Leilani Lafaurie Awarded the 2024 Weglyn Award

June 11, 2024

Recent Ed.D graduate, Dr. Leilani C. Lafaurie  has been awarded the 2024 Michi and Walter Weglyn Endowed Chair of Multicultural Studies Social Justice Award!

The Michi and Walter Weglyn Endowed Chair of Multicultural Studies Award began in 2003 in honor and legacy of activists Walter and Michi Weglyn for their commitment to social justice and peace. This prestigious honor recognizes students for their exceptional commitment to infusing social justice into their academic pursuits, community engagement, research, and creative endeavors.

Leilani Lafaurie has been an educator for over 20 years- as an after-school educator, teacher, instructional coach, Director of Instructional coaching, DEI Council Co-chair, principal and most recently Superintendent of Equitable Instruction for Aspire Los Angeles. Leilani believes in the power of collective efficacy through building a strong community.  She has led her school with an intense commitment to holistic and equitable education for all students. Leilani is driven by a deep belief that schools grounded in social justice can also be rigorous, joyous learning environments where all students have the opportunity to succeed. Growing up as an Afro-Latina with parents who immigrated from Cuba and Guatemala gave Leilani a deep love of education, both formal academic education as well as the informal learning passed down by her elders. She received her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Cal Poly Pomona in the spring of 2024. She lives with her husband, Cesar and son, Emanuel and relies on them to keep her grounded.

Leilani’s dissertation, entitled Equity Development During Social Transformation: A Grounded Theory Study of Charter School Leaders, presented a theory about the ways that equitable leadership practices developed in principals within charter management organizations during a time of deep social transformation. Her study was designed to understand the mindsets, beliefs, and values of principals who led charter schools within charter management organizations with an explicit anti-racist and equity mission or vision statement. Lafaurie’s dissertation also aimed to understand the learning experiences that supported charter school principals with their equity and anti-racist leadership as well as what would have been more helpful in leading schools during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Her analysis yielded a grounded theory that was detailed in an explanatory model entitled “Evolving Leadership Identities towards Equity and Anti-Racism.” The model consisted of four distinct processes and themes. Those four themes were: Owning Their Own Development, Coaching, Collective Work, and CMO Support. By describing processes that supported an evolving leadership identity towards equity and anti-racism, the emergent theory can support guidance for principals and CMO leaders in regard to supporting the equity and anti-racist learning during times of social transformation and in the aftermath.

Leilani’s achievements reflect not only her academic excellence, but also her unwavering passion for creating a more just and equitable society. It is students like her who embody the values of the Michi and Walter Weglyn Endowed Chair of Multicultural Studies and serve as beacons of hope and inspiration for future generations.

Dr. Lafaurie graduated in Spring 2024 receiving her doctorate from The College of Education and Integrative Studies.

Congratulations Dr. Lafaurie!