Ensuring Equity-Focused Leadership

Principal voices from across the nation.

Topics: Equity and Diversity

What steps do you take to ensure your decision-making and leadership are equity-focused?

Challenging assumptions. I intentionally consider if it is a decision that’s best for each student—looking at the data for subgroups, asking myself and teams to challenge assumptions, and even asking what our assumptions are based on a decision or choice made. I ask the following questions constantly of myself and others: “Is it my best?” “Can I do better?” “What am I prepared to do?”

—Jessica Hutchison (@jesshutchisonAW), Avoca West Elementary School, Glenview, Illinois

Putting the students first. Always keep the students at the forefront of your decisions. Kids are experiencing a different world than we did when we were kids. We need to be aware of their hopes, dreams, and fears in order to help them see a world beyond their own.

—Todd Brist (@WMSPal), Watertown Middle School, Watertown, South Dakota

Sharing leadership.  Many of my decisions are made from a shared leadership perspective. I regularly invest time with stakeholders to gather their opinions as we try to determine what’s best for all students.

—Anna Claire Parker (@acparker12), Southaven Intermediate School, Southaven, Mississippi

Building self-awareness. I try to always be aware of my own biases and privileges to help me understand how I make decisions. I also always try to educate myself about issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion [and] seek the input of those from diverse backgrounds.

—Shannon Hamm (@hamm_shamm), Circle Center Grade School, Yorkville, Illinois

Getting multiple perspectives. It is best to involve many different stakeholders when making decisions. It allows you the opportunity to consider multiple perspectives.

—Matt Moyer (@MoyerMatthewD), Rupert Elementary School, Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Studying with a new lens. I read books focused on equity. I’m currently attending a yearlong equity institute to further push my thinking, and I surround myself with people with different viewpoints to ensure I make decisions with information from people who have different lenses than I do. My core group will tell me honestly if I’m making a decision based on white privilege or from a position of power rather than what my students and staff need. This helps remind me to get outside my own lens and helps me make better decisions.

—Lyn Marsilio (@LynMarsilio), Yorkshire Elementary School, Manassas, Virginia

Collective action. We use a collective approach to decision-making and focus on collective efficacy. Each teacher, each instructional assistant, each staff member plays a critical role in influencing student achievement. Our division meetings are purposeful and consistently provide for opportunities for different perspectives to be heard. Team members hold each other accountable for participation and engage in personal and team reflection of practices.

—Paula Torres, Carol Morgan School, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Diverse perspectives. To ensure that my decision-making
and leadership are equity-focused, I would invite diverse voices to the decision-making table so that all perspectives
are considered. I would listen to all stakeholders and include diverse voices when it is time to make decisions.

—Aqila Malpass (@TeachOnPurpose), Hoover City Schools, Alabama