Alex Schukow

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Rema Reynolds, PhD

Committee Member

Theresa Saunders, PhD

Committee Member

David Anderson, PhD

Committee Member

Muhammad Khalifa, PhD


K-12 principals must enact culturally responsive school leadership to close the opportunity gaps Black students and economically disadvantaged students experience. Critical race theory, the key model, and culturally responsive school leadership theory form the conceptual framework for this phenomenological study. The overarching research question for the study is as follows: How do Whiteness and masculinity influence the enactment of culturally responsive school leadership by White male K-12 principals in exurban school settings? Interviews, school handbook policy analysis, and examinations of participants’ professional social media posts provide data to critique the actions of four White male principals in Midwestern, exurban public schools. Four cross-cutting themes emerged as study results: personal to instructional critical reflection, social justice professional development, challenging an exclusionary school practice, using school based communication, and viewing White masculinity as privilege and a responsibility to support Black students and economically disadvantaged students. Conclusions suggest that participants acknowledge White heterosexual male privilege without deliberately using it to create humanizing school environments, unintentionally engage minoritized students and families, and implement superficial inclusive practices. Implications can inform pedagogical choices of university education leadership preparation programs and educational leaders’ and White male principals’ actions.