This volume offers the personal narratives of school, district, and state education leaders engaged in ongoing pursuits of equity, as well as findings from research and from research-practice partnerships. The chapters offer glimmers of hope through glimpses into the experiences of education leaders in the US and New Zealand. None of the stories told offer a fool-proof formula for achieving the goal of culturally responsive, socially just, equity-minded schools. They each present the inherent complexities of enacting change in schools and school systems, and the blunders that happen along the way. Each chapter begins with guiding questions to focus readers’ attention as they listen to – and really hear – the lived experiences of these authors. Chapters end with reflection questions to push others to work to move aspiration into action, to build ideas of how to engage with communities in meaningful and productive ways, and how to keep stoking the passion and dedication to face the next hurdle. Taken as a whole, the book offers a reminder to pause and celebrate small successes along the way. The disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of color make an edited volume with accessible stories of culturally responsive leadership for social justice particularly relevant, even necessary.
Jo Smith, PhD is a Senior Lecturer in education policy and leadership in the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work. Her research is situated at the intersection of policy and practice, and examines the structures that both hinder and help schools enact reforms aimed at improving outcomes for all students.
Elisabeth Crowell Kim, PhD is Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at California State University, Monterey Bay. Her research uses a mixed-methods approach to explore the links between education policy and educational equity, with a particular focus on how contemporary policies moderate or exacerbate inequities for low-income Latinx and BIPOC students.
Foreword: Decoteau Irby
Introduction: Jo Smith, University of Auckland.
Chapter 1 Motivations and Mechanisms: Stories of education leadership pathways: Elisabeth Kim, California State University, Monterey Bay.
Chapter 2 Toward culturally responsive district leadership: Institutional change processes: Iton Udosenata, Salem-Keizer Public Schools, Oregon.
Chapter 3 Equity audits to enhance culturally-responsive leadership: George Theoharis and Christine Ashby, Syracuse University; Sarah Gentile, West Genesee Central School District; Nate Franz, Jamesville-DeWitt School District; Corey Williams, Syracuse City School District; Ben Steuerwalt; Rory Edwards, Syracuse City School District & Meredith Devennie, Liverpool Central School District.
Chapter 4 Flipping the script through virtual reality perspective-taking to increase the culture of belonging: Wendy Morgan, SHIFT and Heather McClure, University of Oregon.
Chapter 5: Equity in action: Efforts and challenges of retaining BIPOC leaders: Gustavo Balderas, Beaverton School District, Oregon
Chapter 6: Culturally responsive service delivery: George Theoharis, Syracuse University, Sarah D. Lent, University of Wisconsin-Madison & Kimana Kibriani, Syracuse University.
Chapter 7: Tribe-school district relationships for policy change toward social justice: Mona Halcomb, Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Chapter 8: Challenging Leadership to Meet the Needs of Muslim Students in New Zealand Schools: Deborah J. Lomax, University of Auckland
About the Authors
With the global movement toward a more diverse teacher workforce, researchers and district leaders have strived to reform classrooms into culturally responsive, socially just and equity-minded schools. In this volume, the authors share their narratives of leadership pathways covering topics such as culturally responsive district leadership and the use of "equity audits", retaining BIPOC leaders, meeting the needs of Muslim students in New Zealand, and tribe-school district relations in Oregon. The power of this volume offers lessons learned that are enlightening both to researchers and district leaders alike!
This collection could not have come at a more useful time. The focus on leadership and equity audits offers practical tools for turning visions of culturally just education into reality. The cross-cultural viewpoint helps readers understand problems and opportunities against a broader canvas.
Understanding the lived experiences of educational leaders and their efforts to create socially just schools is essential in our pursuit of equitable education systems. The stories shared in this collection offer timely and deep insights on how to collectively address the many challenges facing schools and the critical need of engaging in equity work.
The volume narrates the experiences and practices of school, district, and state leaders as they seek to not only increase the representation of Black, Indigenous, and educators of Color, but also to disrupt power structures within schools that are designed to reify and serve whiteness. This volume is powerful because most chapters are written or co-written by individuals in on-the-ground leadership positions. These practitioner-scholars' voices speak from the everyday experiences of leading for social justice and narrate their individual perspectives while also calling for and describing systems-level change. The narrative-driven approach describes what can be and how to get there; this strong thread ties together the chapters that address distinct dimensions of culturally responsive leadership for social justice.
This volume edited by Smith and Kim presents insights from compelling and credible leaders with lived experience in making educational systems more equitable. Their lessons jump from the page, through both compelling narratives and pragmatic takeaways educational leaders can put into place right away.
This collection of writings doesn’t just center equity and inclusion, it names why creating welcoming, safe, and inclusive schools is imperative and then offers practical approaches school leaders can emulate and implement. These stories come from research, practice, and, importantly, lived experience. They paint a picture of the impacts of exclusion and discrimination, and also chart a path for correction applicable in any diverse school setting. This book provides tools and information to improve your leadership, your school, and support for the students you serve.