Culturally Proficient Leadership
- Randall B. Lindsey, Randall B. LindseyCalifornia State University, Los Angeles
- Delores B. LindseyDelores B. LindseyCalifornia State University, San Marcos
- and Raymond D. TerrellRaymond D. TerrellMiami University Ohio
Culturally proficient leadership is an inside-out process of personal and organizational change. Cultural proficiency reflects educational leaders’ values through their actions in service of all students. Culturally proficient leaders demonstrate their capability and willingness to embrace change as an inside-out process in which school leaders become students of their assumptions about self, others, and the context in which they work.
The willingness and ability to assess and examine self, school, and school district are fundamental to addressing educational access and achievement disparity issues. Cultural proficiency provides a comprehensive, systemic structure for school leaders to identify, examine, and discuss educational equity in their schools. Cultural proficiency provides the means to assess and change school leaders’ values and behaviors through their school’s policies and practices to serve students, schools, communities, and society in an equitable and inclusive manner. Culturally proficient school leaders engage in processes of self-growth as a philosophical and moral imperative.
Cultural proficiency is a mindset for how we interact with all people, irrespective of their or others’ cultural memberships. Cultural proficiency is a world view that carries explicit values, language, and standards for effective personal interactions and professional practices. Cross, Bazron, Dennis, and Isaacs were motivated to develop cultural competence and cultural proficiency when they recognized that only a few mental health professionals and institutions were effective in cross-cultural settings. They devised the elements of cultural competence to identify why some health professionals were successful irrespective of culture of the professional or client. From their work came the cultural proficient framework. The work is profound in causing shifts in thinking and actions. Educators who commit to culturally proficient leadership practices represent a paradigmatic shift from demonstrating a value for tolerating diversity to a transformative commitment to equity.
The Cultural Proficiency Framework comprises an interrelated set of four tools: the Cultural Proficiency Continuum, Overcoming Barriers to Cultural Proficiency, the Guiding Principles of Cultural Proficiency, and the Essential Elements of Cultural Competence. The guiding principles inform individual and organizational core values and the essential elements inform and guide individual actions and organizational policies and practices.