Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Ella Benson


Closing the achievement gap is a key concern for educational leaders. Research has indicated that principals’ actions directly and indirectly influence student learning. The purpose of this case study was to explore cultural leadership in an urban Mississippi high school from an African American’s racialized perspective. The cultural competency/proficiency theory provided the conceptual framework for this study. Successful leadership practices of this African American principal were examined through the principal and through the perceptions of teachers and the assistant administrator. A researcher-developed questionnaire was content validated and given to a purposeful sample of 17 individuals: the principal, assistant principal, and the 15 full time teachers at the study site. Nine individuals––the school’s principal, assistant principal, and 7 teachers––returned the questionnaire. Using Stake’s framework for data analysis, data were organized, coded, and categorized to develop themes regarding the principal’s cultural leadership practices. Results showed that the principal used 6 practices to help a diverse student body succeed: double-dosing of subject-area test courses, pull-out tutorials, after-school tutorials, differentiated instruction, scaffolded learning, and coteaching. Based on the study findings, a professional development program was created to provide cultural leadership training for all district leaders. The findings can positively affect social change by improving principals’ cultural awareness and equipping educators with proven practices to meet the needs of a diverse student body, thus increasing students’ opportunities for academic success.