Defining educational leadership in Canada’s Yukon Territory: “Hmmm, that’s a good question...”


  • Simon Blakesley


This article reports on a 2010 study of educational leadership in Canada's Yukon Territory. An aim of this research was to undertake a critical ethnographic study which examined educational leadership as construed and enacted by two male and two female non-Indigenous principals living and working in Indigenous Yukon contexts. Extensive interviews, observations, and document reviews were conducted.   A goal of this study was to identify how school principals, individuals often referred to as 'educational leaders', define educational leadership despite the inability on the part of universities, the extant body of literature, or educational systems to articulate what this term even means (Allix & Gronn 2005).  The study identifies that principals define educational leadership in managerial and administrative ways, referring to themselves as principals who have a 'function' and a 'job'  as they juggle the continuous ambiguity they face while wearing the multiple 'hats' of teacher, principal, and community leader.  The study points to the need to redefine what a principal is to be and to do as an educational actor in the Yukon context.

Keywords:  Educational leadership, principalship, Indigenous education, critical ethnography,         Yukon



How to Cite

Blakesley, S. (2011). Defining educational leadership in Canada’s Yukon Territory: “Hmmm, that’s a good question.”. Canadian Journal of Education/Revue Canadienne De l’éducation, 34(1), 4–36. Retrieved from