Theses Doctoral

Leading While Black and Male: A Phenomenology of Black Male School Leadership

Smith, Phillip Anthony

This study explored the ways in which the racial identities and lived experiences of Black male K-12 public and independent school leaders inform their professional lives and leadership. Through a qualitative phenomenological study, use of online descriptive survey, and in-depth semi-structured interviews, including the use of visual elicitation methods, with 14 Black male school leaders from across the United States, this research study provided structural and textural descriptions as well as a synthesis of meanings and essence of the experience and phenomenon of Black male K-12 school building-level leadership. This can be summarized as: (a) growing up as a Black boy; (b) leadership as ministry; (c) when a Black man is in the principal’s office; and (d) safeguarding the village. The research expands understanding of paradigms of critical race leadership and disrupts the normative educational leadership axiology. These leaders developed a range of strategies that enabled them to navigate the multidimensional aspects of their racial identity within a dominant White-racialized education system. Additionally, their articulation of action-oriented social justice leadership was influenced by their personal lived experiences, values, and sense of community.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Education Leadership
Thesis Advisors
Douglass Horsford, Sonya
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 22, 2019


Keywords: Black Male School Leadership, Black Education Leadership, Principal Preparation, Leadership Development, Race, Critical Race Theory