Term of Award

Summer 2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Grigory Dmitriyev

Committee Member 1

Lisa Heusel

Committee Member 2

Robert Lake

Committee Member 3

Alma Stevenson

Committee Member 3 Email



This study examines the perceptions of ESOL teachers in Georgia regarding their school leaders’ cultural proficiency in working with diverse learners. The hypothesis is that school leaders must embrace diversity within the school they supervise by promoting language learning and academic success through engagement and discourse, establishing a relationship with diverse students and their families, and show a vested interest in language learning programs. The issue surrounding this research is the lack of knowledge, interaction, respect, inclusion, and understanding that some school leaders demonstrate regarding ESOL students and their parents. Using Dewey’s Theory of Experience as a theoretical framework, narrative inquiry was utilized to tell the experiences of the participants based on their perceptions of school leaders. Six elementary ESOL teachers in Georgia participated in this study. Data collection included in-depth interviews, detailed field notes, and teacher’s written documentation received from the school leaders about their job. Data analysis focused on four emergent themes and categories:1. School administrators’ awareness of cultural diversity; 2. Organizational culture and structure of schools; 3. Administrative support regarding the ESOL program; and 4. Engagement with ESOL teachers, students, and parents. Results from this research indicate that none of the themes had overall positive perceptions of cultural proficiency among school leaders.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material