Social Justice Leadership and Family Engagement: A Successful Case From Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

David E. DeMatthews*, D. Brent Edwards, Rodolfo Rincones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Research Approach: This in-depth qualitative case study explores one school leader’s enactment of social justice leadership in an elementary school in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Analysis of interviews and observations revealed how this leader adapted her leadership to prioritize the severe needs of families and students in one of the world’s most violent cities. Findings: The article describes how the leader made sense of the community and its needs. Then, it examines how the leader enacted social justice leadership by addressing the out-of-school challenges that affected student achievement and well-being. Consequently, the leader’s focus shifted toward meaningful family engagement through adult education, community advocacy, and critical questioning of the status quo. Implications: Implications for future research, theory, and administrator preparation programs are presented at the conclusion of the article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)754-792
Number of pages39
JournalEducational Administration Quarterly
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes


  • educational leadership
  • family engagement
  • international education
  • private schools
  • social justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Administration


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