Culturally sustaining instructional leadership: Perspectives from Native American public school principals in Montana and Wyoming


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Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice

New Zealand Educational Administration and Leadership Society

Subject: Education


ISSN: 1178-8690





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VOLUME 33 , ISSUE 2 (December 2018) > List of articles

Culturally sustaining instructional leadership: Perspectives from Native American public school principals in Montana and Wyoming

William Holmes / Suzanne Young

Keywords : Culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP); culturally sustaining instructional leadership (CSIL); democratic project of schooling; educational leadership; instructional leadership

Citation Information : Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice. Volume 33, Issue 2, Pages 17-31, DOI:

License : (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Published Online: 02-April-2019



The purpose of this quantitative study was to gain a deeper understanding of principal beliefs of an emergent framework called Culturally Sustaining Instructional Leadership (CSIL) developed from a review of literature designed to support the implementation of Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy (CSP). Through a detailed review of literature, six instructional elements and five cultural elements were developed to guide principals in the removal of barriers and in support of teacher implementation of CSP. Principals of public schools located on Native American reservations in Montana and Wyoming (USA) were surveyed regarding their beliefs about CSIL practices and if their beliefs differed between instructional elements and cultural elements. Through a reporting of means and paired samples t-testing, the results of this study indicated principals demonstrated a significant preference for working in instructional versus cultural elements. The lowest CSIL element was student empowerment signifying that the voices of Native American students were not being heard. The principals of this study did not have a clear definition of the Democratic Project of Schooling congruent with Paris (2012). The implications of this study are the need for training and awareness in CSP and CSIL to preservice administrators in training and in-service administrators in the field.

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