviews

These sources discuss general leadership approaches to diversity issues, often through reviews of the empirical and research literature. Riehl 2000 is a classic review of leadership for diversity that focuses on developing new meanings for diversity, inclusive organizations, and school-community relationships. Gardiner and Enomoto 2006, McCray and Beachum 2011, Beachum 2011, and Madhlangobe and Gordon 2012 emphasize the multicultural and culturally responsive skills needed by 21st-century urban school leaders. See Agosto, et al. 2013 for a meta-analysis of the literature on culture-based leadership that intersects with social justice concerns. For empirically based studies of school leaders’ views and practices, see Boske 2009, a survey of administrators’ views on leadership standards; Brown, et al. 2011, which documents how school principals closed achievement gaps in diverse schools; Theoharis 2008, personal narratives of social justice leaders; Santamaria 2013, a qualitative study of critically-oriented leaders of color; and Sapon-Shevin 2011 who details real-life scenarios of schools centered on social justice.

  • Agosto, Vonzell, Leila Dias, Nikia Kaiza, Patricia Alvarez McHatton, and Donna Elam. 2013. Culture-based leadership and preparation: A qualitative meta-synthesis of the literature. In Handbook of research on educational leadership for equity and diversity. Edited by Linda C. Tillman and James Joseph Scheurich, 625–650. New York: Routledge.

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    In this insightful review of twenty-three practitioner and academic articles published between 2000 and 2010, the authors advocate for bridging social justice leadership and culture-based leadership. They question why the literature for practitioners uses culture-based terms but not terms related to social justice leadership.

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  • Beachum, Floyd. 2011. Culturally relevant leadership for complex 21st–century school contexts. In The SAGE handbook of educational leadership: Advances in theory, research, and practice. 2d ed. Edited by Fenwick W. English, 27–35. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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    Advances a leadership framework that emphasizes emancipatory consciousness that is geared toward liberty for all people; equitable insight that shuns a deficit perspective and acknowledges students’ uniqueness and diversity; and a reflexive practice that is oriented toward a change agency—all of which result in new knowledge, feelings, and actions.

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  • Boske, Christa. 2009. Children’s spirit: Leadership standards and chief school executives. International Journal of Educational Management 23.2: 115–128.

    DOI: 10.1108/09513540910933486Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This electronic survey examined how 1,087 members of the American Association of School Administrators ranked national leadership diversity standards. Standards ranked most important focused on all students, while those ranked least important centered on specific culturally and linguistically diverse populations. A majority of administrators felt they were not prepared to address equity issues.

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  • Brown, Kathleen M., Jen Benkovitz, A. J. Muttillo, and Thad Urban. 2011. Leading schools of excellence and equity: Documenting effective strategies in closing achievement gaps. Teachers College Record 113.1: 57–96.

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    Authors examined twenty-four elementary “Honor Schools of Excellence” for differences in achievement gaps. Interviews with stakeholders and equity audits revealed eight small gap (SG) and eight large gap (LG) schools. While demographic similarities existed between the two groups, how principals encouraged academic achievement and offered instructional support differed greatly, as did their expectations for academic excellence.

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  • Gardiner, Mary E., and Ernestine K. Enomoto. 2006. Urban school principals and their role as multicultural leaders. Urban Education 41.6: 560–584.

    DOI: 10.1177/0042085906294504Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using the framework from Riehl 2000, this qualitative study examined the work of six principals through a cross-case analysis. The principals were least knowledgeable about culturally relevant instructional practices and varied in terms of holding high expectations or deficit perspectives of their students.

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  • Madhlangobe, Lewis, and Stephen P. Gordon. 2012. Culturally responsive leadership in a diverse school: A case study of a high school leader. NASSP Bulletin 96.3: 177–202.

    DOI: 10.1177/0192636512450909Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Through focus group interviews with teachers and parents, shadowing, and observations, this case study details the culturally responsive practices of an assistant principal in central Texas, emphasizing her focus on caring, building relationships, being persistent and persuasive, being present and communicating, modeling cultural responsiveness, and fostering cultural responsiveness among others.

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  • McCray, Carlos, and Floyd Beachum. 2011. Culturally relevant leadership for the enhancement of teaching and learning in urban schools. In The international handbook of leadership for learning. Edited by Tony Townsend and John MacBeath, 487–502. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-1350-5Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Advances the notion of “cultural collision and cultural collusion”—when students of color are at odds with the culture of the school, develop a defeatist outlook, and educators fail to reach out to them. In response, culturally relevant leaders encourage diverse teaching methods, value multiple voices, and create community connections.

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  • Riehl, Carolyn J. 2000. The principal’s role in creating inclusive schools for diverse students: A review of normative, empirical, and critical literature on the practice of educational administration. Review of Educational Research 70.1: 55–81.

    DOI: 10.3102/00346543070001055Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This comprehensive review is organized around three key tasks for principals: fostering new meanings of diversity, promoting inclusive school cultures and instructional programs, and building relationships between schools and communities. Riehl concludes by arguing that school administration is a moral and epistemological discursive practice connected to the leader’s identity.

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  • Santamaria, Lorri J. 2013. Critical change for the greater good: Multicultural perceptions in educational leadership toward social justice and equity. Educational Administration Quarterly.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013161X13505287Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Qualitative study of leadership goals, decisions, and practices of six leaders of color. Common characteristics include engaging in critical conversations, assuming a “critical race theory” lens, consensus building as decision-making strategy, consciousness of stereotype threat, contributing to academic discourse, honoring constituents, leading by example, building trust, and servant leadership.

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  • Sapon-Shevin, Mara. 2011. Zero indifference and teachable moments. In Leadership for social justice and democracy in our schools. Edited by Alan M. Blankstein and Paul D. Houston, 145–168. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

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    This chapter in an interesting edited collection begins with real-life scenarios of discrimination based on racial, ethnic, and sexual orientation in schools. Sapon-Shevin then outlines common barriers administrators face in terms of time or lack of formation as well as attributes of schools centered on social justice.

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  • Theoharis, George. 2008. Woven in deeply: Identity and leadership of urban social justice principals. Education and Urban Society 41.1: 3–25.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013124508321372Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using critical race theory, this secondary analysis focuses on seven principals committed to social justice. Theoharis provides insightful personal histories revealing what brought these leaders to their work, and describes their common characteristics, which include arrogant humility, inspired vision, and dedication in the face of resistance.

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Textbooks and Handbooks

These educational leadership textbooks, which are mainly edited collections, focus broadly on diversity issues, often termed “leadership for social justice,” and include chapters related to culture and race. For a good introductory text, see Marshall and Oliva 2006. Lindsey, et al. 1999 and Lindsey, et al. 2005 advance a popular model of culturally proficient education and provide examples of what culturally proficient leadership looks like in practice. Dimmock and Walker 2005; Boske and Diem 2012; Gerstl-Pepin and Aiken 2012; and Lyman, et al. 2012 focus on international perspectives. Tillman and Scheurich 2013 brings together the latest research on equity issues in educational leadership in a comprehensive handbook with chapters on a range of topics, including the politics of education, historical perspectives, school finance, ethnic studies, disability studies, and leadership preparation.

  • Boske, Christa, and Sarah Diem, eds. 2012. Global leadership for social justice: Taking it from the field to practice. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group.

