Educational Leaders and Inclusive Special Education: Perceptions, Roles, and Responsibilities

Cammy D. Romanuck Murphy

Abstract


Educational leaders, including principals and district leaders, are the primary special education leaders in public schools today. They are ultimately responsible for the successful implementation of inclusive special education programs, as outlined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004). Yet, educational leaders continually report they lack the knowledge and skills to effectively oversee inclusive education programs. The research that examines the perceptions, roles, and responsibilities of educational leaders related to inclusive education programs is extremely limited. Therefore, guided by transformational leadership theory, this qualitative case study explores the perceptions, roles, responsibilities of school and district leaders who oversee successful inclusive education programs. The findings suggested that educational leaders value the philosophy of inclusion. The predominant themes that arose were culture, collaboration, limited staff, purposeful inclusion, consideration of individual needs, acceptance, relationships, appreciation of diversity, and student learning. Educational leaders described their role in inclusive education programs as collaborators, problem solvers, professional developers, and facilitators. The findings from this study can serve as a basis for discussion regarding the strengths and needs of current practices for inclusive education. These discussions can be utilized to analyze current strengths, and potential needs for refinement of practices, policies, and procedures.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22158/jecs.v2n4p248

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