Culturally Responsive School Leadership: A Synthesis of the Literature

Muhammad A. Khalifa, Mark Anthony Gooden, James Earl Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

402 Scopus citations


Culturally responsive school leadership (CRSL) has become important to research on culturally responsive education, reform, and social justice education. This comprehensive review provides a framework for the expanding body of literature that seeks to make not only teaching, but rather the entire school environment, responsive to the schooling needs of minoritized students. Based on the literature, we frame the discussion around clarifying strands—critical self-awareness, CRSL and teacher preparation, CRSL and school environments, and CRSL and community advocacy. We then outline specific CRSL behaviors that center inclusion, equity, advocacy, and social justice in school. Pulling from literature on leadership, social justice, culturally relevant schooling, and students/communities of color, we describe five specific expressions of CRSL found in unique communities. Finally, we reflect on the continued promise and implications of CRSL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1272-1311
Number of pages40
JournalReview of Educational Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, © 2016 AERA.


  • Indigenous leadership
  • antioppressive
  • antiracist
  • community-based leadership
  • culturally responsive education
  • school leadership
  • social justice


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