Ongoing shifts in demographics, knowledge, and expectations require continuous critical reflection on the leadership of K-12 schools. The models of school leadership offered in the past, which focus on management, are no longer adequate. Today, leaders must also ensure that all the students in their care are being provided high-quality, developmentally appropriate, and challenging educational opportunities that prepare each student for college, careers, and life. In other words, leaders must engage in “Inclusive Educational Leadership.”
Inclusive Educational Leadership is a reconceptualization of traditional education leadership, which is dedicated to equity, quality and inclusion. We emphasize “inclusive” because it is our contention that providing a quality education experience that is both equitable and fosters equitable outcomes requires an intentional focus on inclusion.
Inclusive Educational Leadership has three key areas of emphasis: place, preparation, and practice. Place refers to social practices and policies that reflect competing meanings and uses of spaces, the role people play in a given space and articulations of locations (geographic positions), environments (conditions), and ranks (hierarchies). Preparation refers to education, training and mentoring that is provided to leaders, and practice refers to the work leaders do to cultivate dispositions that support inclusion, support inclusive and culturally responsive practice, and develop an inclusive school culture.
The goal of inclusive leadership is to cultivate an inclusive, caring, and supportive school culture that promotes the academic success and well-being of each student. In other words, its goal is to offer more than expectations that lightly touch on all students; its goal is to deliver results for each student. Thus, the work of Inclusive Educational Leadership involves a restructuring of the education experience to prevent marginalization, while creating school cultures based on dignity and respect and focused on achieving equity, high-quality educational experiences, and life success for all students.