A Qualitative Study of Asian American Division Directors and Heads of School in Independent Schools
By: Sandra Wang
Published: 05/21/2014
Uploaded: 01/11/2018
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2014 (May) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Administrators, Americans, Asian, diversity, Education, Leadership, schools

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Description/Abstract: Over the past decade, many independent schools have begun to incorporate goals of social justice, equity, and globalization into their school missions. However, the diversification of independent school populations is a multifaceted and ongoing process. Many schools began this process by increasing the numbers of students of color in their communities. Next, came efforts to hire more teachers of color who would be able to serve as role models for all students as well as provide varied outlooks on curriculum and teaching. Subsequently, conversations turned to the leadership team and the need for a diverse make-up of authority figures who could not only act as role models for students but make real change in the school community and serve as mentors for future leaders. As with any person of color, the experiences of Asian American faculty and administrators are unique ones and the path to leadership in independent schools is often paved with surprises. As a result, mentors and supporters are an irreplaceable aspect of the successful outcome of an Asian American administrator's career. Obstacles that appear throughout the process can be unexpected and difficult to manage. However, there are also special advantages to being an Asian American educator in a leadership role. This study describes the career paths taken by Asian American Division Directors and Heads of School in the independent sector. By examining their stories, we can see that while administrators of all racial backgrounds may share commonalities in their professional experiences, Asian Americans face unique challenges that less frequently arise in the daily lives of administrators of other races. This study offers guidance to Asian American educators who seek advancement as administrators and advice to those seeking to attract Asian American educators to their administrative ranks.