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Jaime Welborn, Ph.D. Shares Cultural Proficiency Expertise


Jaime Welborn, Ph.D., assistant professor of educational leadership in the School of Education, brings expertise to the topic of cultural proficiency through her research and practice, and she works to share that knowledge and its importance through presentations and training sessions.


Welborn earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Saint Louis University in 2016. Her doctoral dissertation investigated elementary school principals’ perceptions regarding their use and value of culturally competent educational practices. She went on to present her work at Harvard and California State University.

Welborn has been involved with the research, scholarship, and training of cultural proficiency at the local, regional, and national levels. In addition to teaching at the University, she serves as the assessment, accreditation, and certification officer in the School of Education.  She is also a senior associate and certified trainer for the Center for Culturally Proficient Educational Practice. Currently, she is focused on researching culturally proficient educational practices in rural settings, and the implementation and sustainability of utilizing tools of the cultural proficiency framework for organizational change and individual transformation.

Welborn’s work, rooted in work outlined in “Cultural Proficiency: A Manual for School Leaders” (Lindsey et al., 2019), focuses on the framework of Cultural Proficiency, which the book describes as “a model for shifting the culture of the school or district; it is a model for individual transformation and organizational change. Cultural Proficiency is a mindset, a worldview, a way a person or an organization makes assumptions for effectively describing, responding to, and planning for issues that arise in diverse environments” (Lindsey et al., 2019, pg. 5). According to this book, there are four “tools” of Cultural Proficiency —the Barriers, Guiding Principles, Continuum, and Essential Elements of Cultural Proficiency (Cross, 1989; Lindsey et al., 2019). 

Using these tools, Welborn works with individuals in school organizations to help them learn and apply the tools of cultural proficiency in their own settings. She offers training sessions that utilize “hands-on” culturally proficient learning strategies to facilitate conversations with participants—including reflection and dialogue—to examine the organization's policies, practices, and procedures, as well as the behaviors of individuals who work for the educational organization.

Welborn leads school organizations through these cultural proficiency tools and guides them in implementing the framework. According to Welborn, “The goal is for those who engage in this work to actualize organizational change and individual transformation to increase equity, access, and inclusion for those who have been underserved and underprivileged." 

Participants and their organizations committed to sustaining this journey of Cultural Proficiency build capacity among their colleagues and work to create action plans grounded in the organization’s vision, mission, and values.”

Jaime Welborn, Ph.D. 

Through this training, Welborn aims to help organizations view cultural proficiency as a shared journey for educating their youth.  The intended outcomes are for participants to experience cultural proficiency as personal and professional work; to use the framework of cultural proficiency as a guide in addressing equity and access gap issues; and to utilize the tools of cultural proficiency to build professional capital for changing conversations.

Recently, Welborn hosted a cultural proficiency training session for the Ferguson-Florissant School District (FFSD). On July 24 and 27, 118 leaders from FFSD met virtually via Zoom for a total of 16 hours. Randall Lindsey, Ph.D., lead author of "Cultural Proficiency" and co-founder of the Center for Culturally Proficient Educational Practice, attended and keynoted the session. Dean of the School of Education Gary Ritter, Ph.D., connected Welborn and Joseph Davis, Ed.D., Superintendent of FFSD, in October 2019, and they worked together with other district office administrators to design and apply the cultural proficiency framework for transformative change and school improvement focused on equity, access, and inclusion.

Welborn also led a virtual retreat for SLU's School of Education on August 12, focused on an “Introduction to the Cultural Proficiency Framework.” The session included the collection of data (policies, practices, procedures, and behaviors) on the Continuum of Cultural Proficiency— from the most culturally destructive to the most culturally proficient. Welborn plans to work with the dean and associate dean of the School of Education to engage in ongoing work on this topic.

For additional information about culturally proficient learning strategies, contact Jaime Welborn at


Cross, T., Bazron, B., Dennis, K., & Issacs, M. (1989). Towards a culturally competent system of care, Volume 1. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Child Development Center, CASSP Technical Assistance Center.

Lindsey, R., Nuri-Robins, K., Terrell, R., & Lindsey, D. (2019). Cultural proficiency: A manual for school leaders (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.