Reconciling Leadership Paradigms: Authenticity as Practiced by American Indian School Leaders


  • David Henderson Montana State University - Bozeman
  • Jioanna Carjuzaa Montana State University
  • William G. Ruff Montana State University



educational leadership, culturally responsive pedagogy, racism, Indian education, leading social justice


 This phenomenological study examined the complexity American Indian K-12 school leaders face on reservations in Montana, USA The study described how these leaders have to reconcile their Westernized educational leadership training with their traditional ways of knowing, living, and leading. Three major themes emerged that enabled these leaders to address racism in their schools and create spaces that were more conducive to the practice of culturally responsive pedagogy. The study highlights how leaders  reconcile cultural clashes and confront racism by using identity, relationality, and re-normed practices.

Author Biographies

David Henderson, Montana State University - Bozeman

Dr. David Henderson teaches Educational Leadership at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT, and facilitates Courage to Teach, Courage to Lead and Circles of Trust retreats. David continues to study and research the intersection of the inner life of leaders with their practice of leadership grounded in a heart striving for integrity and authenticity.

Jioanna Carjuzaa, Montana State University

Dr. Jioanna Carjuzaa is an Associate Professor who holds a Ph.D. in Multicultural, Social and Bilingual Foundations of Education from the University of Colorado-Boulder.  At Montana State University she teaches courses in Education and Native American Studies.  Jioanna is grateful to serve as the co-advisor to American Indian Council and as the facilitator for Indian Education for All professional development opportunities for the MSU community.  She was the recipient of the 2013 G. Pritchy Smith Multicultural Educator of the Year Award.

William G. Ruff, Montana State University

Dr. William Ruff, an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Montana State University, has published more than a dozen journal articles and book chapters addressing school leadership, social justice issues and comprehensive school reform. He was one of the founders of the I LEAD program and continues to play a key leadership role in the program's development as the primary investigator for the current $1.3M grant from the Office of Indian Education, U.S. Department of Education.




How to Cite

Henderson, D., Carjuzaa, J., & Ruff, W. G. (2015). Reconciling Leadership Paradigms: Authenticity as Practiced by American Indian School Leaders. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 17(1), 211–231.