Breaking barriers : examining the experiences and perceptions of Black female high school principals

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Charlotte W. Holmes (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Craig Peck

Abstract: The high school principalship today requires a complex skill set steeped in relationship building, strategic oversight, and systemic approaches. Female principals of color not only have to develop this skill set, but also deal with the societal structures that inherently contain professional and personal obstacles that inhibit their abilities to create learning environments that are equitable, inclusive, and designed to support the success of all students (Lomotey, 2019). In this qualitative research study, I explored the experiences and perceptions of five Black women high school principals. I was especially interested in the impact that race and gender had on their roles. The research questions guiding this study were: “How do Black female high school principals describe and understand their work?” and “How do they perceive that race and gender influence their work as high school principals?” I investigated these questions by conducting two interviews with each participant. During my study, I found that the participants described the role of the high school principal as tiring and multi-interactional, as well as requiring high visibility. In addition, participants shared images representing their perception of the high school principalship. I also found that faith and spirituality are a common component of the high school principalship for these African American women leaders. The participants also reported encountering challenges that resulted from or were exacerbated by their identities as Black women. However, most participants explained that their identity was sometimes an advantage in building relationships with stakeholders. Finally, the participants reported needing mentoring and trusted thought partners to function effectively. In analyzing my findings, I considered the importance of the concept of intersectionality in helping us understand the experiences of Black women who serve as high school principals. I concluded my study by offering recommendations for research and practice. Keywords: Black women, high school principal, leadership

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2023
Black women, High school principal, Leadership
African American women school principals $x Attitudes
High school principals $x Attitudes
Educational leadership

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