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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Lived experiences of South Asian educational leaders within a British Columbia school district Grewal, Amandeep Singh


The purpose of this study was to investigate the lived experiences of South Asian administrators within a British Columbia School District (BCSD). Through a qualitative research design involving hour long semi-structured interviews, 70% of South Asian administrators within the BCSD were interviewed regarding three major research questions: (a) the challenges South Asian administrators face or have faced in their role as administrators or in the attainment of their positions as educational leaders in the BCSD, (b) how the daily experiences of these administrators impact their leadership style, and (c) how these administrators described their impact on the educational experiences of South Asian students in their schools. A Critical Race Theory theoretical framework was used to analyze interview data. The three major findings associated with each of the research questions, respectively, were: (a) South Asian administrators face endemic racism within their roles in the BCSD that prejudice their work capacities, (b) South Asian administrators have a distinct leadership style as it relates to South Asian students which is influenced by their service-oriented upbringing rooted in their common cultural orientation, and (c) South Asian administrators believe they have a greater positive impact on the educational experiences of South Asian students than White administrators. These three major findings were a critical counter-story of the tenuous space of leadership within the BCSD for South Asian administrators, and the effect of their role modelling upon the schooling experiences of South Asian students in the larger hegemonic institutional structures of schooling in the BCSD. The opportunity to voice this counter-story opened up spaces for dialogue around issues of race and racism within the BCSD, and may serve to inform a more critical anti-racist praxis for potential future policy shifts in the BCSD.

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