Exploring the Perceptions of Principals and District Leaders Regarding the Co-framing of Social Justice Leadership and Equity
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This qualitative study explores the capacity building experiences of principals and district leaders identified as social justice leaders. The study sought to develop an understanding of if, how, and when professional development opportunities for social justice leadership are provided to campus and district leaders. Further, the study sought to identify what types of professional development experiences these leaders envision, including opportunities for collaboration with one another.
In order to obtain a deep understanding of the experiences of the participants, the researcher employed the use of grounded theory based on the epistemology of constructionism. The participants in the study included three suburban Texas high school principals and three suburban district administrators. The participants were chosen through a screening process that included recommendations from local social justice leaders. A preliminary survey was used to determine potential participants’ foundational understanding of social justice leadership and to identify a group of participants with a similar level of understanding. Data was collected through individual interviews and homogenous focus-group discussions. Participants were also invited to be a part of a collaborative heterogeneous focus-group discussion.
Findings indicated that these social justice leaders had a strong desire to continue their learning about social justice leadership as well as to collaborate with one another. Capacity building was personally driven, as it is not prioritized as a need at the district level. In order to grow and develop their own understanding of social justice leadership these leaders accessed hope, courage, and perseverance and found new ways to integrate social justice leadership in their daily work.