Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Practice

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Thomasina Hassler


Thomasina Hassler

Phyllis Balcerzak

Carl Hoagland


This study generates a vision for African American schooling based on the lived experiences of Black women, born between 1965 – 1980, who have persisted through college and graduate studies. This research centers the voices of Generation X African American women, to discover the impact school systems have had on their development toward adulthood and how their experiences help construct their vision of Black education for the future. Using the ecological systems theory to position that school systems help create meaning and impact development towards adulthood, the study asks participants to envision an education system that enables success for African American students, while amplifying the hopes, dreams, disappointments, and disillusionment of their educational journey. Through qualitative interviews with participants the themes of relational Black teachers, affirmed personhood, and opportunities to self-actualize are explored. A five pronged system of Black student development (R.E.A.P.S.) is envisioned: (1) Relational Black Teachers; (2) Expectational Pedagogy; (3) Affirmative Environments; (4) Places of Cultural Community; and (5) Self-Actualization Opportunities.