Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership for Learning Dissertations


Educational Leadership

Committee Chair

Dr. Sheryl Croft

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Nicholas Clegorne

Second Committee Member

Dr. Chinasa Elue


Many rural school districts face concerns stemming from rural areas’ demographic and economic state— increased student diversity, high poverty, little parental involvement, lack of technological infrastructure, low student achievement, and difficulty hiring and retaining teachers (Gutierrez, n.d.). In increasingly diverse populations, rural school leaders need culturally responsive practices to address the various traditions and needs of the changing demographics of their schools and communities. Cultural responsiveness in schools begins with resilient, courageous leadership. Culturally responsive leadership (CRL) is a concept commonly associated with urban schools; however, there is a pressing need for such leadership practices in rural districts serving diverse student populations. This qualitative research study based on descriptive phenomenological traditions explores rural principals’ perception of culturally responsive leadership, perceived self-efficacy in effectively employing CRL, and the perceived benefits and barriers to implementing CRL practices in a diverse, rural school district. The qualitative study will also examine the culturally responsive leadership approaches principals in rural communities execute to address the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse populations in their schools. This research study aims to shed light on the perceptions and efficacy of rural principals in using CRL practices to address the evolving contextual factors in their rural communities. Understanding rural principals’ self-efficacy in using culturally responsive leadership practices may aid school systems in addressing inequities and stereotypes that traditionally limit opportunities for diverse learners.