Diversity, Social Justice, and the Educational Leader


The author reflects on her experience as a middle school administrator involved in a school-wide initiative to recognize academic growth and achievement. She draws upon Perry’s theory of African-American achievement (2003) to explain how this recognition, which included several Black boys, contributed to a counternarrative of Black male achievement. In contrast to the dominant narrative of academic failure and discipline problems (Dumas & Nelson, 2016; Grant, 2011; Howard, 2013; Monroe, 2005; Noguera, 2008), this recognition created a new narrative of academic excellence and achievement (Allen, 2015). The concerted effort by school leadership to include new and underrepresented faces in a recognition of academic excellence was appreciated by a Black seventh grade student named David (a pseudonym), who, after winning an award for academic growth, approached the author and said, “Thank you for saying my name.” Culturally responsive school leadership behaviors will aid in the creation of a narrative of academic success that includes Black boys. Leadership preparation programs must prepare candidates to be culturally responsive leaders who lead dialogue about race, support positive behavior, and have high academic expectations, to create a counternarrative of achievement.