Document Type



Doctor of Education


Adult & Higher Education

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Davis,Matthew Donald


Lynn Beckwith

Corrine Harmon

Gwendolyn Turner


Abstract Women, particularly African American women, have been underrepresented in educational administrative leadership at the level of public school district superintendent. Because so few women currently hold the position of public school district superintendent, studies on the characteristics of individuals who become public school district superintendents have almost exclusively been focused on men; therefore the role of school district superintendent has continued to elude very qualified women particularly African American women and other women of color who seek the position of superintendent. This study addressed the perceptions, barriers, and challenges which impede the advancement of African American females who aspire to the position of public school district superintendency. This study was limited to a sample size of six African American female superintendents. A narrative inquiry methodology utilized the semi-standardized interview which identified reoccurring themes. Reflections of successful African American female superintendents are revealed to encourage more African American female aspirants to seek the public school superintendency and thereby shattering the glass ceiling impacted by race and gender. The study provided implications for African American females who aspire to the superintendency, relative to preparation, practice, and policy.

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