Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Bryan McCoy


Gifted education has been permeated with discrepancies in representation since its inception. Despite efforts to minimize the gifted gap, under identification of minority groups continues. A gifted student’s social capital and a school district’s execution of culturally relevant leadership may impact underrepresentation. Therefore, an instrumental case study was implemented to understand, through a social capital and culturally relevant leadership lens, how gifted policy impacts representation of students in a gifted education program in an urban school district. Gifted identification relies heavily on teacher recommendations, which is why it is essential to understand educators’ perceptions of giftedness when investigating underrepresentation. Twenty educators were surveyed, and twenty-two educators and leaders were interviewed to explore perceptions of giftedness and the district’s current gifted education program.

Educators’ and educational leaders’ perceptions of giftedness are similar; however, educators acknowledge more need for the social and emotional development of gifted students. Educators and leaders perceive social capital to be an essential component for identification. Elements of culturally relevant leadership are present; nevertheless, a better understanding of the gifted education program is necessary for educational leaders to challenge underrepresentation and induce change in the gifted education program. Educators and leaders at the secondary level do not prioritize gifted education, though they understand the importance of meeting gifted students’ educational needs. Additionally, educators and leaders acknowledge the need for policy reform.

Results indicate that implementing the following could lead to an increase in identification: provide professional development on gifted characteristics and the gifted identification process; implement forms of culturally relevant leadership; incorporate an equity policy and scrutinize gifted numbers.