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    This edited collection provides multiple perspectives for conceptualizing the preparation of leaders for equity-oriented work in schools. Topics include student voice, Q-methodology, teacher leadership, racial identity development, and equity-oriented leadership for students with disabilities.

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  • Dimmock, Clive A. J., and Allan Walker. 2005. Educational leadership: Culture and diversity. London; Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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    This book critiques the overreliance on Western-based approaches to educational leadership and stresses the need for inquiry into the influence of the local and societal cultural context on schools. Drawing from Asian and Western contexts and using a comparative approach, themes include strategic leadership, teacher evaluation, and principal dilemmas.

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  • Gerstl-Pepin, Cynthia I., and Judith A. Aiken, eds. 2012. Social justice leadership for a global world. Charlotte, NC: Information Age.

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    This edited book includes thorough empirical, historical, and theoretical chapters regarding the intersection of multiculturalism, culturally responsive leadership, and social justice. Sections include international perspectives (e.g., Pakistan, China) as well as strategies for both higher education and K-12.

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  • Lindsey, Randall B., Laraine M. Roberts, and Franklin CampbellJones. 2005. The culturally proficient school: An implementation guide for school leaders. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

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    Particularly useful for practitioners, these realistic case studies with sample conversations illustrate the dimensions of culturally proficient leadership and provide helpful reflection questions for one’s own school. This book identifies specific leadership behaviors to move from “tolerance for diversity” to “transformation for equity.”

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  • Lindsey, Randall B., Kikanza Nuri Robins, and Raymond D. Terrell. 1999. Cultural proficiency: A manual for school leaders. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

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    Establishes a continuum of cultural proficiency for use in school assessment as well as essential practices for school personnel. In addressing resistance, the authors argue schools must understand white male entitlement and power. They conclude with over thirty-five practical activities for leadership teams to analyze and transform their school’s culture.

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  • Lyman, Linda L., Jane Strachan, and Angeliki Lazaridou, eds. 2012. Shaping social justice leadership: Insights of women educators worldwide. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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    Personal narratives from twenty-three female educators from fourteen countries (including Jamaica, Brazil, South Africa, Thailand, and the United States), who detail their struggles with poverty, discrimination, and even sexual violence, along with their commitment to activism and social justice leadership.

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  • Marshall, Catherine, and Maricela Oliva, eds. 2006. Leadership for social justice: Making revolutions in education. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.

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    Good introductory text for leadership preparation programs on socially just leadership. Chapters focus on building capacity, moral transformative leadership, the impact of poverty, leadership on the US-Mexico border, black women’s leadership, and inclusion of students with disabilities. An overview of each topic, discussion questions, and suggested activities are included.

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  • Tillman, Linda C., and James Joseph Scheurich, eds. 2013. Handbook of research on educational leadership for equity and diversity. New York: Routledge.

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    First research-based handbook to address multiple diversity issues, including race, culture, ethnicity, language, gender, sexual identity, disability, and class. Chapters provide state-of-the-art summaries of research and future directions. See also individual chapters: Agosto, et al. 2013 (cited under General Overviews); Lopez, et al. 2013 (cited under Culturally Specific Approaches: Latino/a); and McKinney and Lowenhaupt 2013 (cited under Special Education Leadership).

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Conceptual Frameworks

Various conceptual frameworks have been developed to explain equity-based leadership approaches, either derived from theoretical work on multicultural education or based on empirical studies of effective leadership practice for diverse learners. James Banks’s conceptual approach (see Banks and Banks 2012) views multicultural education as an idea or concept, a process, and an educational reform movement that assumes all students—regardless of their gender, their social class, or their racial, ethnic, and cultural background—should have an equal opportunity to learn in school, and that this diversity should be reflected in the staffing, curriculum, instructional practices, policies, values, and leadership of educational institutions. Banks’s conceptual model of multicultural education includes five interrelated dimensions. Content integration refers to the extent to which examples and content from a variety of cultures and groups are used to illustrate key concepts in a subject area or discipline. The knowledge construction process examines how students learn to understand and investigate the implicit cultural assumptions, perspectives, and biases within a discipline, and how the knowledge created reflects the positionality and lived reality of those who construct it. Prejudice reduction describes the characteristics of students’ racial and ethnic attitudes and strategies that can be used to reduce prejudice and develop more democratic attitudes. An equity pedagogy examines how instruction is modified in order to facilitate the academic achievement of students from diverse racial, cultural, and social-class groups. An empowering school culture and social structure examines grouping and labeling practices, participation in extracurricular activities, disproportionality in achievement, and the interaction of the staff and students across ethnic and racial lines in order to create a school culture that empowers students from diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural groups. One approach advocated by multiculturalists to create more equitable classrooms and schools is the implementation of pedagogy and leadership that is “culturally relevant” or “culturally responsive.” Two classic research studies in this area include Ladson-Billings 1995, which presents a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy derived from the author’s study of exemplary teachers of African American students, and Moll, et al. 1992, which puts forward the influential “funds of knowledge” concept developed from the authors’ study of Latino families. Cooper 2009 draws from the work of Cornel West to argue that principals must learn cultural work, and Dantley 2002 references critical theorists to offer a post-structural approach. Capper 1993 and Lumby and Morrison 2010, among others, argue for multiparadigm and interdisciplinary approaches that examine power and inequity. Johnson 2006 emphasizes the role of the culturally responsive leader as community activist, and Horsford, et al. 2011 advocates for leaders who combine a personal knowledge of cultural proficiency with a professional commitment to work for equity. For an explanation of a new framework that combines racial identity theory and intercultural sensitivity, see Nevarez and Wood 2007.

  • Banks, James, and Cherry A. McGee Banks. 2012. Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives. 8th ed. New York: John Wiley.

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    Classic text that outlines the major concepts, paradigms, and issues in multicultural education, including chapters on race, social class, gender, language diversity, disability, and LGBT issues. Chapter 1, “Multicultural Education: Characteristics and Goals,” details Banks’s five dimensions and gives examples of how they are evidenced in educational organizations.

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  • Capper, Colleen A. 1993. Educational administration in a pluralistic society: A multiparadigm approach. In Educational administration in a pluralistic society. Edited by Colleen A. Capper, 1–35. Albany: State University of New York Press.

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    This early critique of mainstream leadership argues for multiparadigm perspectives that include structural-functionalist, interpretive, and critical approaches, informed by feminist post-structuralist theory. Includes a helpful table explaining feminist post-structuralist theories in terms of subjectivity, language and discourse, power, and common sense.

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  • Cooper, Camille Wilson. 2009. Performing cultural work in demographically changing schools: Implications for expanding transformative leadership frameworks. Educational Administration Quarterly 45.5: 694–724.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013161X09341639Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article provides an interesting look at how principals, teachers, and parents at two North Carolina schools responded to a rapid increase in the Latino population. Cooper found that principals worked with little multicultural knowledge. Drawing on the work of Cornel West, she argues there is a need for principals to learn cultural work.

