Administrative Issues Journal


This multisite case study explores how rural principals in high poverty schools in a Southern state that had identified themselves as social justice leaders perceived student diversity, specifically LGBTQ students, and how they sustained a socially-just school climate for all students. Using a qualitative approach lent itself to understanding the principals’ descriptions of themselves as social justice leaders in their respective school and community contexts through their conversations (Creswell, 2007; Marshall & Rossman, 2016). The investigators drew from Theoharis’ (2007, 2009) and Bishop’s (2012) studies to serve as the theoretical framework guiding this study. The results indicated that the principals in this case study struggled with recognizing LGBTQ students’ needs and well-being. The findings in this study contain implications for pre-service preparation and in-service professional development programs to draw upon social justice leadership theory and research to inform leadership practices when addressing external and internal resistance. Moreover, this study recognizes the need for leadership preparation programs to integrate critical self-consciousness (Freire, 2000) with purposeful reflection (Webster-Smith, 2011) as essential to the development of the social justice leader.



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