THE EFFECT OF RACIAL/ETHNIC CONGRUENCE IN THE PRINCIPAL ROLE IN IMPACTING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
Educational leaders of diverse student populations that traditionally struggle academically are charged with implementing transformative leadership practices to build strong effective teams that produce results for all students no matter race, socioeconomic status, language, at-risk status, etc. (Donohoo, Hattie, & Eells, 2018). Traditionally principal leadership was a managerial function, but now this position is critical and is recognized as having the second greatest impact on student achievement (Desravines, Aquino, & Fenton, 2016). The focus of this study is to analyze if the race of principals play a prominent role in impacting student achievement. The phenomenological study will be utilized to provide an in-depth understanding of the lived experiences of principals serving in the principalship role that serve a diverse population with majority Hispanic and African American students. This study is significant because it sheds light on a topic with little literature examining if racial/ethnic congruence of students is required for a principal to be effective in impacting learning outcomes. There are volumes of pertinent research on teacher to student congruence impact on learning outcomes, but not an abundance on the phenomenon of if there is influence on student achievement when the principal’s race does not match their student population. Principals’ skill set, knowledge base, and capacity in leading culturally competent practices are necessary to diminish the achievement gap. This research will help develop the necessary background information, tools, and assessment skills to assist leaders in urban schools to understand the impact of leadership and its impact on student achievement.