US contexts of/for educational leadership

Peter Demerath, Karen Seashore Louis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This chapter lays out the general challenges facing US principals in different sorts of schools in a variety of settings. The US federal role in public education has intensified since the 1980s, with the passage of several bills aimed at improving equity of educational opportunity. In order to describe how these federal, state, and district mandates impinge on the principal’s role, the chapter draws on the contemporary experiences of successful urban principals captured through long-term ethnographic case studies. US principals work in between national, state, district, and school-level policy pressures and increasingly take on mediating roles in translating external policy directives to their schools, hence the focus on schools more than districts. The chapter illustrates the US principal role as institutional mediator in part by sharing case study findings on school leadership that the authors have conducted in recent years in a variety of different settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Wiley International Handbook of Educational Leadership
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781118956717
ISBN (Print)9781118956687
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • Distributing leadership
  • Educational leadership
  • Institutional mediator
  • Long-term ethnographic case studies
  • School leadership
  • US principals


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