3rd Edition

Transformative Leadership in Education Equitable, Inclusive, and Quality Education in an Uncertain and Complex World

By Carolyn M. Shields Copyright 2025
    210 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    210 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Framed by real stories and grounded in research, the third edition of Transformative Leadership in Education presents an alternative approach to leadership that is engaged, active, and courageous. Noted scholar Carolyn M. Shields once again explores the concept of transformative leadership theory and its potential to create learning environments that are inclusive, excellent, equitable, and socially just, as required by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4, even in the face of the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world of education today. Chapters combine contemporary research findings with stories of schools, leaders, students, teachers, and community members to demonstrate that transformative leadership can promote academic achievement, family and community empowerment, democratic engagement, and global citizenship. This exciting text will appeal to all aspiring and practicing leaders who want to create organizations that are equitable, inclusive, and excellent and that prepare students to be successful, caring, and engaged citizens of the global community.


    New in this edition:

    • Discussion of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4: “to ensure inclusive, equitable and quality education and lifelong learning for all.”
    • Updated end-of-chapter guiding questions to help readers reflect on their own practice and to apply the concepts in their own contexts.
    • Enriched discussion of the interrelationships among the eight tenets of transformative leadership and leading for social justice, with a separate chapter for each tenet.
    • Elaborated discussion of the need for reflection, grounding, and action on the part of transformative leaders.
    • Updated and expanded discussion of current topics such as refugees, transgender students, and historical roots of concepts like Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.
    • A survey to identify leadership beliefs and actions about equity and inclusion.

    Support Materials to prompt further dialogue and reflection downloadable at www.routledge.com/9781032734002

    Preface  Acknowledgements  1. Living in a World of Unfulfilled Promises: Examining the Context for Educational Leadership  2. Transformative Leadership as an Equitable, Inclusive, and Socially-Just Response to a VUCA World  3. Deep and Equitable Change: A Moral Reckoning  4. Deconstructing and Reconstructing Knowledge Frameworks to Promote Equity  5. Making Power a Positive and Moral Force  6. Promoting Both Private and Public Good: Creating Inclusive School Communities  7. Establishing a Climate of Democracy: Emancipation, Equity, and Justice  8. Recognizing Interconnectedness and Interdependence in our Global Community  9. Optimism, Hope, Critique and Promise  10. Moral Courage: A Desperately Needed Quality  11. Putting it Together  12. Conclusion  13. Afterword: Transformative Leadership Survey


    Carolyn M. Shields is Professor Emerita of Educational Leadership in the College of Education at Wayne State University, Detroit, USA where she has been focused on equity, excellence, and inclusion throughout her career.


    "Carolyn Shields, again in this 3rd edition, lives up to her pledge not to provide simplistic lists or easy answers to the challenges of educational leadership as educators work to achieve equitable, inclusive, and quality education with lifelong learning for all students. Instead, she provides a message of hope and inspiration that is anchored in the theory of transformative leadership with powerful examples from the work of authentic educational leaders who are making a positive difference through their work. The power of critique and moral leadership are poignantly illuminated through the narratives of transformative leaders. These vignettes provide excellent case studies for dialogue and reflection and serve as catalysts for action. Shields’ 3rd edition of Transformative Leadership in Education is a must read for dedicated educational leaders who are committed to providing quality learning experiences for all students. She expertly provides tangible ways that equity and excellence can be achieved and illuminates the vital role of educational leaders to this process."

    Betty J. Alford, Professor, Department Chair, and Doctoral Program Director, Educational Leadership, California State Polytechnic University, USA.

    "The third edition of Transformative Leadership in Education updates and strengthens further an already superb book which presents a social justice based, alternative approach to educational leadership. Students in several of my classes who studied the first and second editions of the book profusely praised the text's compactness, eloquent writing, and masterful combination of first-rate scholarship with vignettes and stories of real exemplary educators who, in Shields' words, "advocate for those least advantaged in our current system."  The third edition provides a broader international perspective, situating educational leadership in the United Nations sustainable development goals, with the promise of student achievement taking place in a learning environment that is equitable, inclusive, and just."

    Monte Piliawsky, Associate Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Wayne State University, USA.

    "In the graduate courses I teach on educational leadership, the work of Dr. Shields is regularly referenced. Students consistently comment on how accessible and valuable they find her writing to be. This third edition of Transformative Leadership is no different. Dr. Shields has provided a valuable overview of the complexity of a world in which educational leaders are faced with challenging contexts and tasked with a myriad of leadership responsibilities. Transformative leadership is needed now more than ever. Dr. Shields has provided a rich text that explores two principles and eight tenets of transformative leadership that hold great potential for helping educational leaders successfully navigate the complexities and challenges in which they find themselves."

    Steve Sider, Professor, Associate Dean, Faculty of Education, Director Centre for Leading Research in Education, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada.