Marci A. Erby

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department or School

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Jaclynn Tracy, PhD, Chairperson

Committee Member

Valerie Polakow, PhD

Committee Member

Barbara Diamond, PhD


This qualitative research study began as an exploration of the central qualities of the lived experience of students in two urban-suburban high schools where, as an outcome of rapid demographic change, White students now represent the nontraditional racial minority and Black students represent the racial majority. Semistructured interviews, the primary method of data collection, were conducted with students who had graduated from the high schools under study and with adults who had significant ties to the district. Student informants, in particular, shared high school experiences of marginalization that included silence, rendered invisibility, stereotyping, and bias owing in large part to their racial/cultural status whether White or Black. They revealed a more powerful reality that counteracted the effects of marginalization and enabled them to negotiate identities across boundaries of access to resources supporting social and academic success.

Social capital that facilitated development of cultural resilience counteracted marginalizing conditions related to diversity in the high school experience. An articulated and captured vision of leadership for social justice, beginning with and courageously modeled by the educational leaders of the district, is key to the intentioned diffusion of social capital and cultural resilience in support of student success in diverse high school environments.


Additional committee member: David Anderson, PhD