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Culturally Responsive School Leadership Research

Day One of NCE has begun! It's always fun to walk into a convention center, get my badge printed, and look for my first session, surrounded by leaders from all over the country. I last attended NCE when it was in New Orleans, when I participated in a year-long mentorship program with an exceptional group of women leaders. I have already seen some familiar faces from that group as I walk through the San Diego conference.

I couldn't wait to hear the latest leadership research from the Wallace Foundation, having used their research in a grant when I worked with them in the past. I was happy to receive a copy of the book Blending Coaching: Supporting the Development and Supervision of School Leaders by Gary Bloom and Jackie Owens Wilson when I walked in. The session I attended, Culturally Responsive School Leadership, was moderated by Dr. Jill Baker, the Superintendent of Long Beach, with research shared by Dr. Mark Gooden and Dr. Tony Watlington, the Superintendent of Philadelphia. I appreciated Wallace's increased focus on equity, as they are a significant contributor to funds that research leadership and principal pipelines. Equity has been a significant focus of work in my district and I'm always seeking more information about how other districts are making changes that positively impact students. Dr. Gooden's research outlines the four tenets of culturally responsive school leaders. Dr. Baker and Dr. Watlington shared real-world examples from their districts' extensive pipelines of leadership development, building new leaders all the way through district and systems-level leaders. I loved hearing Dr. Baker say that the Long Beach pipelines “set the expectation of how equity is operationalized in our district”. Their program has completed a curriculum audit on each of their leadership development programs to ensure that they are culturally responsive.

Wallace research continues to support the importance of purposeful leadership development work, including the role of the principal supervisor. You can read more Wallace research on their website; search “Considerations for Building Equity into Principal Pipelines”. School leadership still impacts student learning and one of the most important jobs a superintendent can do is hire a high quality principal who can lead a school community with a culturally responsive equity lens. There are two more Wallace sessions at the conference you can check out, so be sure to look them up in the NCE app or conference program.

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