Leadership in British Columbia's K to 12 international programs: where are we now?




Davis, Jeffrey

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



An international program in a public K to 12 school district in British Columbia is responsible for international students, their education, and life in BC. An international program leader (IPL) is employed by the school district to lead these programs. The IPL has an influence on the lives of students, parents, school district staff, home-stay families, and study-abroad agents. International program leadership is an emerging area of study in educational leadership, with limited research. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of leadership in public K to 12 international programs in BC and to reflect on theoretical foundations that may influence practice. In-depth interviews with six IPLs using a multiple-case-study approach (Stake, 2006) uncovered perspectives on leading international programs in a BC context. In the cross-case analysis, three themes emerged: (a) the phenomenon of international program leadership is contextual, (b) professional (human) relationships and networks are key elements of international program leadership, and (c) managing and resolving conflicts over values and culture are key elements of international program leadership. The implications of these findings include: (a) the background of the IPL influences leadership, (b) the context of an international program in a BC school district influences IPL leadership practice, (c) human relationships with five key stakeholders are important for leaders, and (d) the role of the IPL as a mediator of conflicts in three key areas: philosophical disagreements regarding international programs from colleagues in a school district, the management of mental health issues for students, and inappropriate living conditions for students.



leadership, human relations, organizational culture, values, context