Rhodena Townsell, Dissertation, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Dissertation Chair
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Rhodena Townsell, Dissertation, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Dissertation Chair, PVAMU/Member of the Texas A&M University System

Rhodena Townsell, Dissertation, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Dissertation Chair, PVAMU/Member of the Texas A&M University System

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Rhodena Townsell, Dissertation, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Dissertation Chair Rhodena Townsell, Dissertation, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Dissertation Chair Presentation Transcript

  • RURAL AFRICAN AMERICAN ADMINISTRATOR CAREER TRAJECTORIES A Dissertation Defense by Rhodena Townsell January 26, 2009 Chair: William Allan Kritsonis, Ph.D.
  • Committee Members
    • William Allan Kritsonis, Ph.D.
    • ( Dissertation Chair)
    • David Herrington, Ph.D. Camille Gibson, Ph.D.
    • (Member) (Member)
    • Donald Collins, Ph.D.
    • (Member)
  • Dissertation Defense Format
    • Purpose of the Study
    • Research Questions
    • Conceptual Framework
    • Method
    • Major Findings
    • Conclusions
    • Implications
    • Challenge
    • Recommendations for Further Study
    • References
  • Purpose of the Study
      • The purpose of this study was to describe
      • factors that influence the career trajectories
      • of successful rural African American
      • administrators. Literature suggests that aspiring
      • school leaders may gain insight from the
      • experiences of others that will result in a better
      • understanding of the diverse career pathways
      • toward successful school leadership (Crenshaw,
      • 2004).
  • Research Questions
    • 1. What childhood and academic experiences, including
    • encouragements and barriers, influence the career pathways of
    • rural African American administrators?
    • 2. What work experiences, including encouragements and barriers,
    • Influence the career pathways of rural African American
    • administrators?
    • 3. What characteristics of rural African American administrators
    • appear to influence their career pathways?
  • Conceptual Framework 12/24/10
  • Conceptual Framework Supporting Literature
    • This framework was constructed because traditional
    • models in leadership are developed by using mostly
    • Caucasian males and should not be generalized for
    • other groups of individuals (Kezar & Moriarty, 2000).
    • Theodore Kowalski, an authority in the area of
    • educational administration, relates that other groups of
    • individuals experience the world in their own unique
    • way (Valverde & Brown (1988) cited in Kowalski, 2003).
    12/24/10
  • Method
    • Qualitative Descriptive Study
    • Data was collected in the form of Structured Personal Interviews
    • A review of literature was the basis for preliminary theme identification
    • Member Checking was utilized to give the interview participants an opportunity to review and clarify their responses to the interview questions
    • Data was reduced and extracted by clustering and marginal coding (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2006; Miles & Huberman, 1994)
    • Microsoft Word was used as the transcribing tool
  • Method
    • An 80% response rate was collected from the 20 Texas Regional
    • Education Service Centers & the Texas Alliance of Black School
    • Educators (TABSE) by Snowball Sampling .
    • A Population of 17 African American administrators from eight
    • remote Texas Rural Systemic Initiative (TRSI) school districts was
    • discovered. Five of the districts were located in East Texas, Two
    • in West Texas, and one in Central Texas.
    • A total of seven individuals agreed to participate in the study. One
    • was interviewed for the pilot study and the remaining six became
    • the sample .
    January 26, 2009
  • Method
    • A Pilot Study was conducted using the interview questions from
    • the dissertation, Small Missouri Public School Female
    • Superintendent Career Stories (Benson, 2006).
    • Prior to the study, the words superintendent and
    • superintendency were replaced with the words administrator and
    • administrative and the word gender was replaced with word race.
    • The word Missouri was replaced with the word Texas.
    • After the pilot study, the first question was divided into two
    • separate questions because of the lengthy nature of the response
    • necessary for the first half of the question. Questions 7 and 8 were
    • added to the instrument to obtain information to answer research
    • question 3. All changes to the interview instrument were reported to
    • the IRB.
  • Method
    • Interview Questions
    • 1. Would you tell me about your childhood?
    • 2. Would you tell me about your educational background?
    • 3. How long have you been in the education field? How long as an administrator?
    • 4. What motivated you to want to become an administrator?
    • 5. What pathways or guiding compasses did you take to obtain your position?
