Leadership matters in the engagement and achievement of students. Much of the research in this area has emanated from western contexts and there is a growing demand for research and knowledge generated from emerging areas of the world. This qualitative study through the use of narratives, examines the experiences of three female secondary school principals in Kenyan secondary schools to gain deeper insights into leadership practices and theorizing within a post-colonial context such as Kenya. Utilizing a decolonizing education and social justice leadership discursive framework the tensions and complexities of their leadership practices are explored. Educational leaders in developing countries face problems that are uniquely different from their counterparts in Western countries and as such leadership practices and theorizing must be contextualized. Findings of the study support existing research on the perpetuation of colonized approaches to education, existence of a “managing” view of leadership, tensions in practice regarding the manifestation of social issues in schools, and the need for leadership development grounded in Kenyan knowledge and experiences. While these findings can inform leadership discourses and practices, further research is warranted on a larger scale with greater diversity of participants.
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