Leadership for Social Justice

by mbsenser
Last updated 2 years ago

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Leadership for Social Justice

VISIONIn an educational context, leadership for social justice means moving toward a vision of the future that disrupts the status quo in favor of a more inclusive, equitable society. Rather than viewing social justice as a stand-alone initiative, "eliminating marginalization and promoting educational opportunities for all is central to the vision." The vision encompasses many levels. On the individual level, students, families, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members are each given supports matched to their unique needs to ensure equitable access to opportunities. On the school and district level, social justice is a central component of all policies and decisions, including academic and extracurricular offerings, tracking, disciplinary policies and practices, hiring and promotion practices, and family and community engagement practices. Students, families, community members, faculty, and staff are included in all major decision making. On the community level, the schools engages families, local businesses, and community members in meaningful ways that align with their cultures, expectations, wants and practical needs. At the state and national level, the school leads by example, shares best practices and learns from the best practices of other schools, and advocates for inclusive and equitable practices and policies in both academic and political arenas.

Dr. Cornell West exemplifies engaging in political action to lead on the state and national level. He also uses engages others in critical reflection, encouraging them to let pieces of their habits and opinions die as they learn and grow.

HOW I LEADI am a high school science teacher at a traditional public school in the suburbs of Chicago. I serve a student body and community diverse in race, religion, gender and sexual identity, language, immigration status, and socioeconomic status. I do not hold an administrative position. However, I strive to be a teacher-leader. I lead my fellow science teachers through example, in frequent critically reflective conversations with my colleagues surrounding social justice, by leading and facilitating professional development workshops focused on equity, by serving on the district equity team, and through advocating to the administration and school board on behalf of my students and the community. I am seeking to form and strengthen a community of practice within my district (Scanlan & Theoharis, 2015). As 96% of our teachers are White, social justice oriented communities of practice do not develop naturally; however, by connecting with my fellow equity facilitators, equity team members, and other allies on the staff, I am bringing together a community of leaders who are committed to realizing a vision for social justice in our school and community. Developing allies' leadership potential is another aspect of servant leadership (Sergiovanni, 2000).

METHODSI believe that effective leadership is dependent upon relationships. I will seek to understand and serve the needs of the people in my community by serving my students, the school, my colleagues, and the district such that we may all better support the students, their families, and the community. This form of servant leadership is collaborative: "serving others is important but  the most important thing is to serve the values and ideas that help shape the school as a covenantal community. In this sense, all the members of a community share the burden of servant leadership" (Sergiovanni, 2000). Serving the values and ideals of my vision require me to understand the culture and identities of my students and their communities, as well as my relationship to those. I will engage in critical self reflection, viewing all my work through a lens of social justice. I will engage my colleagues in critically reflective conversations, carefully balancing advancing social justice with maintaining positive relationships to retain influence (Gooden, et. al. 2018).ReferencesGooden, M.A., Davis, B.W., Spikes, D. D., Hall, D. L., Lee, L. (2018). Leaders Changing How They Act by Changing How They Think: Applying principles of an anti-racist principal preparation program. Teachers College Record, 120, 1-26. Sergiovanni, T. J. (2000). Leadership as stewardship. In M. Fullan (Ed.), In The Jossey-Bass reader on educational leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Scanlan, M. & Theoharis, G. (2015). Intersectionality in educational leadership. In G. Theoharis & M. Scanlan (Eds.), Leadership for increasingly diverse schools (pp.1-10). New York, NY: Routledge.

Leadership For Social Justice-Marybeth Senser


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