Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Date of Defense

8-5-2016

Graduate Advisor

Matthew D. Davis, Ph.D.

Committee

Eike Bauer

Carl Hoagland

Claude Weathersby

Abstract

African-American women leading school districts as public school superintendents of schools is rare. It is even more infrequent for multiple African-American women to serve in the position of superintendent of schools in the same state. This historical qualitative study investigated and documented the history of African-American women who served in the position of public superintendent of schools in the state of Missouri. Research on the topic of African-American female superintendents is scarce. This study contributed to the growing body of research focused on the personal stories and experiences of African-American women who served and continue to serve as superintendents. The researcher documented factors and experiences the participants perceived as influential in their ascent to the position. Seven African-American females, either former or current superintendents in the state of Missouri, participated in this study. Personal interviews, along with a semi-structured interview schedule, served as the primary data collection method used to capture data for this study. A Black feminist thought lens was used to examine barriers and experiences of oppression. Findings from this research identified the participants’ various paths to the superintendency, suggested that barriers of race, gender and oppression existed, highlighted perceived accomplishments, provided explanations for why multiple African-American females have served as public school superintendents in the state of Missouri, and proposed recommendations for aspiring African-American females interested in becoming a superintendent.

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