Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Jill F. Russell


This study examined the “lived experiences” related to race, gender, and the construct of time for five African American female elementary principals. The study specifically explored the intersectionality of race and gender. Through a qualitative phenomenological framework, the study aimed to research the implications of race and gender, at a specific point in time, for African American females in the elementary principalship. A phenomenological research method, that included semi-structured interviews, was employed to capture the essence of the participants’ stories and to fully understand their common experiences. Critical Race theory and Feminism theory were used as an intersecting lens for the theoretical framework. Although each woman’s experience was unique, commonalities and collective themes were found and exposed as a part of this study. The female participants in the study confirmed that race and gender influence their historical and present-day journey as school leaders. Three central themes were generated from their stories: 1. The “Super Disciplinarian vs. the Master Relationship builder”, 2. Working twice as hard for half the recognition. Learning to play the game, and 3. Brave enough to be broken – Resiliency and Perseverance. Through an examination of the central themes, along with a data analysis congruent with the literature review, the researcher posed three key findings in the concluding chapter. The key findings provide for a synthesis of the data and set the stage for implications for theory development and current practices. The African American female educational leaders in this study demonstrated perseverance and resilience as they rise above society’s low expectations for them and take their place at the table of school leadership.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 2016 Andrea M. Haynes.

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