    • 6. In seeking an administrative position, do you think
    • there were or are race specific career pathways or
    • guiding compasses?
  • Method
    • 7. What things inspire and renew you?
    • 8. Do you prefer to work in a rural setting? If so why?
    • 9. Do you have any recommendations for aspiring rural
    • African American administrators about the career
    • pathways or guiding compasses they need to take to
    • obtain an administrative position in a rural Texas
    • public school?
    • 10. Is there any other information that you would like to add?
  • Major Findings
    • Rural African American Administrator Population by Gender
    • ____________________________________________________
    • Administrators Males Females
    • ____________________________________________________
    • Superintendents 0 1
    • Assistant Superintendents 1 0
    • Principals 5 5
    • Assistant Principals 2 2
    • Program Coordinators 0 1
    • _____________________________________________________
  • Major Findings
    • Sample Administrators by Job Assignment
    • ____________________________________________
    • Administrators Frequency
    • ____________________________________________
    • Superintendents 1
    • Principals 3
    • Assistant Principals 1
    • Program Coordinators 1
    • ____________________________________________
  • Major Findings Emerging Themes
    • “ DIRECT”
    • D etermined to Do Well
    • I solated yet
    • R urally Connected
    • E nduring
    • C ommunicators of Discipline
    • T rusting in the Will of God
  • Major Findings Emerging Theme One Research Question One: What childhood and academic experiences, including encouragements and barriers, influence the career pathways of rural African American administrators? D etermination to Do Well
  • Major Findings Supporting Literature
    • Emerging Theme One: Determination to do Well
    • Personal drive, confidence and commitment
    • Leadership preparation
    • Willingness understand and respect other cultures
    • Willingness to build positive relationships
    • Professionalism (Bush et al, 2005)
    • Personal determination, courage and hard work (Kowalski, 2003)
  • Major Findings Determination to do Well
    • Encouragements: Family, Community, Friends and Teachers
    • Two individuals from two parent homes quoted, “It takes a village.” Family and community members taught them to, “value work, respect others and do well”. One person, from a single parent became an Eagle scout. The highest rank in scouting. Oath: I will do my best...
    • Barriers: Abuse, Poverty, and Negative Talk
    • One individual from a divorced family was encouraged to by a friend after a teacher spoke negatively about her desire to become an educator. Two more were from single parent homes. One of these was raised by older siblings and encouraged to do well. The other one lived in poverty after being rescued by a grandmother from abuse at the hands of her 16 year old mother. She was validated by teachers a who called her smart .
    12/24/10
  • Major Findings Emerging Theme One
    • Determination to do Well
    • Many contrasts were found in the childhood and
    • academic experiences of the administrators in the
    • sample. Sample members reported childhood
    • experiences that ranged from being nurtured and
    • privileged to those of coping with poverty and abuse.
    • The early support and validation received by these
    • administrators was the chief factor in the development
    • of their determination to do well.
  • Major Findings Emerging Themes Two & Three Research Question Two: What work experiences, including encouragements and barriers, influence the career pathways of rural African American administrators? E nduring I solated yet R urally C onnected
  • Major Findings Supporting Literature
      • Emerging Theme Two: Isolated Yet Rurally Connected
      • Rural Backgrounds, Personal Characteristics, or Educational Experiences (Collins, 1999)
      • Childhood Memories (Turner, 2004)
      • Family Ties (Whitner, Jen, & Kassel)
      • Isolation (Collins, 1999)
        • Professional
        • Social
        • Geographic
  • Major Findings Isolated Yet Rurally Connected
    • Encouragements: Family Ties, Community, Identification with the current school or with rural schools
    • Four attended rural schools, Two grew up in large cities. All had only rural experience. Two said, “Rural schools represent family.” One related that it was her husband’s dream to live in a rural area.
    • Barrier: Isolation (Professional, Social, and Geographic)
    • Each was the only African American administrator on the campus or at the central office. One said that his wife was the only other African American educator in the district. The pilot study administrator was the first and only African American administrator in his district. One administrator added the words, “few and far in between.” Another said, it’s lonely at the top.”
