Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Lolita A. Tabron

Second Advisor

Kristina A. Hesbol

Third Advisor

Serie McDougal


Black principals, Leadership, Leadership theory, Racialized identity, Urban schools


The educational landscape of the twenty-first century currently faces several significant challenges, including widening academic opportunity gaps. These gaps suggest that there is need to examine the perspectives of leaders in the role of principals more deeply. However, as leadership theories continue to develop, there has been limited research conducted on the impact of principals’ racialized experiences and their approach to leadership. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to center race by exploring the essence of Black principals’ understanding of their racialized experiences and its meaning to their leadership and school communities. Findings indicate that Black principals’ (a) understanding of the meaning and significance of their racial identities is the vital component of their leadership within their school communities, (b) motivation for going into leadership is embedded in their belief of their ability to create change in their community, (c) characterization of their leadership experience is largely impacted by their encounters with different members within their school communities, and (d) spiritual beliefs are key foundations of their leadership. Study implications illustrate the importance of all leaders examining their racialized identities to be better prepared to work with students from diverse backgrounds to disrupt racially segregated leadership.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Natalie Denise Lewis


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

167 p.


Educational leadership, African American studies, Educational administration