American University
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Solidarity in Our Experiences: A Qualitative Research Study Exploring Ways to Increase the Persistence of Black Female Principals of Secondary Charter Schools

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posted on 2024-05-15, 23:10 authored by Jennifer Greene

This qualitative study investigates factors that influence the persistence of Black female principals of secondary charter schools. It examines the motivators that drive their commitment, the systems challenges that lead to thoughts of exiting their role, and recommendations for strategies that Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) can utilize to bolster their success and longevity. Through semi-structured interviews and a focus group, this research elevates the experiences of Black female principals, fostering a professional dialogue on the intersectionality of gender, race, age, and professional identity.

Central findings indicate a strong sense of duty, responsibility, and dedication among Black female principals against systemic barriers undermining their well-being, leadership efficacy, and self-confidence. The necessity of self-advocacy and tailored organizational support emerges as a critical theme, pointing to the essential nature of work-life balance, manageable workloads, and organizational stability in nurturing the well-being and confidence of these leaders. From these findings, the study presents targeted recommendations for CMOs, including instituting mandatory remote workdays for principals to mitigate workload intensity, consistent and adequate time for new policy or initiative implementation, involving principals directly in decision-making processes, and acknowledgment of the complex and nuanced realities and challenges faced by Black female leaders. The study stresses the importance of systemic support structures like robust support networks, mentorship programs, and culturally relevant professional development.

The research underscores the significant impact of Black female principals' voices and experiences in shaping their professional environments. It calls for all school systems, especially CMOs, to take proactive steps toward meeting their needs. This approach will benefit the leaders, their organizations, and the student communities they serve. Insights drawn from the stories of research study participants paired with the researcher’s analytical reflections emphasize the authentic experiences of Black female principals and call for organizational changes that support their longevity as principal leaders, leading to recommendations to CMOs that challenge them to make shifts in their policies and practice to better support the needs of Black female principals of secondary charter schools.






Committee chair

Robert Simmons

Committee member(s)

Cheyenne E. Batista; Heather Hairston

Degree discipline

Education Policy and Leadership

Degree grantor

American University. School of Education

Degree level

  • Doctoral

Degree name

Ed.D. in Education Policy and Leadership, American University, May 2024

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161 pages

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