Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

W. Hal Knight

Committee Members

Elizabeth Ralston, Kathryn K. Franklin, Nancy Dishner


The purpose of this study was to explore and document the factors that motivated African American public school administrators in a selected school system in East Tennessee to become school leaders. The study highlighted barriers and challenges, support mechanisms, and perceptions of training. If minority educators are to be actively recruited and retained, there must be an understanding of the factors that motivate them to progressively seek administrative leadership positions.

The African American public school administrators' experiences were collected through 17 one-on-one personal interviews. The interviews were audio-taped, transcribed, coded, and used to answer the 4 research questions.

The primary factors that motivate African American public school administrators to become school leaders are a desire to help the students and to make a broader impact on education. These public school administrators had to overcome the barriers and challenges of racial and/or gender discrimination while working in a system that was not supportive of these endeavors. As a result of this study, recommendations were made for the school system, the African American public school administrators, and for further research.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.