Culturally Responsive Leadership in a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse School: A Case Study of the Practices of a High School Leader




Madhlangobe, Lewis

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The purpose of this study was to describe how a culturally responsive leader conducts her leadership role with teachers, parents and students in a culturally diverse high school. Surveys and interviews in the preliminary study helped to select a leader who best exemplified culturally responsive leadership (CRL) from a pool of ten leaders. The participants in the primary study included six teachers, nine parents, and the leader from a high school in Central Texas. In the primary study, I collected data through focus group interviews with teachers and parents, and additional interviews with the leader (Faith). I also shadowed Faith three times and observed participating teachers three times each. During the shadowing sessions and classroom observations I collected artifacts related to both CRL and culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP) respectively. Follow-up interviews after classroom observations and shadowing sessions helped clarify information collected. Examination of all the qualitative data from the participants revealed that Faith‘s culturally responsive leadership was influenced by the context, her understanding of CRL, and her philosophy of education. Her CRL included six themes: (a) building positive relationships, (b) being persistent and persuasive, (c) modeling cultural responsiveness, (d) being present and communicating, (e) fostering cultural responsiveness among others and (f) caring for others. Faith performed these leadership behaviors through relating to people, promoting culturally responsive curriculum, and creating a culturally responsive school environment. Findings also revealed that Washington High School is undergoing a process of change leading toward a culturally responsive system. Noted outcomes included students‘ academic, social, and personal growth and development. These findings support the conclusion that creating positive institutional relationships is crucial to effective leadership in culturally and linguistically diverse schools. Recommendations for further study include replicating this study with a number of culturally responsive leaders and their students.



Cultural responsibility, Leadership behaviors, High school, Leadership


Madhlangobe, L. (2009). Culturally responsive leadership in a culturally and linguistically diverse school: A case study of the practices of a high school leader (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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