Social Justice Leadership: The Backbone in Inquiry-Based and Transformative Education

By Julia Lewis posted 12-21-2023 06:00 AM


Social Justice Leadership: The Backbone in Inquiry-Based and Transformative Education

by Lucijan Jović


As Nelson Mandella once said, “education is the most powerful weapon with which we can use to change the world.” Schools are a place where students are prepared for post-secondary education and the workforce. In addition, schools serve as a place where students craft their identities. Rich learning fuels students’ intrinsic motivation to become proficient readers, writers, speakers, and critical thinkers. The goal is to foster civic and engaged individuals who will not only make positive contributions to society but will create a sustainable future for generations to come. In order to continue to provide students will high-quality instruction, careful attention to curriculum spear-headed by a social justice leader is imperative.

One can agree that successful leaders are ones who exhibit patience, value engaging in collaborative exchanges of discourse, listen attentively to others, and make decisions that best meet the needs of the school and community. Radd et al. (2021) articulate that “Equity leadership involves working in complex, dynamic, and sometimes hostile environments" (p.36). In order for a school to run efficiently and free from any forms of bias and tension, a successful equity leader must: engage in critical discourse analysis, have difficult conversations, challenge initiatives that are not equitable, and spear-head essential projects rooted in providing a high-quality education for all.

As an educator, Doctoral student, and KDP United Nations Representative, engaging in collaborative exchanges of discourse is at the forefront of my daily work. The UN stresses the importance of challenging students to succeed and create a sustainable future for generations to come. As we work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is critical that we engage in critical discourse analysis, challenge our students, and design inquiry-based curriculum where students not only acquire leadership skills, but fuel their intrinsic motivation to make positive contributions to society. 


Radd et al., (2021). Five practices for equity-focused school leadership. Ascd

About Lucijan Jović

Mr. Jović is an educator who teaches 8th grade English & Writing as well as students in grades 9-12 with limited English proficiency. He is pursuing his Doctorate in Educational Leadership & Administration at Molloy University with a focus on social justice and high-quality, equitable education for all learners. In addition, he serves as a collaborator at the Cognition and Learning Laboratory at Molloy University. In this role, he works with his colleagues to conduct basic and applied research on the cognitive factors that influence cultural, developmental, and social perspectives in learning. Exploring theoretical issues in cognitive science and social psychology and their practical implications for the field of education are at the forefront of the lab's research. Lastly, Mr. Jović also serves as a KDP representative to the United Nations in New York City, meeting with delegates and leaders from across the globe.