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  • Dantley, Michael E. 2002. Uprooting and replacing positivism, the melting pot, multiculturalism, and other impotent notions in educational leadership through an African American perspective. Education & Urban Society 34.3: 334–352.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013124502034003004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Referencing Henry Giroux’s Pedagogy and the Politics of Hope: Theory, Culture, and Schooling (Boulder: Westview, 1997) and other critical theorists, this article provides a trenchant critique of the positivistic framing and use of educational theory and practice. Dantley offers post-structuralism/postmodernism as a more authentic way of understanding educational leadership and argues for a holistic look at the experience of African American leaders and the inclusion of spirituality.

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  • Horsford, Sonya Douglass, Tanetha Grosland, and Kelly Morgan Gunn. 2011. Pedagogy of the personal and professional: Toward a framework for culturally relevant leadership. Journal of School Leadership 21.4: 582–606.

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    Draws from the key literature on culturally relevant pedagogy, antiracist pedagogy, and leadership in diverse contexts to create a framework for culturally relevant leadership with four dimensions: understanding the political context; developing a culturally relevant and antiracist pedagogical approach; a personal knowledge of cultural proficiency and challenges to it; and the professional duty to work for educational equity.

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  • Johnson, Lauri. 2006. “Making her community a better place to live”: Culturally responsive urban school leadership in historical context. Leadership & Policy in Schools 5.1: 19–36.

    DOI: 10.1080/15700760500484019Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Through a historical case study of the first African American woman principal in the New York City schools, the role of the culturally responsive urban school leader is conceptualized as curriculum innovator, public intellectual, and community activist.

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  • Ladson-Billings, Gloria. 1995. Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. American Education Research Journal 32.3: 465–491.

    DOI: 10.3102/00028312032003465Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This classic study of eight exemplary teachers of African American students provides the theoretical grounding for much of the work on culturally responsive leadership practices. Principles identified include the educator’s ability to develop students academically, a willingness to nurture cultural competence, and the development of a sociopolitical or cultural consciousness.

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  • Lumby, Jacky, and Marlene Morrison. 2010. Leadership and diversity: Theory and research. School Leadership & Management 30.1: 3–17.

    DOI: 10.1080/13632430903509717Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Lumby and Morrison critique the dearth of theory related to identity and diversity in educational leadership research. They suggest an interdisciplinary approach to theory building, the inclusion of observations as a method for researching leadership, and the need for researchers and leaders to acknowledge issues of power and inequity.

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  • Moll, L., C. Amanti, D. Neff, and N. Gonzalez. 1992. Funds of knowledge for teaching: Using a qualitative approach to connect homes and classrooms. Theory into Practice 31.2: 132–141.

    DOI: 10.1080/00405849209543534Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Classic article that details how school educators might access and support the cultural knowledge that culturally diverse students and families bring to the school.

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  • Nevarez, Carlos, and J. L. Wood. 2007. Developing urban school leaders: Building on solutions 15 years after the Los Angeles riots. Educational Studies 42.3: 266–280.

    DOI: 10.1080/00131940701634676Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the disadvantages urban schools and their leaders face as well as the importance of school culture and climate. Helm’s Racial Identity Development Theory (RIDT) and Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) are combined to develop a new framework, the Leadership in Diversity Continuum Model (LDCM), which is briefly outlined.

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Cultural Competence

Several authors have focused on developing cultural competence, defined as the ability to perform effectively in cross-cultural situations through a congruent set of attitudes, behaviors, and policies. For an organizational response to cultural competence, see Bustamante, et al. 2009. For various conceptual approaches, including a model of intercultural sensitivity, see Hernandez and Kose 2012 and Hansuvadha and Slater 2012. Dukes and Ming 2007; Cooper, et al. 2011; and Smith 2005 provide practical strategies for professional development, and Johnson and Bush 2005 outlines a whole-school inquiry approach. Elam, et al. 2007 argues that cultural competence must be linked with data analysis and accountability.

  • Bustamante, Rebecca M., Judith A. Nelson, and Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie. 2009. Assessing schoolwide cultural competence: Implications for school leadership preparation. Educational Administration Quarterly 45.5: 793–827.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013161X09347277Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    School leaders (n=151) who were current students or recent graduates of preparation programs responded to a culture audit tool. The barriers discussed centered on lack of resources, role confusion, general lack of knowledge concerning culturally responsive teaching, personal biases, and the positive effects of cultural competency.

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  • Cooper, Jewell E., Ye He, and Barbara B. Levin. 2011. Developing critical cultural competence: A guide for 21st-century educators. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

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    Techniques are outlined that develop critical cultural competence, defined as developing a deep and nuanced understanding of diversity and becoming skilled in cross-cultural communication. Activities include helping educators understand themselves as cultural beings, linking personal and professional identities, and supporting community-based learning.

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  • Dukes, Charles, and Kavin Ming. 2007. The administrator’s role in fostering cultural competence in schools. Educational Research Services Spectrum 25.3: 19–27.

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    This article stresses the need for administrators to work at the school level with teachers to create an action-oriented learning community. Dukes and Ming articulate six aspects of the development process toward cultural competence, and they provide a table of practical strategies teachers can use in their classrooms to honor diversity.

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  • Elam, Donna, Stephanie Robinson, and Barbara McCloud. 2007. New directions for culturally competent school leaders: Practice and policy considerations. Policy brief. Tampa: David C. Anchin Center, University of South Florida.

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    This short policy report argues that cultural competence is necessary but not adequate on its own. Cultural competence must be part of a standards-based accountability system that includes rigorous analysis of data regarding student achievement.

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  • Hansuvadha, Nat, and Charles L. Slater. 2012. Culturally competent school leaders: The individual and the system. Educational Forum 76.2: 174–189.

    DOI: 10.1080/00131725.2012.653094Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Case studies of two bilingual Latino/a administrators in a preparation program are compared through multicultural competence development theories. Concern for the disenfranchised, respect for students, and finding a work-life balance emerged as themes for one leader. The other focused on high expectations, developing teacher leaders, and political activism for immigrants.

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  • Hernandez, Frank, and Brad W. Kose. 2012. The Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity: A tool for understanding principals’ cultural competence. Education & Urban Society 44.4: 512–530.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013124510393336Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Hernandez and Kose theorize how principals with various intercultural sensitivity orientations, as measured by the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS), might respond to the achievement gap in their schools. Primarily focusing on ethnocentric orientations, the authors explore challenges to the cultural competence of principals.

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  • Johnson, Ruth S., and Lawson Bush. 2005. Leading the school through culturally responsive inquiry. In The SAGE handbook of educational leadership: Advances in theory, research, and practice. Edited by Fenwick W. English and Gary L. Anderson, 269–296. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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    This chapter emphasizes the use of inquiry strategies to build capacity to measure the responsiveness of the school to all students and their cultures through whole-school inquiry. This approach requires measuring outcomes, assessing academic policies and practices, examining school documents, and establishing multiple indicators of the school’s academic health.

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  • Smith, Camille A. 2005. School factors that contribute to the underachievement of students of color and what culturally competent school leaders can do. Educational Leadership & Administration: Teaching & Program Development 17:21–32.

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    This conceptual article discusses the achievement gap, negative stereotypes of students of color, and the need to examine white privilege and entitlement. Attributes of culturally relevant leaders listed include addressing discrimination, providing professional development regarding cultural diversity, and having high expectations. Smith concludes with eleven strategies for leaders.

