African American women have played a pivotal role as leaders in public education. Their contributions have spanned three centuries, impacting their communities, families, and workplaces. Despite their contributions and demanding work, African American women principals continue to experience the double jeopardy of race and gender. This phenomenological study explored and described the impacts of race and gender on the leadership experiences of five African American women principals in the upper Midwest region of the United States. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the intersectional experiences of African American women principals and the challenges they faced to improve academic outcomes for students. Special attention was given to the barriers and coping strategies the leaders used to navigate their marginalized and oppressive experiences. The major themes that emerged were categorized as barriers that confirmed; different expectations, double standards, questioning authority, acts of resistance, aggression, and being treated as clean-up women. An additional theme emerged that described coping strategies utilized to navigate racism and sexism in the workplace that included self-advocacy and being authentic, spirituality, support networks, and concealment of their emotions.
Candace F. Raskin
Date of Degree
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Sayles-Adams, L. (2022). African American women principals: A phenomenological study to explore their experiences in K-12 leadership [Doctoral dissertation, Minnesota State University, Mankato]. Cornerstone: A Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works for Minnesota State University, Mankato. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/etds/1266
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