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A Culturally Proficient Society Begins in School

A Culturally Proficient Society Begins in School
Leadership for Equity

Foreword by Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana, Featuring Conversations With Randall B. Lindsey and Stephanie M. Graham

August 2012 | 208 pages | Corwin
This book is about the American Educational Dream and how all educators can be successful with students from diverse cultural backgrounds. Written by three Latina superintendents who have achieved great success as leaders of culturally and linguistically-diverse districts, the book provides a unique vision for transforming schools into places of equity and excellence. The authors use the lens of Cultural Proficiency to facilitate an understanding of both the barriers to educational opportunity as well the conditions that help to promote the success of underserved groups. Their lessons for being successful in diverse communities are a source of inspiration to all educators who aspire to extend the promises of democracy to every public school student.
Foreword by Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, PhD
About the Authors
1. The Why of This Book
2. Pueblo, Kronach, and East Los Angeles: Our Beginnings
3. Conversations With the Superintendents: The Teacher Years
4. Conversations With the Superintendents: The Administrator Years
5. Lessons Learned: Acknowledging Barriers, Recognizing Cultural Assets
6. Lessons Learned: Cultural Assets Inform Actions
7. Developing Your Leadership for Equity Plan

"This is a book I didn't know I needed until I read it. But now that I have, I will read it again and again with my leadership team. The authors have provided some powerful lessons about transformative leadership through personal stories that are moving, compelling, and captivating."

Sarah Jerome, Superintendent
Arlington Heights School District 25, IL

"The authors serve as wonderful role models for young women of color, who will enjoy reading about where the authors come from and how far they have gone. This is an insightful story that will contribute to the development of more women leaders in our country."

Daniel Domenech, Executive Director
American Association of School Administrators, Arlington, VA

"Through personal stories and vignettes, the authors share a variety of insights into how school equity has affected and shaped the lives of three successful female superintendents, and how equity issues continue to affect our students today. As a colleague and fellow female superintendent of color, I can relate to and see myself in so many of their stories. This is a wonderful must-read book for those interested in equity!"

Amy Enomoto-Perez, Superintendent
Rosemead School District, CA

“Franco, Ott, and Robles share three compelling stories that answer both the why and how questions
concerning the urgent need for culturally proficient learning experiences for every American student.”

Robert Hill, Director of Education Initiatives
The Ball Foundation, Glen Ellyn, IL

Sample Materials & Chapters



Carmella S. Franco

Carmella S. Franco is a State Trustee appointed by the California State Board of Education to oversee the academically failing Alisal Union Elementary School District in Monterey County. After retiring from twelve years as Superintendent of the Whittier City School District in 2008, Carmella then served for nearly one year as an Interim Superintendent of the Woodland Joint Unified School District. Her thirty-eight years in public education include having served as Director of Personnel, Elementary and Middle School Principal, ESL Specialist and Title VII Director in diverse school district settings, all with high English Language Learner... More About Author

Maria G. Ott

Maria G. Ott, Ph.D. started a new phase in her distinguished educational career when she joined the USC Rossier School of Education in October 2012.  Maria G. Ott  served more than seven years as Superintendent of the Rowland Unified School District, leading the district through major instructional improvement initiatives and modernization of facilities.   She is nationally known for establishing partnerships with private foundations in support of Rowland Unified and its strategic plan and efforts to reach high levels of literacy and raise student achievement, placing Rowland Unified on the national stage and forefront... More About Author

Darline P. Robles

Darline P. Robles, Ph.D., is currently a Professor of Clinical Education at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. Her primary responsibility is the development of new Masters degree program for school leadership. She recently retired from the Los Angeles County Office of Education where she served as County Superintendent of Schools for eight years. As the top education leader of the nation's most populous and diverse county, she ensured the financial and academic stability of 80 school districts that serve more than two million preschool and school age children. She was the first woman and Latina to be... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781412986533