You are here


26 July, 2019 - 10:05
Available under Creative Commons-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Download for free at

"Most of the difficulties facing education in Appalachia are prevalent throughout the nation, but some are peculiar to the region. Many of the latter have been engendered by the socioeconomic pattern imposed on the region by its historical development and geography. A vicious cycle of poverty and poor education has been generated and perpetuated" (Carmichael, 1968, p. 17).

The previous quote from Benjamin Carmichael was taken from an article he wrote in 1968. Is the Appalachia of 2009 different from Carmichael's Appalachia? Do the schools in Appalachia require a different sort of leadership from that exercised in other regions? This module will examine the theories of (a) culturally responsive leadership, (b) leadership for social justice, (c) a leadership model designed specifically for leading schools in rural Appalachia, and (d) leadership development program proposals related to the models.

Geographically (see Figure 3.1), Appalachia is defined as those areas from southern New York to northern Mississippi that follow the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains (Appalachian Regional Commission, 2009). Culturally, Appalachia was characterized from the nineteenth century to the 1960s and 1970s as isolated, homogeneous, family centered, religiously fundamentalist, and poor (Lewis & Billings, n.d.). In contrast to this characterization, Lewis and Billings described "a much more diverse and dynamic Appalachia" that may, in fact, not be a subculture at all except to the extent that other rural regions would be considered subcultures (p. 16). In terms of educational attainment, Appalachia is improving, but continues to lag behind the nation. The gap between Appalachia and the nation, in terms of percentage of adults who are college graduates, increased slightly during the 1990s (Haaga, 2004).

Figure 3.1 The Appalachian Region as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission (Sokol, 2005).