The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Dr. David Lund

Second Advisor

Dr. Kay Worner

Third Advisor

Dr. Aldo Sicoli

Fourth Advisor

Dr. James Johnson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Equity Principals Isolation Black Males White Males Leadership


The United States educational systems are experiencing an increase in racially diverse classrooms. Therefore, it is imperative for all students to feel a sense of belonging and see themselves reflected in their schools’ leadership and within the schools’ staff (Leithwood, 2004). However, due to the lack of diversity within the leadership of schools, some students of Color continue to see themselves in segregated school systems primarily composed of White leaders (Rothstein, 2013)

Historically, the position of the school principal has been dominated by the male gender, particularly the White male (Hill et al., 2016). Therefore, research in the principalship has been primarily focused on the White male principals’ successes, leadership capabilities, and the challenges and successes while they were in the role. When looked at in the role of a principal, specifically from the Black male viewpoint there is a lack of literature providing context to past and present Black male principals challenges, leadership capabilities, and their success while in the principal’s role. Therefore, in order to provide a full scope from an unbiased lens, this study will evaluate both, Black male principals in predominantly White settings and White male principals in racially diverse settings, to explore the challenges they encounter and their support they received while working in racially isolated settings. After reviewing the literature on the principalship, the most predominant finding in examining past and current research is that the role of the principal has expanded and evolved over time. However, what appeared to remain consistent is the lack of diversity in school leadership despite a changing education system (Howard, 2007).

The purpose of the study was to examine the challenges and supports reported by a select group of three Black and three White male principals who worked in Minnesota school environments where their race is not highly represented in the dominant school culture. Through the study, the researcher examined the commonalities and differences in the challenges reported by Black and White male principals in racially isolated experiences. The study contributes to the research literature by addressing the following overarching research question: What did racially isolated principals in Minnesota report as challenges when their race was not highly represented in the demographics of their buildings? In addition, the study also addressed the following questions: What did select racially isolated principals in Minnesota K-12 public schools report as personal or professional benefits working in a racially isolated setting? What are the commonalities and/or differences in the challenges reported by select Black and White male principals in Minnesota? What support do racially isolated principals report receiving in racially isolated districts?


None of this would have ever been possible without the presence of God, and the encouraging acts via my family, friends, committee members, colleagues, and my Cohort 10 family. I am so honored to have each of you in my corner. Words cannot express how thankful I am for your unique contributions that have assisted me along the way as I completed one of my biggest goals of my life, my dissertation.

To my mentors, Shawn Stibbins, Dr. Aldo Sicoli, and Dr. Kay Worner, thank you for every piece of advice you have given, every encouraging word, every opportunity you provided, and every piece of coaching to make me a better administrator. Thank you for believing in me and telling me, “Chris you are going to be a great administrator.” Those words are truly unforgettable, and I am forever indebted to you for all your help. Your guidance has been invaluable.

To my Delta Sigma Phi-Zeta Xi Brothers, thank you for inspiring me to achieve this goal. The encouraging words never left, the brotherhood was amazing throughout this process, and thank you for patience and understanding. Forever, a Delta Sig!

To Dr. D. Lund, Dr. K. Worner, Dr. A. Sicoli, and Dr. J. Johnson—my committee members—thank you for your guidance and support during this undertaking.

To Margaret Vos, Beth Knutson-Kolodzne, Kari White, and Sam Bosacki—you guys have no idea how much you inspired me, and you have no idea how much I appreciate you! Thank you for the long conversation and continuous support.



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