Distributed Leadership and Courageous Conversations
Distributed leadership, which originally found recognition in education literature, is most commonly defined as leadership interactions and paradigms that are distributed throughout institutions involving multiple dynamic responsibilities and input of the stakeholders. Weinberger (2011) contended that, by definition, distributed leadership is a ubiquitous property and that it is decentralized so that people work for a common purpose without relinquishing their separate identities. Distributed leadership was tested in a school districted referred to throughout this chapter as the Central River School District (CRSD). A Respect Committee was formed to address district-wide inequities in student achievement related to culture and diversity. The committee modeled distributed leadership and comprised representatives from CRSD, City University of Seattle, and a regional Native American tribe. The results showed positive shifts in the area of teachers holding one another accountable for cultural sensitivity and in areas that included the school’s efforts to address responsiveness to cultural inequities. This distributive leadership model resulted in many efforts to engage and promote cultural equity projects in the district’s schools and ultimately, an opportunity for university involvement in collaboratively determining the future of education within this context.