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International Perspectives

With increasing racial and ethnic diversity worldwide, countries that were previously linguistically and ethnically homogeneous are challenged to respond to diverse groups of students and their families. In some cases this means adopting Western multicultural models, which can result in an uneasy fit (see Brooks 2010 for the author’s experiences in the Philippines). In other instances, investigators in Norway (Andersen and Ottesen 2011), Iceland (Adalbjarnardottir and Runarsdottir 2006) and Greece (Fokion and Apostolos 2008) advocate for stronger initiatives at the school level to facilitate the inclusion of new immigrants. For examples of how school leaders might increase their capacities in intercultural settings, see Othman, et al. 2012 and Walker and Shuangye 2007.

  • Adalbjarnardottir, Sigrun, and Eyrun M. Runarsdottir. 2006. A leader’s experiences of intercultural education in an elementary school: Changes and challenges. Theory into Practice 45.2: 177–186.

    DOI: 10.1207/s15430421tip4502_10Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article examines a principal’s pedagogical vision and practices at a school in Iceland. Immigrants make up 24 percent of the student population at the school, and they speak thirty different languages. The intercultural program initiative was set forth to meet the needs of Iceland’s growing immigrant population.

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  • Andersen, Fred Carlo, and Eli Ottesen. 2011. School leadership and ethnic diversity: Approaching the challenge. Intercultural Education 22.4: 285–299.

    DOI: 10.1080/14675986.2011.617422Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Through the theoretical lenses of multicultural education and inclusive leadership, interviews were conducted with deputies and social advisors at two Norwegian high schools with increasing immigrant student populations. Results indicated that these schools lacked systematic approaches for meaningful inclusion of their immigrant populations.

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  • Brooks, Jeffrey S. 2010. The mis-education of a professor of educational administration: Learning and unlearning culturally ir(relevant) literature. In Bridge leadership: Connecting educational leadership and social justice to improve schools. Edited by Autumn K. Tooms and Christa Boske, 153–169. Charlotte, NC: Information Age.

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    Brooks reflects on his experiences teaching educational leadership in the Philippines where he felt like many of the theories and practices he initially utilized in his class were “culturally irrelevant” (p. 166). Drawing from Ladson-Billings 1995 (cited under Conceptual Frameworks), he argues that educational leadership for social justice is culturally based and context-specific.

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  • Fokion, Georgiadis, and Zisimos Apostolos. 2008. Values, diversity and educational leadership: A critical review of the Greek paradigm: Training and professional development on issues of social justice for head teachers within a culturally diverse primary school. International Journal of Learning 14.12: 255–263.

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    This article highlights the need for Greek head teachers to serve their increasingly diverse international school population (11 percent of elementary students). Authors suggest that university preparation and ongoing professional development should be provided in multicultural issues, personal reflection, and action research in schools.

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  • Othman, Azam, Norbaiduri Ruslan, and Ismail Sheikh Ahmad. 2012. Intercultural communication in the Malaysian vision schools: Implications for the management and leadership in a multicultural primary school. Management in Education 26.4: 199–206.

    DOI: 10.1177/0892020612449180Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A survey of 887 upper elementary Malay, Indian, and Chinese students examined the interracial interaction and cross-cultural communication at their schools. Home language and race were related to student responses. The authors offer suggestions to the Ministry of Education as well as principals based on the results.

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  • Walker, Allan, and Chen Shuangye. 2007. Leader authenticity in intercultural school contexts. Educational Management Administration & Leadership 35.2: 185–204.

    DOI: 10.1177/1741143207075388Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Walker and Shuangye suggest ways that principals can become authentic leaders by continuous learning, rather than relying on generic school leader practices, and by exploring the diversity in one’s own school community and understanding the variation among cultures.

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Comparative Studies

These works compare and contrast the role of local and national policy contexts and preparation programs on leadership and diversity. Collard and Normore 2009 uses an intercultural lens to analyze international approaches to indigenous and immigrant populations. For successful leadership practices that respond to changing demographics and cultural diversity in various European, Australian, and US contexts, see Johnson, et al. 2011 and Ylimaki and Jacobson 2013. For case studies that examine leadership differences in Asian and English-speaking contexts, see Walker and Dimmock 2002. Slater, et al. 2005 compares potential cultural differences between Mexican and US graduate students in leadership preparation programs.

  • Collard, John, and Anthony H. Normore. 2009. Leadership and intercultural dynamics. Charlotte, NC: Information Age.

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    This book begins with a historical overview of theory and research in intercultural contexts. The second section discusses the local cultural context and traditions (e.g., American Indian or Maori) that must be considered. Part three focuses on marginalized immigrant populations. The final section examines international collaborative efforts for leadership preparation.

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  • Johnson, Lauri, Jorunn Moller, Petros Pashiardis, Vassos Savvides, and Gunn Vedoy. 2011. Culturally responsive practices. In US and cross-national policies, practices and preparation: Implications for successful instructional leadership, organizational learning, and culturally responsive practices. Edited by Rose Ylimaki and Stephen Jacobson, 75–101. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-0542-5Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This comparative study across three countries—Norway, the United States, and Cyprus—analyzes how successful school leaders negotiate a balance between honoring student home cultures, emphasizing student learning and achievement in the mainstream culture, and the role of all stakeholders in the democratic life of the school.

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  • Slater, Charles L., Mike Boone, Linda Munoz, et al. 2005. School leadership preparation in Mexico: Metacultural considerations. Journal of School Leadership 15.2: 196–214.

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    This analysis of the essays of fifty-two Mexican and US graduate students examined cultural factors that might influence their leadership practices. Essays were compared along the following leadership dimensions: participation, communication, change, and values. The discussion section utilizes organizational leadership literature to explore possible cultural differences.

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  • Walker, Allan, and Clive A. J. Dimmock. 2002. School leadership and administration: Adopting a cultural perspective. New York: RoutledgeFalmer.

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    This edited book highlights the necessity for comparative studies of educational leadership. Seven chapters based on case studies and insights from Asian and English-speaking countries reveal the influential nature of societal culture on policy and the school.

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  • Ylimaki, Rose, and Stephen Jacobson. 2013. School leadership practice and preparation: Comparative perspectives on organizational learning (OL), instructional leadership (IL), and culturally responsive practices (CRP). Journal of Educational Administration 51.1: 6–23.

    DOI: 10.1108/09578231311291404Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Successful leadership practices in seven nations (Australia, Cyprus, Denmark, England, Norway, Sweden, and the United States) are analyzed regarding accountability, decentralization, and demographic changes, as well as the type of leadership preparation. The article concludes with key recommendations for leadership preparation, including more field experiences and using cohort models to instill support.

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Culturally Specific Leadership Approaches

Culturally specific approaches focus on how the school leader’s racial, cultural, and ethnic identities may influence their approach to leadership, and, in turn, how these leadership practices intersect with other types of difference (gender, religious orientation). While much of this research has been conducted with regards to African American principals, there is a growing focus on examining culturally responsive philosophies, practices, and leadership approaches in Latino/a, Native/Indigenous, and Asian/Asian American communities.

African American

For a focus on the role of spirituality in African American leadership, see Dantley 2005. Black women’s leadership approaches are explored in Alston 2005 and Dillard 1995. For the historical role of culture in black leadership, see Siddle Walker and Byas 2009, Randolph and Sanders 2011, and Tillman 2004. Lomotey 1993 and Gooden 2005 present case studies of African American principals that illuminate their bureaucratic and humanist roles.