    12/24/10
  • Major Findings Supporting Literature
    • Emerging Theme Three: Enduring
    • Rural poverty is at an all-time high
      • Particularly in schools with large populations of African American students
    • New rural teachers are likely to face inadequate housing (Laub, 2007)
    • New rural teachers are most likely to feel isolated (Laub, 2007)
    • Rural educators may be asked to work toward additional certification
    • Rural educators have smaller incomes (TEA, 2007)
  • Major Findings
    • Salary Averages: Sample Rural Districts, One Urban District, and Texas
    • School Teacher Campus Central Office
    • 20 + Yrs Administration Administration
    • 1 $48,990 $59,839 $67,165
    • 2 $48,291 $58,646 $70,426
    • 3 $48,795 $48,141 $78,946
    • 4 $46,268 $54,941 $71,975
    • 5 $48,880 $61,898 $73,975
    • 6 $45,647 $54,765 $65,256
    • 7 $48,202 $52,196 $85,000
    • 8 $49,937 $66,222 $63,863
    • Urban District $64,038 $71,071 $80,084
    • Texas $55,028 $65,506 $80,875
    12/24/10
  • Major Findings Supporting Literature
    • Emerging Theme Three: Enduring
    • Rural educators tend to work in their districts for many years before an administrative opportunity comes along.
    • Rural Board practices and attitudes can be negative (Bates,2007)
    • Rural Educators must be willing to work with other cultures (Bush et al, 2005)
    • Rural administrators must wear many hats (Benson, 2006) “Jack of all trades” (Laub, 2007)
    12/24/10
  • Major Findings
    • Comparison: Rural Sample Turnover Rates to that of Texas ________________
    • School District Percentage of Turnover
    • ___________________________________________________________________
    • School 1 11%
    • School 2 23.3%
    • School 3 32%
    • School 4 17.9%
    • School 5 21.6%
    • School 6 14.9%
    • School 7 17.9%
    • School 8 31.9%
    • State of Texas 15.6%
    • ________________________________________________________________
    12/24/10
  • Major Findings
    • Comparison of Years in Education to Years in Administration___
    • Years in Education Years in Administration
    • __________________________________________________
    • 42 32
    • 28 16
    • 28 9
    • 15 10
    • 11 8
    • 10 3
    • ___________________________________________________
  • Major Findings Enduring
    • Encouragements: Success of Students and Teachers, Family Ties, and Community Support
    • Two administrators named student and teacher success as their encouragement, One named family ties, One was living out a dream, and another was told that she was born to do it by a professor. Her entire community (African Americans and Caucasians) insisted that she apply for a leadership position. All enjoyed the profession of education.
    • Barriers: Turnover Rates, Assignment Practices, Number of Responsibilities, Privacy Issues, Miscommunication, and Unwritten Policy (Community Attitudes and Taboos)
    • One administrator remained determined and19 years passed before she was promoted. The others contrasted with the literature findings and worked an average of 7.4 years before administration. Another was discouraged by the lack of rules and cited their lack of privacy
    12/24/10
  • Major Findings Conclusion Two
    • Isolated Yet Rurally Connected and Enduring
    • Each of the administrators in the study was
    • the only African American administrator: on the campus,
    • in the district, or at the central office level and each held
    • a viable connection to his or her school district. All of
    • these administrators successfully navigated their rural
    • systems long enough gain promotion.
  • Major Findings Emerging Themes Four & Five Research Question Three: What characteristics of rural African American administrators appear to influence their career pathways? T rusting in the will of God C ommunicators of Discipline
  • Major Findings Supporting Literature
    • Communicators of Discipline
      • Understanding of the culture and the expectations of the school and the surrounding community (Depit, 1988)
      • Minority student improvement
      • Willingness to build positive relationships
      • Professionalism
      • Appointed without interviews or external competition (Bush, et al, 2005)
  • Major Findings Communicators of Discipline
    • Encouragements: Stakeholders
    • Four administrators were moved into administration before certification. Quotes were, “The district was accustomed to Black leadership” “looking for someone to handle the situation” “Workhorse” “Good disciplinarian” “Born to do it.” One administrator was hired as the principal after one year as an assistant principal. Another was recruited and hired after her predecessor (Caucasian) was sued by an African American group for allegedly mishandling a young student.
