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Lived experiences of women of color in educational leadership in Arizona

Burton, Brandie Kristine (2022) Lived experiences of women of color in educational leadership in Arizona. Doctoral thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of women of color in K-12 public school district administration positions in order to gain insight on the conditions that need to be present for women of color to obtain longevity and professional success as well as to gain a better understanding of the specific barriers women of color encounter when pursuing leadership positions in order to provide K-12 public school districts’ human resources departments with guidance on developing policies and protocols to attract and retain a more diverse leadership team.Participants included in this phenomenological study were individuals who identify as women of color and have held an administrative position at the district level in an Arizona K-12 public school district for a minimum of two years. Although it was planned to include seven to 12 participants in this study, the sensitive nature of the subject combined with the extremely small population size reduced the participant sample to four. Research question one addressed the perceived barriers faced by women of color in educational leadership in Maricopa County school districts. Participants perceived challenges related to access to opportunities beginning early in their lives, surfacing as being precluded from expectations around college participation and degree attainment. The lack of expectations was a common thread among all four participants; despite this lack of expectations, each participant managed to blaze a trail to ultimately attain advanced degrees. Research question two explored the ways gender and race intersect and impact women of color in leadership positions. For each of the participants, similarities of experience were extracted based on their responses to the interview questions. Despite the differences in origination, upbringing, family values, and professional pathways, the parallel experiences recalled allowed for meaningful connections in challenges encountered, tactics employed, and systemic issues identified by each despite existing in separate organizations across Maricopa County, Arizona. Research question three addressed the policies and protocols school districts can employ to attract and retain candidates of color. Each participant expressed some variation of concern over the lip service that school districts provide around the topic of attracting and retaining a diverse work force at multiple levels of their organization.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: district leadership; intersectionality; K-12 public schools; phenomenological; women of color; Maricopa County, Arizona; Educational administration;
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Education > Educational Leadership
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2022 17:09
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2022 17:09
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5855

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