  • Alston, Judy A. 2005. Tempered radicals and servant leaders: Black females persevering in the superintendency. Educational Administration Quarterly 41.4: 675–688.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013161X04274275Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This often cited article provides a historical overview of the barriers that black women have faced on their path to the superintendency, and characterizes them as leaders who “serve first” and embody self-will and determination, a strong work ethic, and a rich spiritual life.

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  • Dantley, Michael E. 2005. African American spirituality and Cornel West’s notions of prophetic pragmatism: Restructuring educational leadership in American urban schools. Educational Administration Quarterly 41.4: 651–674.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013161X04274274Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this article, Dantley discusses how the spirituality of African American students and leaders must be considered, and that teachers must be encouraged to use culturally relevant pedagogy. He advocates that African American leaders must have “race-identifying” and “race-transcending” leadership behaviors as espoused by Cornel West.

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  • Dillard, Cynthia B. 1995. Leading with her life: An African American feminist (re)interpretation of leadership for an urban high school principal. Educational Administration Quarterly 31.4: 539–563.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013161X9503100403Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this classic study, Dillard critiques the rationalist approach advocated by the effective school literature and reconceptualizes African American urban school leadership through advocacy for students, an ethic of care, and commitment to the larger community.

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  • Gooden, Mark. 2005. The role of an African American principal in an urban information technology high school. Educational Administration Quarterly 41.4: 630–650.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013161X04274273Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This case study, based on interviews and extensive observations, reveals how the principal enacted the role of bureaucrat-administrator as well as ethno-humanist (as theorized by Lomotey 1993), through his compassion and commitment to African American youth.

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  • Lomotey, K. 1993. African American principals: Bureaucrat/administrators and ethno-humanists. Urban Education 27.4: 395–412.

    DOI: 10.1177/0042085993027004005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This seminal study of two principals involved in a curriculum project to infuse African American culture demonstrated their communication and instructional leadership strategies (the bureaucratic role) as well as a commitment to African American students and the transmission of African American culture to the next generation (the humanistic role).

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  • Randolph, Adah Ward, and Stephanie Sanders. 2011. In search of excellence in education: The political, academic, and curricular leadership of Ethel T. Overby. Journal of School Leadership 21.4: 521–547.

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    This article focuses on ways the first African American female principal of an all-black, segregated school in Virginia expanded notions of success for her students and the community. The authors conclude that by looking back to this historic time period (1930s), we may be better able to close the black-white achievement gap today.

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  • Siddle Walker, Vanessa, with Ulysses Byas. 2009. Hello professor: A black principal and professional leadership in the segregated south. Chapel Hill, NC: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

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    Through personal narrative and archival sources, the experiences of an African American principal in Gainesville, Florida, in the 1950s and 1960s illustrates the agency of black educational networks to resist regressive educational systems in the Jim Crow South, and to pressure for educational reforms.

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  • Tillman, Linda C. 2004. African American principals and the legacy of Brown. Review of Research in Education 28.1: 101–146.

    DOI: 10.3102/0091732X028001101Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This detailed historical review documents the importance of culture in black leadership. Themes include (a) resistance to ideologies and the education of black students, (b) the academic and social development of black students, (c) the importance of the cultural perspectives of the black principal, and (d) leadership based on interpersonal caring.

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Latino/a

Méndez-Morse 2004 discusses the role of mentors in the lives of Latina administrators. For personal narratives on culture and leadership practice, see Franco, et al. 2011. Dugan, et al. 2012 and Merchant, et al. 2014 describe culturally responsive practices in case studies of successful Latina principals. Lopez, et al. 2013 discusses best practices for school leaders working with Latino English Language Learners (ELLs).

  • Dugan, Thad, Rose Ylimaki, and Jeffrey Bennett. 2012. Funds of knowledge and culturally responsive leadership: Transforming a failing school in a postcolonial border context. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership 15.3: 56–65.

    DOI: 10.1177/1555458912461317Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Teaching case that documents a Latina principal’s success at mending relationships between the tribal council and the school (60% Native American and 35% Latino). The principal also faced a dilemma regarding impending budget cuts. Class activities focus on her successful use of cultural capital and funds of knowledge.

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  • Franco, Carmella S., Maria G. Ott, and Darline P. Robles. 2011. A culturally proficient society begins in schools: Leadership for equity. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

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    Three Latina superintendents explore their personal histories and draw out practical lessons from their careers as teachers and leaders. Using the framework from Lindsey, et al. 1999 (cited under Textbooks and Handbooks), they provide examples of how their cultural assets inform their actions. The authors invite educational leaders to reflect on their own experiences through reflective writing prompts.

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  • Lopez, Gerardo, Lauren Harvey, and Colleen Chesnut. 2013. Latino English Language Learners in a changing demographic landscape: Critical issues for school leaders to consider in implementing best practice. In Handbook of research on educational leadership for equity and diversity. Edited by Linda C. Tillman and James Joseph Scheurich, 257–286, 309–326. New York: Routledge.

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    The authors describe both macro- and microlevel factors contributing to rapid US demographic shifts, with a particular focus on the Midwest and South and their newcomer Latino populations. Best practices for school leaders in parent/community engagement and student instruction (academic English, content area instruction, and formative assessments) are outlined.

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  • Méndez-Morse, Sylvia. 2004. Constructing mentors: Latina educational leaders’ role models and mentors. Educational Administration Quarterly 40.4: 561–590.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013161X04267112Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Although lacking traditional mentors, six Mexican American female school leaders assembled symbolic mentoring from a variety of sources, particularly their mothers, whom they viewed as role models.

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  • Merchant, Betty, Encarnacion Garza, and Elizabeth Murakami Ramalho. 2014. USA: Culturally-responsive leadership. In Leading schools successfully: Stories from the field. Edited by Christopher Day and David Gurr, 174–183. New York: Routledge.

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    Narrative of a Latina principal that chronicles her successful leadership in two different school contexts. The authors describe how Laura Martinez’s personal experiences and biography influenced her strong sense of self-efficacy, passionate commitment to her students, and belief in reaching out to community members.

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Native/Indigenous

Catagno and Brayboy 2008 raises issues of sovereignty and self- determination in relation to indigenous youth. Fitzgerald 2003 and Frawley and Fasoli 2012 employ traditional Maori and Australian Aboriginal leadership frameworks. For a discussion of culturally responsive evaluation procedures in American Indian communities, see Mackey 2012.

  • Catagno, Angela, and Brian Brayboy. 2008. Culturally responsive schooling for indigenous youth: A review of the literature. Review of Educational Research 78.4: 941–993.

    DOI: 10.3102/0034654308323036Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This comprehensive review details educators’ lack of knowledge about indigenous cultures, histories, and political issues, and advocates for more focus on self-determination, tribal sovereignty, Indigenous epistemologies, and structural racism.

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  • Fitzgerald, Tanya. 2003. Changing the deafening silences of indigenous women’s voices in educational leadership. Journal of Educational Administration 41.1: 9–23.

    DOI: 10.1108/09578230310457402Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Maori women’s leadership influences two worlds: traditional community leadership derived from an indigenous worldview, and leadership as advocacy between indigenous and nonindigenous communities. The framework proposed for understanding indigenous women’s leadership incorporates the three principles of the Te Tiriti o Waitangi: partnership, protection, and participation.

