Sarah Tanner Anderson 2020

At Longwood, Educational Leadership faculty know that strong leadership rises out of collaboration. Both the graduate program and the endorsement have joined forces to conduct research highlighting the importance of social justice instruction.

Graduate Program Director Dr. Sarah Tanner-Anderson, Endorsement Coordinator Dr. Danny Grounard and Endorsement Adjunct Instructor Dr. Lisa Chen recently published "A Call For Social Justice Work: How Three Women of Color Experienced Their Administrator Preparation Program to the Assistant Principalship" in the Spring 2022 issue of The International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation, a nationally refereed journal produced annually by the International Council of Professors of Educational Leadership.

The study followed three Black women inHeadshot of Dr. Lisa Chen 
Longwood’s  Educational Leadership Endorsement through their first administrative roles as assistant principals. In a rare nod toward the quality of the research and writing, the article was accepted without revisions.   

Reviewers noted that the study “is critical at this time with the loss of educational leaders due to the pandemic, job stress, and burnout” and “is further important in that it focuses on the lived experiences of three Black female educational leaders, a population not frequently studied in the field of K-12 educational leadership.”

Longwood’s Educational Leadership faculty agree.

“With the current political environment in our country, social justice needs to be at  the forefront of our curriculum,” Grounard said. “This is an evolving process that works because our instructors and our team are vested in doing what is right for our children.”

The idea for the article emerged from numerous conversations about the need to ingrain up-to-date best practices for equity and diversity instruction throughout the curriculum. 

“What was written was from our hearts,” Chen said. “What we hoped to achieve was to provide a venue where the voices of our students could be heard clearly. That was our goal.”

Since publishing the study, the Educational Leadership program has already evolved, infusing additional social justice coursework requirements in an effort to support young leaders in their future careers. Chen and Tanner-Anderson note that next steps include examining the impact of these changes as well as a potential follow-up study, which may examine a larger population or expand to involve Longwood’s Master’s in Educational Leadership curriculum.

“This research article gives our coursework relevance and, more importantly, shows that Longwood University is a leader in the teaching of diversity,” Grounard said.

Chen notes that the Educational Leadership faculty have also evolved as a result of the study. 

“Anytime that you can put together research and practice, you become a better researcher and practitioner. You have a deeper understanding of how the research impacts those most important, and you also learn from those who are experiencing the work that you do.”