Identity and Charter School Leadership: Building a Strong School Culture

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This is the third and last paper in a series published by the National Alliance in partnership with Public Impact, highlighting the experiences of school leaders in charter schools across the country. While the impact school leaders have on student performance has been well documented, there has been little attention to how leaders’ experiences and racial identities inform and influence their practice. Many practices of good leadership are universal, but an individual's identity can shape how they approach situations and inspire new and innovative practices.

This report includes the profiles of two leaders—Kathleen “Kathy” Wang of the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School in Massachusetts, and Maurice Thomas of Milwaukee Excellence Charter School in Wisconsin. Both leaders have found the value of building a strong school culture to ensure that students feel accepted, respected, and supported at school—which in turn leads to high performance academically.

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