The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyze an Arizona university’s educational leadership program and the revisioning/restructuring process that program faculty have engaged in to ensure that the program provides aspiring school leaders with the conceptual knowledge, dispositions, and skills necessary to transform their schools in ways that directly address the needs of Arizona’s increasing diverse student population and ensures equitable and excellent educational opportunities for every student.
Through a narrative inquiry approach (Clandinin, 2006), this study examined the Sonoran Leadership Academy and how the program faculty prepared aspiring school leaders to meet the needs of Arizona’s changing demographics.
The findings indicate that the program faculty have been able to work collaboratively to establish an ecological framework of transformative leadership to develop aspiring school principals’ dispositions to tackle systemic racism and practices associated with deficit thinking and low expectations of diverse student populations. By more explicitly and seamlessly weaving concepts and skills related to race, racism, and the structures and cultures that can either perpetuate or disrupt inequitable treatment of diverse student populations throughout all of the courses and experiences of the program, the program faculty made substantial progress in supporting their students to meet the program outcomes around equity and excellence and transformative leadership.
The knowledge generated from this study is limited to one specific educational leadership program in Arizona, but the conceptual framework emerged from the study has implications on how educational leadership programs can embark on a similar revision effort to ensure that leadership studies is responsive to the issues of race and racism in the context of schooling and demographic change.
The results of this study will operationalize a new conceptual model to demonstrate concrete effective teaching practices on ways to prepare school leaders for diversity and demographic change.
By the year 2050, it is estimated that white Americans will no longer make up the majority of the population in the USA. Since the school system has historically been envisioned as the bedrock of democracy, there is a pressing need for the educational system to respond to issues related to this demographic change and to prepare effective school leaders to establish conditions of equity and excellence for all children across multiple forms of diversity in their local schools.
This study contributes to scholarship in several ways. First, it introduces the field of educational leadership to an antiracist framework for critical race leadership studies and principal preparation. Second, it methodologically contributes to educational studies by using narrative inquiry to understand the experiences of those who are situated in the research context. Third, the paper connects theory to practice by identifying specific strategies on how to revise a program to meet the needs of diverse K-12 student populations, and how these efforts are connected to the university classrooms in the ways school leaders are prepared for transformative leadership.
Liou, D.D. and Hermanns, C. (2017), "Preparing transformative leaders for diversity, immigration, and equitable expectations for school-wide excellence", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 661-678. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-10-2016-0227
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