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  • Frawley, Jack, and Lyn Fasoli. 2012. Working together: Intercultural leadership capabilities for both-ways education. School Leadership & Management 32.4: 309–320.

    DOI: 10.1080/13632434.2012.708328Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This conceptual article explores the northern Aboriginal Australian notion of “both ways,” or the exchange and sharing of cultures, and reveals its commonalities with intercultural education.

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  • Mackey, Hollie J. 2012. Transformational partnerships: Translating research into practice through culturally competent evaluation practices in American Indian communities. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (QSE) 25.7: 951–968.

    DOI: 10.1080/09518398.2012.720728Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Leadership was noted as a key component in the evaluation of a character development program intervention, the Moral Literacy Project, implemented in ten schools serving American Indian students. Interviews with participants revealed the need for strong central leadership, a focus on curriculum, and attention to differences in school-community understandings of success.

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Asian/Asian American

For a critical literature review of K-12 and higher education research on Asian Americans, see Ng, et al. 2007. For emerging Asian models of leadership derived from studies in Southeast Asia and Indonesia, see Solin, et al. 2008 and Raihani 2008. Ngo 2013 analyzes the role of Hmong community leaders as cultural arbitrators in a US diasporic community.

  • Ng, Jennifer, Sharon S. Lee, and Yoon Pak. 2007. Contesting the model minority and perpetual foreigner stereotypes: A critical review of literature on Asian Americans in education. Review of Research in Education 31.1: 95–130.

    DOI: 10.3102/0091732X07300046095Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This insightful review of K-12 and higher education reveals the limited representations of Asian Americans as “profoundly different” and examines new directions in research that disaggregate student outcomes for Asian American ethnic groups and reveal the complexities of their experiences and identities.

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  • Ngo, Bic. 2013. Cultural consciousness among Hmong immigrant leaders: Beyond the dichotomy of cultural essentialism and cultural hybridity. American Educational Research Journal 50.5: 958–990.

    DOI: 10.3102/0002831213494262Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Illuminates the role of cultural consciousness as a lens for analyzing immigrant education, and details Hmong community leaders’ awareness of the role of dominant culture in shaping Hmong children’s education. The established dichotomy between cultural essentialness and cultural hybridity in Asian American diasporic communities is problematized.

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  • Raihani. 2008. An Indonesian model of successful school leadership. Journal of Educational Administration 46.4: 481–496.

    DOI: 10.1108/09578230810882018Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Case studies of successful leadership in three Indonesian government schools revealed practices based on the Islamic values of “amanah,” or responsibility to students, members of the school community, and God; IMTAQ (constructed from the words Iman and Taqwa, meaning faith and piety); and the Indonesian value of “kekeluargaan,” a family-like relationship.

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  • Solin, Chan, Avelino Correia, K. A. T. Dang, et al. 2008. Leadership is a sacred house: Southeast Asian cultural metaphors on educational leadership. Leading & Managing 14.2: 61–73.

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    Upper elementary Malay, Indian, and Chinese students (n=887) were surveyed about perceptions of interracial interaction and cross-cultural communication. The authors found that language spoken at home and race were often related to student responses. They offer suggestions to the Ministry of Education as well as principals based on the results.

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Antiracist/Race Conscious Leadership

Increasingly, the role of race and white privilege are being discussed in the educational leadership literature. Rather than adopt a colorblind perspective, school leaders are urged to examine race and racism in their schools and leadership practice. Gooden 2012 employs critical race theory to rethink the portrayal of African American principals in urban schools. Aveling 2007 examines principals’ views of Western Australia’s antiracism policy. Gooden and Dantley 2012 argues that leadership preparation must address race within the larger context of social justice. For a comparative approach of race conscious leadership preparation in Britain and the United States, see Johnson and Campbell-Stephens 2014. Theoharis and Haddix 2011 provide examples of white principals who actively challenged institutional racist practices in their schools. Lightfoot 2009 develops criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of antiracist leadership preparation programs.

  • Aveling, Nado. 2007. Anti-racism in schools: A question of leadership? Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 28.1: 69–85.

    DOI: 10.1080/01596300601073630Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study is based on interviews with thirty-five school principals in independent, Catholic, and state-funded schools in Western Australia regarding the state’s 1998 antiracism policy. Over half of the principals were unaware of the policy, and the majority felt that racism was not an issue at their school.

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  • Gooden, Mark A. 2012. What does racism have to do with leadership? Countering the idea of color-blind leadership: A reflection on race and the growing pressures of the urban principalship. Educational Foundations 26.1–2: 67–84.

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    Critical race theory is used to analyze two African American principals depicted in popular film. The author challenges the reader to rethink the ways society has cast the African American principal as the hero who seeks to control youth of color. Drawing from Robert J. Starratt’s 1991 model in “Building an Ethical School: A Theory of Practice in Educational Leadership” (Educational Administration Quarterly 27.2: 185–202) Gooden suggests an approach that couples an ethic of justice with an ethic of care.

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  • Gooden, Mark, and Michael Dantley. 2012. Centering race in a framework for leadership preparation. Journal of Research on Leadership Preparation 7.2: 237–253.

    DOI: 10.1177/1942775112455266Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article argues that leadership preparation must address race and racism, and it outlines five elements of such a framework: self-reflection, a grounding in critical theory, a prophetic voice, a pragmatic emphasis that supports praxis, and the inclusion of race language.

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  • Johnson, Lauri, and Rosemary Campbell-Stephens. 2014. Beyond the colorblind perspective: Centering issues of race and culture in leadership preparation programs in Britain and the United States. In The international handbook of educational leadership and social (in)justice. Edited by Ira Bogotch and Carolyn Shields, 1169–1185. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-6555-9Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Drawing on examples from both British and US literature, this chapter argues for race-conscious and culturally specific leadership development that goes beyond the color-blind approach, develops a critical consciousness about issues of race and identity, and promotes new leadership approaches that consider the importance of culture and context.

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  • Lightfoot, J. 2009. Towards a praxis of anti-racist school leadership preparation. In African American perspectives on leadership in schools: Building a culture of empowerment. Edited by Lenoar Foster and Linda C. Tillman, 211–236. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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    A qualitative study of three social justice–oriented preparation programs resulted in evaluation criteria for antiracist programs: a vision to produce leaders willing to address race, faculty committed to examining racism, promotion of antiracism across the curriculum, fieldwork that challenges racist practices, and continuous assessment of progress toward antiracist goals.

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  • Theoharis, George, and Marcelle Haddix. 2011. Undermining racism and a whiteness ideology: White principals living a commitment to equitable and excellent schools. Urban Education 46.6: 1332–1351.

    DOI: 10.1177/0042085911416012Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This secondary analysis of six white principals reveals how they interrogated race and examined white privilege through self-reflection and professional development. One of the few studies that addresses how white principals analyzed racial data in relation to discipline, tracking, special education, and teacher supervision to better serve students of color.

