Spicer, Tiffany T (2016-05). Culturally Responsive Leadership: A Phenomenological Case Study on African American Female High School Principals. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • The history of the United States educational system has been plagued by issues of inequity. After the notable case of Brown v. Board of Education a new and unintended consequence surfaced, there was a lack of African American educators. Currently, the high school principal role is filled by predominately middle class White males. In the state of Texas females make up approximately one third of all high school principals. When including race, namely, African American females they make up less than 5% of the females in the high school principalship. In examining the high school principalship where schools serve varying populations, low socioeconomic, students of color, and those with varying needs the leadership style of the principal is essential to serving all students. Culturally responsive leadership looks at serving all students regardless of demographics or background. Current research on African American Female Principals is present. There is also research on culturally responsive leadership. However, there is a lack of research which aims to investigate the combined experiences of African American Female Principals who are culturally responsive. Through this qualitative phenomenological case study, I provide insight and counterstories of experiences by African American Female High School Principals in the state of Texas. Furthermore, the present study provides perspectives about how these African American female principals are impacted by race and gender in their current roles. The principals shared their experiences with perceptions about them as African American female principals, the daily challenges they faced in life, their schools, and community, as well as, the external forces that influenced them on their journeys. The principals, through questionnaires and interviews, shared their personal and professional experiences which impacted their journey as principals as well as their journey to becoming culturally responsive leaders.

ETD Chair

  • Irby, Beverly  Regents Professor and Senior Associate Dean; Marilyn Kent Byrne Endowed Chair for Student Success

publication date

  • May 2016