The Journal of Transformative Leadership and Policy Studies

Volume 2, Number 1 - Spring 2012

Letter from the Editors

Today, the challenges of educational institutions to adapt to a new normal are most pressing. This presents an opportunity for educational leaders to transform their leadership practice. This transformation serves as a motivation to lead with a sense of urgency, innovation, and deliberate purpose to increase the educational achievement of all students. The range of leadership approaches found in this volume addresses the complexity of problems and competing interest facing schools and colleges. Equally important, it provides hope to readers through noting transformative practices that underscore innovative leadership.

Our current issue includes three conceptual pieces and two empirical studies. All of the articles build on a commitment to educational transformation, social justice and educational equity for under-served student populations; all of them speak directly to educational leaders about strategies for thinking about and acting on ideas that hold promise of parity in education for all students.

The article on international-mindedness explores the framework for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program in high schools, which emerged in the 1960s as a curricular tool for grounding global awareness in a solid understanding of one’s own culture and national identity. Complementing the IB article is a thoughtful and compelling discussion of students’ fundamental right to their own culture as affirmed by our country’s ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.  Taken together, these two articles cry out for a discussion of the role of intercultural competence in a school system that recognizes individuals’ rights to their own culture.

Transformative Critical Leadership in Action, the third conceptual offering in this issue, suggests the consideration of critical leadership as an emergent type of transformative leadership practice involving the facilitation of crucial conversations to incite change and inform policy development. This article provides a foundation to the kind of discussion called for by the previously mentioned pieces.

The two empirical studies focus squarely on the role of school administrators in the K-12 system. Seen not as heroes but as cultural facilitators, the principal behind the challenge of effectively distributing leadership in a high school in Mexico uses analytic auto ethnography as a method to analyze and report insights from her experiences over a three-year time span in using the resources of colleagues, including teachers and other administrators, in a way that pooled knowledge and informed decision-making. Giving referrals to under-performing teachers was developed through application of narrative inquiry to unravel complexities faced by novice principals with a strong commitment to social justice who must nonetheless learn to work with less-than-stellar teachers and help them improve rather than seek to dismiss them. These studies also complement one another in that a distributed leadership model might hold promise of lessening the challenge social justice leaders face when confronting teachers of privilege who are not serving minority students well.

JTLPs intends to publish a second issue for the 2012 year during the fall semester and invites submissions for this issue. As always, we are interested in reviewing empirical studies of questions related to educational leadership, but we are expanding our call for other genres of articles. Authors who have questions about the appropriateness of a submission are invited to email Dr. Terry Underwood, incoming editor, with their questions (tlunder@csus.edu). JTLPs intends to publish a section of each future issue devoted to questions and issues related to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education and social justice. Note that we are interested in articles that focus on topics of interest to leaders working in a broad range of educational levels—from preschool to high school to the university—but our special emphasis will be on articles that bring a scholarly perspective on educational problems and solutions to administrators and policymakers. Although many educational leaders do indeed have a strong background in STEM education, many may not and may need elaboration on technical concepts. In short, we want to make these articles accessible to a wide audience by providing context and definition where appropriate, and our reviewers will provide feedback on this point. In this regard, for our Fall 2012 issue we would like to publish conceptual papers on STEM education that is developed from both historical and up-to-the-minute information. Our goal is to provide our readers with an up-to-date perspective on STEM education that integrates authoritative scholarship from the past with cutting-edge research of today.

Carlos Nevarez, Editor-in-Chief
Terry Underwood, Editor