April Hrovat


Cieminski, Amie

Committee Member

Cohen, Michael

Committee Member

Larkins, Randy

Committee Member

Rutter, Amanda


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; Leadership, Policy, and Development: Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Education Leadership


University of Northern Colorado

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Greeley, (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

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Born digital


During the last 60 years, national standardized testing has confirmed a gap in reading and math scores between White and Black students, often called the achievement, opportunity, equity, or race-based gap (Coleman et al., 1966; NCES, 2021). Researchers have attempted to identify factors that influence these student outcomes (Jayavant, 2016). Leithwood et al. (2004) found that the practices and behaviors of building leaders "are second only to classroom instruction in school-related factors that contribute to what students learn at school" (p. 5). Based on their significant impact, research has been conducted to identify effective social justice and mainstream educational leadership behaviors that may contribute to student outcomes. A case study was conducted in a school experiencing more than a 5-year reduction in the equity gap. The school was led by a long-term principal whose leadership can be tied more closely to student outcomes. The findings indicated the principal’s most prevalent practices, those that may be contributing to the reduction in the equity gap, were based on a strong foundation of relational skills and well-developed critical consciousness. The principal’s relational skills, along with an equity lens, drove his efforts to develop relationships, engage the community, cultivate and maintain culturally relevant pedagogy used by the teachers, and exercise critical consciousness and self-reflective practice. These findings are relevant to students in leadership preparation programs as they learn strategies for leadership, for practitioners looking to improve student outcomes and close equity gaps, and for school district leaders in hiring and supporting principals.

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