Assistant principals’ preparation for culturally responsive leadership in diverse schools

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Crystal C. Gaymon (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Craig Peck

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to take a deeper look at the duties, responsibilities, experiences, and staff development of the assistant principals to determine if they are prepared to lead as principals in diverse schools. The role of the assistant principal is essential and it can help to enhance and enrich the school and community. This study sought to determine whether or not assistant principals’ current roles, duties, responsibilities, experiences, and staff development are helpful for preparation towards them becoming culturally responsive leaders who are able to lead diverse schools. Being a culturally responsive leader is critical because of the increase in diversity within schools. This study represents a close examination intended to help us understand how vital the assistant principal position is and how it can be used as a stepping stone to an individual becoming a more effective and successful principal in a diverse school. Currently, very little research has been conducted regarding being an assistant principal. The majority of the existing research on being an assistant principal targets their roles and duties within schools, while another aspect of the research examines whether or not assistant principals are prepared to be principals. This study looks further into the roles, duties, and experiences of assistant principals and their preparation toward culturally responsive leadership. To help examine this topic further, the methodology I used was a basic qualitative study. I conducted this study in a single district to determine if and how they prepare their assistant principals to be principals in diverse schools. This qualitative study considers data gathered through interviews. There were twelve participants included in this study. The data collected in this study identified key points/themes reflecting the work of assistant principals and their preparation to be culturally responsive leaders who lead diverse schools. My findings were unlike what I had anticipated before conducting the study. With regard to whether assistant principals felt they were prepared to be culturally responsive leaders who lead diverse schools, I expected to find that assistant principals felt that the preparation of assistant principals does not include sufficient development in culturally responsive leadership in order to lead successfully in a diverse school. During my research, I did find that the study’s participants felt like they did not receive enough formal preparation such as university coursework and professional development regarding culturally responsive leadership, but the assistant principals in the study still felt like they were culturally responsive leaders who would be successful leading a diverse school. Even though they had a lack of formal preparation toward culturally responsive leadership, they felt that being a culturally responsive leader was embedded in what they do; therefore, leading them to say they are culturally responsive leaders. This implies that culturally responsive leadership cannot be taught, which goes against established research findings. Research suggests, and the participants agreed, that more development is needed in this area. Culturally responsive leaders are intentional and thoughtful in their planning approach toward building a culturally responsive school environment. The participants neither shared examples, nor did the data reveal ways in which they acted with intentionality toward being a culturally responsive leader within their school. Considering the existing scholarship, this study is important because currently very little research examines the duties, responsibilities, experiences, and staff development of the assistant principals toward becoming culturally responsive leaders or leading in diverse schools. This research has the potential to lend valuable insight into how districts and school leadership preparation programs can better prepare assistant principals to be successful and highly effective culturally responsive leaders when they choose to become principals in diverse school communities.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Assistant Principals, Cultural Responsive Leadership
Assistant school principals
Educational leadership
School management and organization
Culturally relevant pedagogy
Multicultural education

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