Equity Leadership Insights: Navigating Change for Thriving Schools

Topics: Ethical Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction, Professional Learning, School Culture and Climate

“Principals are not effective unless they are effective for all the students in the building and the broader community.”

Will Jordan


In this episode, listeners will have the privilege of hearing insights from Bronwyn Bevan, Vice President, Research, and Will Jordan, Research Officer, Education Leadership at The Wallace Foundation. Through research and expert insights, they will uncover strategies for promoting fairness, excellence, and positive outcomes for all students, while navigating the complexities of educational change and fostering inclusive school environments.

Hosted by NAESP member, author, and keynote speaker Adam Welcome, NAESP Leadership Conversations is a new way to bring you professional learning and in-depth conversations from thought leaders in the field. Through these conversations, you’ll learn strategies to do your job better with more satisfaction, collaboration, and flexibility and gain tools you can use daily.


 Top Takeaways:

  1. Shift in Focus: Leadership development has transitioned from solely focusing on teacher development to recognizing the pivotal role of leaders in creating conducive environments for both teachers and students to thrive.
  2. Principal Influence: Research indicates that principals play a significant role in student outcomes, second only to teachers, underscoring the importance of investing in leadership development.
  3. Principal Pipeline Initiative: Funding initiatives such as the Principal Pipeline Initiative have shown positive outcomes in terms of student achievement, particularly in English and math, highlighting the impact of well-prepared school leaders.
  4. Persistent Disparities: Despite progress, disparities in educational opportunities and outcomes persist, necessitating continued efforts to support and prepare principals to address inequities effectively.
  5. Equity Centered Pipelines: There is a call for comprehensive and aligned equity-centered pipelines, involving collaboration between districts, universities, and stakeholders to dismantle systemic barriers and promote fairness and excellence for all students.
  6. Community Engagement: Building communities to share best practices and address historical and social contexts within schools, including issues such as desegregation, is crucial for fostering inclusive environments.
  7. Research Utilization: Understanding how research is utilized and coordinated to inform practices without burdening districts is essential, emphasizing the importance of disseminating good practices effectively.
  8. Effective Leadership Practices: Effective school leaders prioritize instruction, cultivate a positive school climate, promote collaboration among staff, and demonstrate adept resource and personnel management skills.
  9. Equity Pursuit by Principals: Principals can promote equity by developing critical consciousness, fostering inclusive environments, engaging in culturally responsive leadership, and sharing power with the school community.
  10. Wellbeing and Attendance: Teacher and leader wellbeing significantly impact school outcomes, with factors such as school climate, community engagement, and organizational management influencing student attendance and engagement.

Reflection Questions:

  • What specific strategies can I implement to address persistent disparities in educational opportunities and outcomes within my school or district?
  • In what ways am I currently promoting equity within my leadership role, and how can I further develop my capacity for equity-centered leadership?
  • How can I integrate the underlying skills of instruction, organization, and people management into my leadership approach?
  • How can I encourage collaboration and communication among stakeholders to facilitate successful change implementation and sustainment?
  • How am I currently prioritizing the wellbeing of teachers and leaders in my school, and what additional support or resources can I provide to enhance morale and reduce absenteeism?

The Wallace Foundation Resources