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The pressure to close the student achievement gap compounded by federal mandates and laws forces principals to hyper-focus on accountability as one of the major technical aspects of the profession; however, principals who can balance the technical (systems world) with the relational (lifeworld) and facilitate authentic care over aesthetic care, are warranted so that the achievement gap can be understood for what it really is, an opportunity gap. Thus, it’s important to document the processes, strategies, dispositions, or beliefs of school leaders who employ authentic care so that principal preparation programs can teach these as skill sets for preservice leaders and other in-service leaders. The researchers conceptualize the leader´s processes, dispositions, and beliefs of professional love as acts of authentic care. This critical case study highlights the efforts of one female principal whose work is informed by her racial and/or gendered identities and social justice orientation. Social justice leaders who exercise professional love, can facilitate authentic care to maintain the lifeworld of an organization. The purpose of this qualitative critical case study is to understand the following research questions and use the findings as a heuristic to inform principal practice and preparation: what specific processes, strategies, dispositions, and beliefs does one school leader use to establish an environment conducive to meetings the needs of faculty and staff while also assuming responsibility of the technical aspect of the profession? How does a principal´s identities as a woman and/or woman of color inform her work?

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Journal of Texas Women School Executives



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