Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
This research study was designed to add to the existing but limited literature that explores perceived barriers and challenges African-American women superintendents experienced while ascending and serving in the superintendency. According to the literature, African-American women are underrepresented in the role of public school superintendents. This study examined the impact of gender and racial discrimination on African-American women superintendent aspirants and those currently serving in the role. This study surveyed and interviewed African-American women superintendents serving in public school districts in North Carolina and South Carolina, examining their perceptions of barriers and challenges experienced while ascending and serving in the superintendency.
Race and gender were the two identified themes found in the analysis of survey and interview data. This study determined that race and gender have an impact on African-American women public school superintendents while ascending and serving in the role. All subthemes supported racial and gender biases. Choice of dress, working in a male-dominated field, isolation and exclusion from “good old boy networks,” dispelling the belief that African-American women do not make good administrators, and the lack of acceptance by male and non-African-American administrators and staff were all subthemes of the impact of race and gender.
The findings of this study will serve to better prepare African-American women who aspire to and serve in the superintendency when faced with barriers and challenges rooted in racial and gender biases. The findings can be used to better inform school boards, hiring personnel, educational leadership programs, and public school districts of the barriers and challenges African-American women public school superintendents experience and how race and gender impact them in the role of superintendent.
Goines-Harris, Shelly, "African-American Women Superintendents: Perceived Barriers and Challenges Experienced While Accessing and Serving in the Superintendency" (2020). Doctor of Education Dissertations. 20.
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