A Multiple Case Study of Culturally Responsive Women Leaders in Southwest Texas Elementary Schools




Castillo, Cynthia Ann

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This study sought to extend the knowledge of the real-world application of leadership practices relevant and responsive to commonly marginalized students. This study focused on leadership practices of school leaders including principals and assistant principals through the lens of the theoretical framework crafted by Muhammad Khalifa (2018) titled Culturally Responsive School Leadership. This research provides a different perspective of school leadership and could help inform school administrators and district leaders regarding ways to implement leadership practices that would serve the specific needs of school communities. This study also identified the challenges that are faced in the efforts of serving as a culturally responsive school leader. The research design is a multiple case study (Merriam, 1998) model, in which two principals and one assistant principal took part in a three-interview series, discussing their personal and professional experiences with regard to education from their K-12 experiences through their school leader experiences. Two themes emerged from this study, including sense of belonging and serving the needs of the school community. Through these themes the findings suggest that school leaders in Southwest Texas employ Culturally Responsive School Leadership (Khalifa, 2018) by creating inclusive environments for their students and families, and by rejecting exclusionary practices. Different life experiences influenced all three school leaders as they do the work to lead schools with a majority of students of color. Common influences found across all three participants include the impact of their own cultural and socio-economic backgrounds from their upbringings, as well as experiences, good and bad, in the education system. Prospective school principals and assistant principals may benefit from this knowledge as they develop their own leadership style in preparation for the role of school leader. As higher education practitioners work to prepare prospective school leaders, the dissemination of non-traditional, community-based school leadership practices could be included in graduate coursework. Finally, this study could also contribute to the small but growing body of literature regarding Culturally Responsive School Leadership (Khalifa, 2018).



Culturally Responsive School Leadership, equity, exclusionary, inclusionary, social justice, women leaders



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies