The Role of Formal and Nonformal Leaders in Creating Culturally Proficient Educational Practices

The Role of Formal and Nonformal Leaders in Creating Culturally Proficient Educational Practices

Brooke Soles (California State University, San Marcos, USA), Peter Flores III (Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, USA), Joe Domingues (Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, USA) and Francisco Solis (Joint Doctoral Program, University of California, San Diego, USA & California State University, San Marcos, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1177-0.ch007
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This chapter examines the role of formal and nonformal leaders in creating culturally proficient educational practices to create equity and access for all students. Transformative leadership is the foundation of this change process. Through the inside-out cultural proficiency journey, all educational stakeholders can create equity and access at the intersection of race, measurement, and conversations. This chapter introduces a study-in-progress with the following research question: What does it take for educational leaders to create and sustain change processes focused on culturally proficient educational practices so that all students achieve?
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In this chapter, the authors aim to illustrate how formal and nonformal educational leaders are situated in culturally proficient educational practices by describing one district’s perspective through one school. The researchers discuss findings from a case study that describe formal and nonformal leaders examination regarding the district, school, and individual standards, values, as well as healthy and unhealthy behaviors, practices, language, and policies. While the school and its district engaged in cultural proficiency professional development over the past decade, its implementation efficacy is limited but significant. Culturally proficient educational practices occur through engaging all leaders working with diverse institutional and organizational stakeholders. These findings have particular implications for teaching and learning in educational leadership, school reculturing, and school-community stakeholder engagement.

The authors were interested in this equity-based context as the district had already implemented many culturally proficient educational practices. Thus, they sought to understand what indicators, evidence, and artifacts are present to measure this already evolving district in its quest to become more culturally proficient in order to create praxis. By studying the role of formal and nonformal leaders, schools and districts can understand how to effectively include all voices in the schooling process. Formal leaders are typically considered educators with established roles holding power and authority such as assistant principals, principals, and district office personnel. Nonformal leaders are considered those who are typically supervised by the formal leaders such as teachers, counselors, and staff. This case study will assist other districts and leaders in assessing their own change processes for equity, access, and inclusion.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Praxis: Action relating theory to practice, in a specific context that challenges power relationships and leads to transformative action.

Cultural Proficiency: The educating of all students to high levels through knowing, valuing, and using as assets, their cultural backgrounds, languages, and learning styles within the context of teaching.

Conceptual Framework for Culturally Proficient Practices: A framework comprised of an interrelated set of four tools that when used authentically, provides one the opportunity to improve one’s own practice in the service of others.

Educational Practices: The work in schools that create equity-based professional learning frameworks that ensures that high-quality teaching and learning experiences exist for all learners.

Transformative Leadership: An alternative approach to educational leadership for deep and equitable change.

The Tools of Culturally Proficiency: These tools are not strategies or techniques. The tools provide an individual with the means by which to perform their professional responsibilities in a culturally proficient manner. Being culturally competent or proficient is exemplified by how one uses assessment data, delivers curriculum and instruction, interacts with parents and community members, and plans and uses professional development. The tools of cultural proficiency combine to provide a framework for analyzing a person’s values and behaviors as well as their school or agency’s policies and practices.

Nonformal Leader: An educational leader who has no official role assigning them to authority (e.g., teacher, counselor, administrative assistant, parent, or community leader).

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