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Dual Language/Bilingual Programs

Culturally responsive principals in dual language programs not only support language proficiency, but also politically advocate for bilingual populations and honor the culture and languages of students and their families. For examples of how school leaders develop strong community connections and university-school partnerships, see Scanlan 2011, Feinberg 1999, and Ek, et al. 2010. Hunt 2011 examines the establishment of professional learning communities in dual language schools. For a case study that details the principal’s commitment to social justice and democratic processes, see Rodríguez and Alanís 2011. Scanlan and López 2012 provides an extensive literature review of equity-based practices in dual language programs.

  • Ek, Lucila D., Margarita Machado-Casas, Patricia Sanchez, and Iliana Alanis. 2010. Crossing cultural borders: “La clase mágica” as a university-school partnership. Journal of School Leadership 20.6: 820–849.

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    This study explores the cultural work of a Latina principal and Latina assistant superintendent involved in a university-school partnership. The leaders focus on building bridges in the community, honoring their students’ culture and languages, and acknowledging the need for equity practices and access to technology.

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  • Feinberg, Rosa Castro. 1999. Administration of two-way bilingual elementary schools: Building on strength. Bilingual Research Journal 23.1: 47–68.

    DOI: 10.1080/15235882.1999.10162734Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This qualitative study of fourteen former or current dual language school principals found they did not receive formal preparation for the technical linguistic and cultural components of their jobs. The principals noted the vital nature of community connections and strategic political work on behalf of bilingual and immigrant populations.

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  • Hunt, Victoria. 2011. Learning from success stories: Leadership structures that support dual language programs over time in New York City. International Journal of Bilingual Education & Bilingualism 14.2: 187–206.

    DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2010.539673Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this comparative case study of three Spanish-English schools/programs serving high numbers of immigrant students, Hunt found the leaders fostered a collective mission, shared leadership, trust, and flexibility. Uniquely, this study utilized interviews from teachers as well as extensive observations to analyze professional learning communities in a dual language context.

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  • Rodríguez, Mariela Aime, and Iliana Alanís. 2011. Negotiating linguistic and cultural identity: One borderlander’s leadership initiative. International Journal of Leadership in Education 14.1: 103–117.

    DOI: 10.1080/13603120903386951Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Drawn from a larger research project on the success and sustainability factors of a dual language program in Texas, this qualitative study details the principal’s commitment to social justice and use of democratic processes, meaningful work with the community, and broad focus on academic achievement.

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  • Scanlan, Martin. 2011. Inclusión: How school leaders can accent inclusión for bilingual students, families, and communities. Multicultural Education 18.2: 4–9.

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    This assets-based approach acknowledges that (1) linguistically diverse students are bilingual, (2) language acquisition is sociocultural and developmental, (3) service delivery systems should be equipped to meet students’ needs, and (4) parent engagement is essential. Inclusion is applied through teacher development, supporting bilingual students across school models, and building strong home-school partnerships.

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  • Scanlan, Martin, and Francesca López. 2012. ¡Vamos! How school leaders promote equity and excellence for bilingual students. Educational Administration Quarterly 48.4: 583–625.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013161X11436270Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This helpful literature review of seventy-nine empirical articles uses narrative synthesis to provide a research base for supporting culturally and linguistically diverse students. A three-part theoretical model derived from the literature—ensuring access to quality curriculum, cultivating language proficiency, and promoting sociocultural integration—is outlined with implementation recommendations.

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Special Education Leadership

These resources provide examples of approaches to special education leadership that respond to the needs of students identified for special education services as culturally diverse learners. Bakken and Smith 2011 applies the framework from Ladson-Billings 1995 (cited under Conceptual Frameworks) to a school-wide action plan. Murtadha-Watts and Stoughton 2004 provides examples of how school leaders can communicate effectively across difference. Capper and Frattura 2009 details how school leaders develop integrated comprehensive services that serve the learner rather than the label. For critiques of how special education services can fail to utilize a cultural strengths approach and engage in labeling discourses, see Webb-Johnson 2006 and McKinney and Lowenhaupt 2013.

  • Bakken, Jeffrey P., and Beverly A. Smith. 2011. A blueprint for developing culturally proficient/responsive school administrators in special education. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal 9.1: 33–46.

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    Building on the framework from Ladson-Billings 1995 (cited under Conceptual Frameworks), the authors consider the role of the principal in serving culturally and linguistically diverse students with disabilities. Their action plan centers on developing a vision, school improvement plan, hiring practices, curriculum, parent communication, supporting professional learning communities, and establishing effective referral systems.

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  • Capper, Colleen A., and Elise M. Frattura. 2009. Meeting the needs of all students of all abilities: How leaders go beyond inclusion. 2d ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

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    Provides a road map for developing integrated comprehensive services for students based on the needs of the learner rather than the label. Includes examples of establishing service delivery teams from schools that have used the book to implement change.

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  • McKinney, Sarah A., and Rebecca J. Lowenhaupt. 2013. New directions for socially just educational leadership: Lessons from disability studies. In Handbook of research on educational leadership for equity and diversity. Edited by Linda C. Tillman and James Joseph Scheurich, 309–326, 625–650. New York: Routledge.

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    Through the lens of disability studies and a discursive analysis, the authors critique labeling practices in special education as “essentialized concepts of normalcy,” and advocate for efforts to promote inclusion as a key site to challenge categories of difference.

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  • Murtadha-Watts, Khaula, and Edy Stoughton. 2004. Critical cultural knowledge in special education: Reshaping the responsiveness of school leaders. Focus on Exceptional Children 37.2: 1–8.

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    This conceptual article argues that principals must learn “critical cultural mirroring” to speak and act across difference and reflect biases, prejudice, and stereotyping to staff, while supporting school cohesion. Murtadha-Watts and Stoughton emphasize the importance of dialogue and an awareness of diverse communication styles, and they utilize social contact theory for parent-community relations.

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  • Webb-Johnson, Gwen. 2006. To be young, gifted, emotionally challenged and black: A principal’s role in providing a culturally responsive context. Voices in Urban Education 12:2–27.

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    Uses A. W. Boykin’s nine dimensions of African American culture to explain the actions of Elijah, a gifted African American boy who was underserved and misunderstood by four schools in two years. Argues that principals must employ a strengths approach to support the academic development of African American students in both special and regular education.

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School-Community Relationships

Most models of culturally responsive leadership discuss the importance of school-community relationships, but few studies demonstrate how those relationships are established, particularly when school leaders are not part of the local community. Both Johnson 2007 and Murakami, et al. 2012 note how successful school leaders must establish trust with parents as well as raise academic expectations. Khalifa 2010 and Khalifa 2012 document the practices of urban school leaders who advocate for community concerns and employ social and cultural capital.

  • Johnson, Lauri. 2007. Rethinking successful school leadership in challenging U.S. schools: Culturally responsive practices in school-community relationships. International Studies in Educational Administration 35.3: 49–57.

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    A secondary analysis of case studies of three successful principals—two African American and one white—revealed that they created a trusting environment and held high expectations for student achievement. Yet there was little evidence that students’ home cultures or community “funds of knowledge” were incorporated in their schools.

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  • Khalifa, Muhammed. 2010. Validating social and cultural capital of hyperghettoized at-risk students. Education and Urban Society 42.5: 620–646.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013124510366225Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Through this interesting case study of an urban high school, the role of the school leader is characterized as a “buffer” who protected students and their families from sanctions and a “bridge” to dominant capital so they could access opportunities.

