Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Sophie Filibert

Second Advisor

Dr. Chris Janson

Third Advisor

Dr. Shaqwana Freeman-Green

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Elinor Scheirer

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Derrick Robinson

Department Chair

Dr. David Hoppey

College Dean

Dr. Jennifer Kane


One consequence of the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) ruling regarding desegregation of American public schools has been the destabilization of Black educators’ legacy of school leadership (Tillman, 2004). The effects of these failures continues to be problematic in US public education. Students of color account for over half of all P-12 enrollments, in contrast to the disproportionate lack of diversity among its teaching and leadership rosters (Frankenberg, et al., 2019; NCES, 2018, 2022). The stagnant rate at which American schools have diversified principal leadership since Brown v. Board (1954) begs the question of how equipped schools are to understand and serve an increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse US student population (Frankenberg et al., 2019; Gay, 2010, 2018; Horsford, et al., 2011; Ladson-Billings, 1994; Paris & Alim, 2017).

The lack of racial of diversity among public school teachers persists despite Brown v. Board’s (1954) intentions in contrast to the student racial demographics, and moreover school principals demographics with a mere 7% being Black women (NCES, 2021; USDOE, 2016). More research is needed to explore Black women’s experiences given the potential implications for better supporting this group of school leaders, and by extension, support needed for the students they serve.

The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of Black women in principalships regarding how they navigated and negotiated racial contexts while leading for equity. The research question that guided this study was, “What perspectives do Black women in principalships hold regarding how they navigate and negotiate the racial contexts of their equity-focused leadership?” Using the theoretical framework of Black Feminist Thought (BFT) to elevate the voices of Black women, paired with the methodological framework of Q Methodology, BFT and Q Methodology was utilized to explore the subjective perceptions of Black women in principalships on leading for equity.