The Shoulder Tap: Educators of Color on the Leadership Representation Gap and What We Can Do About It 

That tap on the shoulder—when someone you trust sees your brilliance and leadership potential—can be miraculous. 
~ April D. Broussard, Spanish Teacher

Recruiting and retaining school leaders of color is more urgent than ever. Despite students of color comprising more than half of American schoolchildren, only one in five principals are leaders of color. Studies show that all students, and especially students of color, benefit when they are led by educators with diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.

The diversity among teachers, principals, and superintendents has not kept pace with the nation’s changing demographics. This is known as a representation gap—and it contributes to persistent achievement and opportunity gaps for students and educators of color. The Shoulder Tap examines existing research and elevates valuable insights from the lived experiences of educators of color whose voices are essential to this national conversation.

In collaboration with Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College, The Shoulder Tap calls on policymakers to prioritize school leader diversity and advance policies that create more equitable opportunities for educators of color to grow as leaders and advance in their careers—to the benefit of all our nation’s schoolchildren.

Our research explores:

What We Know

Current research on school leader diversity

What We've Learned

Perspectives on school leader diversity from educators of color

What We're Seeing

Bright spots for closing the school leader representation gap

What's Next

Policy actions to increase school leader diversity
Read Our Free Policy Report
Read Our Free Policy Report

Series of Papers on Reshaping Educational Leadership for the Future

From district leaders diversifying principal pipelines to teachers of color moving into leadership roles, we can build more equitable representation and reshape the future of our nation’s children. Learn how.

Explore Our Series