8.6 An initiated impact on culturally responsive leadership
In a related observation we also believe that the Network has been exceptional in initiating practices that value and support the work of Aboriginal teacher leaders. As noted above, leadership is an absolute strength of the Network; but there is an opportunity to further nurture and support the work of Aboriginal educational leaders. The AESN has provided an important mechanism through which individual Aboriginal leaders have been both promoted and recognized, yet we believe this work has not yet reached a point where the understandings of Aboriginal leadership have permeated the culture of the Network itself. There is some structural work that could be done to the Network model through which to more actively promote the role that Aboriginal leaders can and should play in transforming school district cultures and approaches to Aboriginal education. Aboriginal educational leaders bring the strength of what was described to us as “walking in two worlds” or “speaking in two voices” to the Network model: their heritage, values and ways of knowing and being provide the foundation from which their pedagogy flows ensuring that their endeavours in meeting student needs is approached in a holistic manner. This is modeled well in some school districts where Aboriginal teacher leaders have been promoted into formal positions of leadership. There is room to explore how this might be formalized in the structure of the Network so that emerging Aboriginal leaders can be given roles to develop their strengths as educational leaders and transformational change agents. From this cadre of dedicated learning centred leaders, districts and Network teams alike will be able to grow their capacity to engage in culturally responsive practices and transform the cultures of their schools to ones that embrace the capabilities and passions of their Aboriginal learners.