Exploring leadership in schools with a social justice and equity mission





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Two main factors influenced my involvement in this topic. The first was my response to a mantle of responsibility I accepted as an educational leader. The second factor was what the responsibility involved given my recognition of my own privilege and the large scale inequities present in education in this country. The inequities in education and schools are not limited to an achievement gap but can be better understood through the term educational debt (Ladson-Billings, 2006). One significant voice in my exploration of privilege and topic has been Paul Gorski, a faculty member within Hamline University's doctoral program when I started. This study used qualitative interviews to collect a rich description of leadership from three executive directors of charter schools with a focus on social justice and racial equity. This study includes descriptions of their leadership practice, their background as leaders, and leadership styles. One of the major results showed a significant difference in the types of organizational structure. Two of the leaders and schools use traditional leadership organization and methods while one functions in a non-hierarchical role and uses consensus decision making. Suggestions for future research as a result of this study include exploration of the connection between traditional or non-traditional organizational leadership structure and organizations with a social justice focus.

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