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Welcome to The UnLeading Project

The trouble with leading...

Seemingly neutral and apolitical approaches to leadership have not addressed the ​longstanding inequities and challenges in Ontario’s public education system. The undeniable evidence from academic literature, policy, reports, and public outcry speaks to the need for urgent work in transforming systems that can respond to the diverse identities and needs of students and families. 

Approaches to leadership that are rooted in dominant discourses and histories of colonization do not capture the capacities and competencies necessary to lead in education today (Santamaría & Santamaría, 2012). What might it mean to undo and unlearn practices and ideas that promote hierarchy, individualism, compliance, power over, silence, and a culture of fear? In this context, questions arise related to the type of leadership required to facilitate this work, how leaders are selected and prepared to lead, and how we might continue to develop models of leadership that challenge the status quo by looking up and looking out to alternative leadership frameworks and wisdom. 

This is UnLeading.

UnLeading requires a commitment to holding multiple truths, troubling common-sense assumptions, living the inquiries and sitting in the ambiguities of complex ideas such as leadership, schooling, and society. UnLeading asks us to engage in the praxis of leadership, a continual interplay of action towards systemic change and deep, inner reflection. In this way, it is a process of becoming, with no predetermined destination or finite goal.

UnLeading also asks us to look for leadership in unfamiliar places and challenge the notion of the individual leader. This podcast series will highlight voices of leaders in classrooms, communities, homes, schools, school districts, and beyond. How might we:

  • Trouble taken-for-granted assumptions about leadership and learning that reinforce the status quo?
  • Engage conceptions of leadership that disrupt, challenge and work against the status quo?
  • Center the experiences, knowledge systems, and leadership approaches of the global majority, including Indigenous people, Black and African diasporic people, and people of colour as well as people with multiple and intersecting marginalized identities?
  • Redefine leadership to be responsive to the socio-political realities of local, regional, and global contexts in service to historically and systemically underserved students? 
  • Reclaim and imagine future possibilities for leadership that create radically different possibilities for schooling?

Join us as we delve into these questions and more.

Podcast Episodes

Community Centered Leadership Icon

Community Centered Leadership



Critical Spirituality in Leadership Icon

Critical Spirituality in Leadership



 Culturally Relevant and Anti-Racist Leadership

Culturally Relevant Leadership and Anti-Racist Leadership



Decolonizing & Uncolonizing Leadership Icon

Decolonizing & Uncolonizing Leadership



Queering Leadership Icon

Queering Leadership



Podcast Main Page

Dr. Vidya Shah
UnLeading is brought to you by Dr. Vidya Shah

Dr. Vidya Shah is an educator, scholar and activist committed to equity and racial justice in the service of liberatory education. She is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University, and her research explores anti-racist and decolonizing approaches to leadership in schools, communities, and school districts...