Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Ella M. Burton, EdD, Chairperson

Committee Member

Jaclynn Tracy, PhD

Committee Member

Theresa Saunders, EdD

Committee Member

Janet Fisher, EdD


During a period of high expectations and accountability for public schools, some minority administrators have chosen to work in predominantly White schools. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the professional and personal experiences of minority administrators located in predominantly White suburban school districts in one affluent county located in southeastern Michigan. Through in-depth interviews, a focus group, and surveys, participants shared their experiences and perspectives on leadership as minority administrators in predominantly White schools. Using a phenomenological approach, the researcher analyzed the participants’ responses through the lens of the critical race theory.

Four themes emerged from the analysis of the minority administrators’ responses. First, participants embraced the opportunity to change negative perceptions people may have about members of their race through positive daily interactions with faculty, parents, and students within their school communities. Second, participants felt they were closely watched by all members of their school community—unlike their White colleagues—which impacted their behavior as school leaders. Third, participants valued the relationships they established along their journeys with mentors and attributed much of their professional development to the support they received from supportive colleagues. Fourth, the participants all experienced difficult times as school leaders; to overcome their challenges, they relied on their faiths, families, or friends as their sources of strength.

The minority administrators’ experiences were challenging and rewarding as they led schools with faculties and students different from their own race. From their experiences, the researcher created a counter-story highlighting their perspectives on leadership.

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