Successful school leadership for social justice in Spain
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Emerald Publishing Limited
Successful school leadershipDisadvantaged contextsSocial justiceSpanish school leadershipPrincipals
Publisher version: Moral Santaella, C. (2021), "Successful school leadership for social justice in Spain", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. [https://doi.org/10.1108/JEA-04-2021-0086]
Purpose. The purpose of this article is to synthesise the findings from the investigations that have been carried out as part of the the International Successful School Principalship Project (ISSPP) in the Spanish school context Design / methodology / approach - Twelve case studies have been carried out within the three lines of research proposed by ISSPP: successful principals, underperforming principals, and principal leadership identity. All but one school were in challenging contexts. The methodological approach followed is based on multiple perspective case studies using a mixture of qualitative methods (interviews, focus groups, and observations), with some cases also including a questionnaire. Findings - Successful principals were shown to have a strong social justice orientation, and enacted this by combining transformation, instructional and collaborative leadership processes to engage their school communities in a collective endeavour to reverse the bad situation of their disadvantaged schools, seeking excellence from equity. The identity of successful pricniapls is characterised by optimism, looking to the future with hope and adopting a realistic utopian attitude to interpret their surrounding reality. Originality / value - The paper adds to the considerable findings of the ISSPP through a synthesis of the research on successful leadership in disadvantaged school contexts in Spain. It provides further evidence about leading in challenging school contexts, and also serves to provide a summary of the ISSPP research in Spain.