African American female school district leaders: their career experiences and support systems

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ashauna Renee Short (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Carl Lashley

Abstract: Since the late 1980s, there has been research on the topic of female superintendents that has addressed white women and minority women alike; however, research indicates that there are marked differences regarding the issue of access as it pertains to this level of professional leadership for African American women. Due to the exclusion of their voices in readily accessible literature, and despite a growing number of dissertations on similar topics, the black female educational executive’s voice has been all but overlooked. An African American female’s role as a school district leader is greatly informed by race and gender. Therefore, these roles must be critically studied through the lenses of race and gender to be useful for African American women. This study explores the career experiences of 13 African American women in district level leadership positions, including seven non-superintendent district leaders and six superintendents. This qualitative study, using the lens of Black Feminist Thought, analyzes the similarities and differences of career experiences for African American female district executives, along with the effects of professional and personal support systems, on their respective experiences. The road to district level leadership and particularly the superintendency is a different road for African American women, and in order to increase access for this underrepresented group, their experiences must be shared. This study was written by an African American woman, featuring African American women, and for African American women as the target audience. Practitioners, gatekeepers, and school district development institutions can use findings and implications of this study in order to increase awareness and access for those often overlooked in school district leadership, particularly the superintendency.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
African American female, Black Feminist Thought, School District Leaders, Superintendent
African American school superintendents
African American school administrators
Women school superintendents
Women school administrators
Educational leadership
Feminism and education

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