Humanizing school communities: Culturally responsive leadership in the shaping of curriculum and instruction

Stefanie Lu Venia Marshall, Muhammad A. Khalifa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of instructional leaders in promoting culturally responsive practice in ways that make schooling more inclusive and humanizing for minoritized students and communities. Design/methodology/approach: The data pull from a six-month long case study of a mid-sized, Midwestern school district that was attempting to implement culturally responsive leadership practices. After axial coding, findings emerged from interview data and field notes. Findings: Instructional leaders can play significant and useful roles in promoting culturally responsive teaching and pedagogy in schools. Districts can establish positions in which instructional leaders can work to strengthen the culturally responsive pedagogy of every teacher in a district. Research limitations/implications: This study has implications for both research and practice. Culturally responsive school leadership (CRSL) exists in multiple spaces and at various levels in a district. CRSL is not only a school-level function, but it can also be a district-level practice. Culturally responsive instructional leaders (in this case, not principals, but coaches) can have significant impact in promoting culturally relevant pedagogy. Originality/value: This contribution moves beyond school leadership and examines how district leadership practices and decisions foster culturally relevant practices and the challenges in employing this equity work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-545
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Educational Administration
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 6 2018


  • Culturally responsive leadership
  • Instructional coaches
  • Leadership

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