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Cultural Proficiency: A Manual for School Leaders

Cultural Proficiency: A Manual for School Leaders

by Randall B. Lindsey, Kikanza Nuri-Robins, Raymond D. Terrell

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Embark on a journey toward cultural proficiency that results in professional growth and organizational change!

This powerful third edition offers fresh approaches, a revised organization, and new activities that enable leaders to engage in effective interactions with students, educators, and the communities they serve. The


Embark on a journey toward cultural proficiency that results in professional growth and organizational change!

This powerful third edition offers fresh approaches, a revised organization, and new activities that enable leaders to engage in effective interactions with students, educators, and the communities they serve. The authors meticulously provide information gathered from their experiences working with schools, educational agencies, and organizations across the United States and Canada and show how school leaders can:

  • Gain a personal understanding of what cultural proficiency means in practice
  • Use collaborative activities to effect change in a school
  • Lead a learning community toward becoming a culturally proficient organization

Editorial Reviews

Ken Kearney
"A first-rate guide for making the changes in schools that ensure education for each and every student. Provides the concepts, history, theories, strategies, and activities to build cultural proficiency."
Kieran Vaughan

"An asset for any participant in a learning community. However, it is critically important for it to be read and used by principals and other educational leaders in our K-12 schools. The activities and processes are excellent."

Phyllis J. Hart
"Helps us understand why educational equity is everyone’s responsibility. I recommend this book to all educators in the public school system."
Allen A. Mori
"Breaks new ground in the effort to provide contextually appropriate environments for all students. The authors have issued a challenge to the educational community to make quality education available to all students."
Carmella S. Franco
"A sensitive, thoughtful, provocative exploration of perhaps the most significant issue facing today’s urban educator. "

Marlin Foxworth
In Cultural Proficiency, there is clarity about the values and common sense underpinning the need for cultural proficiency, and about how to develop that proficiency in a way that will serve us all.
Carol Bartell
The book is appropriate for educational leaders in almost any setting, since it raises issues that face us all as we seek to move beyond being merely competent to becoming proficient in understanding the complex connections between culture and schooling.
Kirk P. Perucca
Cultural Proficiency, Second Edition asks individuals and organizations to come to a deep understanding of their own culture and how it affects others. Each chapter contains crucial insights, cogent discussion, and activities that delve deeply into who we are, the impact of culture, and how organizations can understand and integrate the dynamics of difference.
Marsha Jacobs
This book is an essential and invaluable guide for those brave enough to venture into unchartered waters. It gave me hope that cultural competency is attainable.
Lynne Rosen
"This book is a phenomenal resource for school districts and organizations that are interested in improving the culture of their organizations. It provides a solid foundation for understanding equity, embracing diversity, and adapting to differences. Moreover, the protocols and activities presented in this edition are practical to use and serve as a road map for school and district leaders on the journey toward cultural proficiency."
Bobbie D'Alessandro and Erica Champagne
"The tools of cultural proficiency outlined in this book have provided the foundation upon which we are building our state educational leadership system. We believe that culturally proficient school leaders can close the educational achievement gap in Massachusetts."

Product Details

SAGE Publications
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Barnes & Noble
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4 MB

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Meet the Author

Randall B. Lindsey is emeritus professor at California State University, Los Angeles and has a practice centered on educational consulting and issues related to equity and access. Prior to higher education faculty roles, he served as a junior and senior high school history teacher, a district office administrator for school desegregation, and executive director of a non-profit corporation. All of his experiences have been in working with diverse populations and his area of study is the behavior of white people in multicultural settings. It is his belief and experience that too often white people are observers of multicultural issues rather than personally involved with them. He works with colleagues to design and implement programs for and with schools, law enforcement agencies, and community-based organizations to provide access and achievement. He and his wife and frequent co-author, Delores, are enjoying this phase of life as grandparents, as educators, and in support of just causes that extend the promises of democracy throughout society in authentic ways.

Kikanza Nuri-Robins helps people to close the gap between what they say they are and what they actually do.  Whether she is in a corporate boardroom, the fireside room of a retreat center, or a convention center auditorium, Kikanza uses her skills and insights to help people and organizations that are in transition – or ought to be.  She shares her observations and recommendations with clarity and candor, while gently encouraging them to face the difficult situations that challenge their skill sets and their values.  She leads people to this growing edge with unswerving focus, an understanding heart, and laughter that rises from the seat of her soul.


Since 1978, Kikanza has worked as an organizational development consultant in a variety of settings includ­ing education, health care, criminal justice, and religion, focusing on leadership development, change management, and cultural proficiency. Her clients range from school districts, to university faculty, to government offices and non-profit organizations.  The connecting thread is her passion for working with people who want to making a difference for others.


Kikanza studied at Occidental College, the University of Southern California, and the San Francisco Theological Seminary.  She is the author of many articles and five books, including: Cultural Proficiency and Culturally Proficient Responses to the LGBT Communities. Kikanza lives in Los Angeles where she spends her discretionary time as a textile artist.

Raymond D. Terrell, EdD, served as special assistant to the dean for diversity initiatives in the School of Education and Allied Professions at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. A former secondary English teacher, elementary school principal, professor of educational administration, and dean of the School of Education at California State University, Los Angeles, he has more than 40 years of professional experience with diversity and equity issues.

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