Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
The purpose of this study was to determine if mentorship and sponsorship could help identify the potential political pitfalls or “hidden rules” of senior-level leadership to increase the identification, recruitment, and retention of minority women, specifically African American women in the role of superintendent or executive at the school and district level. This phenomenological study explored how leadership expectations for women of color have changed over time; however, the narratives illustrate that perceptions related to women of color in senior-level leadership have largely remained unchanged. The absence of the narrative for minority women in leadership, including the limited number serving in senior-level leadership roles, remains problematic. At the time of this research study, of the 115 school districts in North Carolina, six African American women currently served in the role of superintendent in the state. The significance of the number highlights not only the limited pool of minority female superintendents for our state but also a limited network of mentors and sponsors for a grossly underrepresented group, who may aspire to senior leadership positions at the school and district levels in the future. The research suggests that the inclusion of marginalized voices, specifically African American women in senior-level leadership as part of mentor programming and sponsorship design, would positively impact retention and longevity rates for future women of color in leadership roles. Taking intentional steps to mentor and sponsor women of color in leadership could increase the number who pursue superintendent positions in North Carolina.
McCrimmon, Cicily, "The Importance of Mentorship, Sponsorship, and Politics for Women of Color Who Aspire to the Superintendency and Other School Leadership Roles" (2022). Doctor of Education Dissertations. 91.
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