The terms school administration and school leadership are often used interchangeably. Contemporary frameworks of school administration and leadership focus on the various administrative/leadership styles (Bolman & Deal, 1997; Leithwood & Duke, 1999; Lomotey, 1994); administrative/leadership functions (Leithwood & Riehl, 2003; Farkas, Johnson, & Duffett, 2003); alternative perspectives on school administration/leadership, such as spirituality (Dantley, 2001); leadership for social justice (Furman, 2002); and diversity in educational administration/leadership (Gonzalez, 2002; Tillman, 2002,2003). While some of these frameworks are inclusive of the perspectives of African American school leaders (see for example Alston, 1999; Dantley, 2001; Jones, 2003; Lomotey, 1994), much of the theoretical and empirical literature on school leadership has failed to consider the unique history, leadership, constructs, and present day circumstances that contribute to effective leadership in schools where students of color enjoy academic engagement and achievement
African American school leadership is an under-researched, under-developed, and under- valued topic in the discourse on school administration/leadership (Banks, 1995; Valverde & Brown, 1988;). Reports such as Rolling up Their Sleeves: Superintendents and Principals Talk about What’s needed to Fix Public Schools (Farkas, Johnson, & Duffett, 2003), Who is Leading Our Schools?: An Overview of School Administrators and Their Careers (Gates, Ringel, Santibanez, Ross, & Chung, 2003), and Preparing School Principals: A National Perspective on Policy and Program Innovations (Hale & Moorman, 2003), tend to be narrowly scripted discussions of what school leadership is and the desired characteristics and skills of individuals who serve as school leaders. The focus and content of these reports, as well as the emphasis of programs in departments of educational leadership, indicate a privileging of voice that often excludes the historical, theoretical, intellectual, and practical knowledge of African American school leaders. Scholars of cultural-synchronization and cultural relevance studies have argued effectively that school administrators and teachers, and those who prepare them for service in schools, require the cultural understanding that equips them to work productively and effectively with children who are from ethnic groups different from their own.