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  • Khalifa, Muhammed. 2012. A re-newed paradigm in successful urban school leadership: Principal as community leader. Educational Administration Quarterly 48.3: 424–467.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013161X11432922Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    High visibility in the community and advocacy of community-based causes led to trust, credibility, and rapport between a successful urban principal and the local community. Khalifa relates this community-based leadership to historical examples of African American leadership practices.

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  • Murakami, Elizabeth T., Encarnacion Garza Jr., and Betty Merchant. 2012. When Hispanic students are not expected to succeed: A successful principal’s experience. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership 15.3: 66–73.

    DOI: 10.1177/1555458912447850Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Teaching case of Principal Martinez, who dispelled low expectations and provided rigor while meeting students’ needs in her South Texas elementary school. The focus is on how she created the school as a community-centered organization through the participation of many internal and external stakeholders. Useful discussion questions and activities included.

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Leadership Preparation

Transforming leadership to become more culturally responsive begins with preparing aspiring leaders to acquire the skills needed to make equity-based changes. Capper, et al. 2006 and Furman 2012 offer theoretical frameworks for leadership preparation that incorporate critical consciousness, praxis, and capacity building. Blackmore 2010, Hernandez and Marshall 2009, and Ridenour 2004 focus on the role of emotions and self-reflection. Skrla, et al. 2004 describes how to conduct equity audits in schools and districts, and McKenzie and Scheurich 2004 identifies “equity traps” and strategies to address them. Richardson, et al. 2013 profile a promising immersion project in East London for US aspiring school leaders.

  • Blackmore, Jill. 2010. Preparing leaders to work with emotions in culturally diverse educational communities. Journal of Educational Administration 48.5: 642–658.

    DOI: 10.1108/09578231011067785Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Blackmore argues that culturally relevant leadership practices must begin with self-examination and awareness of one’s own gendered and racial identity, rather than exclusively focusing on helping the “Other.” Professional learning strategies advocated include drama, school policy audits, and collaborative action research for the co-construction of knowledge.

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  • Capper, Colleen, George Theoharis, and James Sebastian. 2006. Toward a framework for preparing leaders for social justice. Journal of Educational Administration 44.3: 209–224.

    DOI: 10.1108/09578230610664814Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    To create “change agents for difference,” Capper and colleagues develop a framework for leadership preparation that includes the development of critical consciousness of power relations and systematic inequalities, (2) knowledge of evidence-based practices that can create an equitable school, and (3) specific skills that leaders require to enact justice in their schools.

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  • Furman, Gail. 2012. Social justice leadership as praxis: Developing capacities through preparation programs. Educational Administration Quarterly 48.2: 191–229.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013161X11427394Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Furman draws from an extensive literature review to propose a new conceptual framework for social justice leadership: praxis-dimensions-capacities. Dimensions of social justice leadership (personal, interpersonal, communal, systemic, and ecological) and recommendations for principal preparation programs in developing these leadership capacities are explored.

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  • Hernandez, Frank, and Joanne M. Marshall. 2009. Where I came from, where I am, and where I’d like to be: Aspiring administrators reflect on issues related to equity, diversity and social justice. Journal of School Leadership 19.3: 299–333.

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    Hernandez and Marshall analyze reflections of aspiring school leaders in an educational foundations course focused on equity and social justice. While open to discussing identity, students tended to avoid feelings of discomfort and overall represented a range of developmental perspectives regarding racial identity. Class assignments are included in the appendix.

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  • McKenzie, Kathryn Bell, and James Joseph Scheurich. 2004. Equity traps: A useful construct for preparing principals to lead schools that are successful with racially diverse students. Educational Administration Quarterly 40.5: 601–632.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013161X04268839Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Derived from a study of white teachers’ views about their students of color, this insightful article explores the concept of equity traps (e.g., deficit view, racial erasure, avoidance and employment of the gaze, and paralogical beliefs and behaviors) and proposes explicit strategies to address each trap.

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  • Richardson, Jayson W., Scott Imig, and Abdou Ndoye. 2013. Developing culturally aware school leaders: Measuring the impact of an international internship using the MGUDS. Educational Administration Quarterly 49.1: 92–123.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013161X12455055Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This mixed methods study examines a small sample of US preservice school leaders who participated in a short-term immersion experience in East London. The university program was inspired by state standards to build globally competent school leaders. This research provides a good template for future study.

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  • Ridenour, Carolyn S. 2004. Finding the horizon: Education administration students paint a landscape of cultural diversity in schools. Journal of School Leadership 14.1: 4–31.

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    In this highly personal study, Ridenour analyzes the journals of thirty-three aspiring principals in her semester-long diversity course. She details her personal journey as instructor and outlines the class assignments and discussions that ensued. Student journals revealed fear and confusion, moments of resistance and understanding, and emerging questions regarding race.

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  • Skrla, Linda, James Joseph Scheurich, Juanita Garcia, and Glenn Nolly. 2004. Equity audits: A practical leadership tool for developing equitable and excellent schools. Educational Administration Quarterly 40.1: 133–161.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013161X03259148Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Drawing from the history and research on equity audits, the authors reconceptualize them to address inequities in schools and districts. The reader is encouraged to conceptualize ways to address three equity dimensions—teacher quality equity, programmatic equity, and achievement equity—and how to operationalize an equity audit in one’s organization.

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Professional Development Resources

The resources in this section provide information on professional development opportunities, curriculum resources, and research that supports the development of school leaders’ culturally responsive practices and organizational changes and school improvement efforts designed to create equity for all students. See the websites of Equity Alliance, sponsored by Arizona State University and Kansas University, and CREATE in Wisconsin for research articles, newsletters, and blogs that link equity-oriented school leaders. The University Council for Educational Administration has a program to develop LSDL (Leaders to Support Diverse Learners) modules that provide step-by-step lesson plans to develop the culturally responsive and social justice competencies of school leaders. See also the Oxford Bibliographies article “Culturally Responsive Pedagogies” by Susan Fairclothfor other teaching resources on culturally responsive practices.

  • CREATE–Culturally Responsive Education for All: Training and Enhancement.

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    CREATE is a statewide system-change initiative in Wisconsin designed to eradicate the achievement gap among diverse student populations and eliminate race as a predicting factor of participation in special education. The website includes a monthly newsletter, professional development opportunities, and links to the American Indian Student Achievement Network and the Culturally Responsive Early Childhood Project.

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  • Equity Alliance.

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    The Equity Alliance focuses on research and school reform efforts that eliminate achievement disparities, develops inclusive learning environments, upholds the civil rights of students, and harnesses the power of family and community involvement. The website includes national equity maps compiled by the Office of Civil Rights, an Equity Alliance Blog, over 1,000 downloadable documents, and links to other equity websites.

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  • University Council for Educational Administration. Preparing Leaders to Support Diverse Learners: LSDL Module Development Project.

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    The UCEA curriculum modules include power learning experiences that strengthen leaders’ ability to support diverse students’ academic achievement. Modules include (1) Developing Advocacy Leadership, (2) Organizing Learning and the Learning Environment, (3) Leadership for English Language Learner (ELL) Success, (4) Family and Community Involvement, (5) Building a Community of Trust Through Racial Awareness of Self, and (6) Marshaling and Using Resources Based on Data and Student Needs.

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LAST MODIFIED: 05/29/2014

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199756810-0067

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