Becoming a transformative vice-principal in culturally and linguistically rich diverse schools: “Pace yourself. It’s a marathon, not a sprint”

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Emerald Insight


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the leadership role(s) of vice-principals in diverse, multi-ethnic schools and communities and understand the supervision and mentoring support they require to help them become more effective leaders within them. The research questions guiding this study were: what forms of mentoring do vice-principals, who serve in diverse schools in rapidly changing communities, require? Who is in the best position to provide mentoring for them? Design/methodology/approach: The author used a qualitative case study methodology. Data that were analyzed for this paper were drawn from surveys, semi-structured interviews, one focus group interview and school and community documents from three data sets within two case studies in Canada. The first data set was part of the author’s doctoral research program in a diverse school in Alberta; the other case study was part of a larger collective case study that the author is currently involved with and leading in New Brunswick. Several vice-principals were part of both studies. The author then constructed a survey questionnaire specifically focused on mentoring vice-principals in diverse schools. Vice-principals in both provinces, who were part of the two studies, were invited to respond to the follow-up survey. Using a constant comparative analytical approach, the author coded and analyzed the data from all three sets together. The author formed several categories and ultimately collapsed the categories into five distinct themes that illustrated and confirmed the social realities of the vice-principals in their schools and communities. Findings: Five key findings emerged from the analysis of the data sets. They were building leadership capacity, fostering positive relationships, increasing global awareness, reducing stress and anxiety and becoming a diversity champion and peace-builder. Originality/value: To this researcher’s knowledge, this paper contributes to a significant gap in the literature on vice-principals who serve in diverse schools and communities.