Date on Capstone


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, EDD

Committee Chair

Alagaraja, Meera

Committee Member

Hampton, Georgia

Committee Member

Ingle, W. Kyle

Committee Member

Washington, Ahmad

Author's Keywords

cultural competence; social emotional learning; effective school leadership; cultural responsiveness


Educators in today’s global community are held accountable for teaching to develop the whole child. This requires providing instruction and support to equip students both academically, socially and emotionally to prepare for real world experiences. Competencies such as self-awareness, decision-making and relationship building have proven to be essential to create student outcomes associated with prosocial behavior, mental health and smooth transition to college or career. Acquisition of these skills occur as a result of social emotional learning. In order for social emotional skills to develop and promote these outcomes key features of programs, quality of implementation and support of school leadership are critical. This dissertation seeks to assist education practitioners and leadership by detailing implementation of effective social emotional programs from the perspective of those providing instruction and support. In order to foster a culturally responsive school when coupled with culturally responsive leadership. Culturally responsive leadership is distinguished from other leadership approaches because it is anchored in the belief that a leader must clearly understand his or her own assumptions, beliefs, and values about people and cultures different from himself or herself in order to lead effectively in multicultural settings (Terrell & Lindsey, 2009). Johnson (2006) asserts that culturally responsive leadership occurs when administrators merge curriculum innovation with social activism. Effective leadership is critical to the success of any school – especially Priority Schools engaged in comprehensive school reform. To ensure coordinated, long-standing implementation of cultural responsiveness, principals must directly engage in and support this work (Duke, 2014; Khalifa, Gooden, & Davis, 2015). Culturally responsive leadership is paramount in schools working with marginalized groups in order to address the inherent barriers to these students’ academic progress. Since the implementation of culturally responsive teaching and the fostering of culturally responsive cultures rests on the principal, principals must lead in a culturally responsive manner in order to raise marginalized student populations to higher academic achievement levels.