    • Barriers: Availability of Positions and Promotion Practices
    • The turnover rates for the teachers in six of the eight sample school districts were higher than the 15.6% average for the state of Texas (TEA, 2007). The researcher has experienced that turnover rate for rural administrators is lower. Usually someone has to retire or die .
    12/24/10
  • Major Findings Supporting Literature
    • Emerging Theme Five: Trusting in the Will of God
    • African American administrators in the Bush (2005),
    • Echols (2007), and Turner (2004) studies indicated that
    • that leaders should believe in God.
    • These leaders believed that holding God in high
    • esteem and praying when there was trouble in their
    • personal and professional lives was beneficial.
  • Major Findings Trusting in the Will of God
    • Encouragements: Personal Beliefs and Perceptions of Blessings
      • Quotes from the study were, “It was God’s will for us to always
      • do well,” “Sunday was the first day of the week at my house”,
      • “… and God moved again…,” “Just have faith. God will move
      • you when it is His will,” “God showed me that this is where He
      • wanted me to be,” and "Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
      • and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways
      • acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs
      • 3:5-6).
    12/24/10
  • Major Findings Conclusion Three
    • Communicators of Discipline &
    • Trusting in the Will of God
    • All of the administrators in the study were able to meet the
    • expectations of key stakeholders in their school districts because
    • they were articulate, strong disciplinarians who could, “handle the
    • situation”. All administrators were trusting in the will of God to lead
    • them through many challenges, including the opportunity to move
    • into administration.
  • Implications
    • Many factors influence the career trajectories of rural African
    • American administrators. Their determination to do well is
    • developed early in life due to support and validation. Feelings
    • normally associated with isolation are minimized by the
    • development of viable rural connections . Enduring rural
    • challenges is possibly made easier by the extension of willingness
    • to understand and respect the culture of their schools and
    • surrounding communities. This willingness has also appeared to
    • increase their job promotion opportunities. Especially for those
    • educators who are viewed as strong communicators of
    • discipline . Finally, trusting in the will of God has given many
    • African American educators the faith to accept and maintain their
    • roles as leaders in rural education.
  • Challenge African American educators desiring a rural administrative position must be prepared for “ DIRECT” contact with all stakeholders.
  • Recommendations for Further Study
    • 1 . Duplication of the study in other geographical areas of the country.
      • 2. Case studies of certified rural African Americans who aspired to become leaders and were not promoted to leadership positions.
    • 3. A case study of a rural African American superintendent.
  • Recommendations For Further Study
    • 4. A study about the process utilized by rural African American administrators to establish effective mentor relationships and develop political networks.
    • 5. A study examining the leadership behaviors and beliefs of rural African American administrators over an extended period of time.
    • 6. A study comparing the experiences and characteristics influencing the career trajectories of rural African American administrators with those of another ethnic group of administrators.
  • REFERENCES
    • Bates, G. D. (2007). An analysis of African Americans in the public school superintendency: a dissertation . Prairie View, TX: Prairie View A&M University.
    • Benson, D. M. (2006). Small Missouri public school female superintendent career stories: An exploration of guiding compasses . ProQuest information and Learning Company, (UMI No. 3242057).
    • Bush, T., Flover, D., Sood, K., Cardno, C, Kholeka, M., Potgeiter, G., and Tangie, K. (2005). Black and minority ethnic leaders . Final report to the national college for school leadership. Retrieved March 8, 2008, from http://www.ncsl.org.uk/media/28E/88/black-and-minority-ethnic-leaders
    • Crenshaw, S. T. (2004). African American female school principals’ leadership stories: Toward a substantive grounded theory inquiry. ProQuest information and Learning Company, (UMI No. 3139665).
    • Collins, T. (1999). Attracting and retaining teachers in rural areas. Eric. Retrieved February 16, 2007, from ERIC http:// eric.ed.gov
  • REFERENCES
    • Delgado, R. and J. Stefanic. (Ed.). (2000). Critical race theory: The cutting edge . Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
    • Delpit, L.D. (1988). The silenced dialogue: Power and pedagogy in educating other people’s children. http://rpp.english.ucsb.edu/research/race-class-and-pedagogy/delpit-lisa Harvard Educational Review . Retrieved September 19, 2007, from
    • Echols, C. (2007 ). Challenges facing black American principals: A conversation about coping . National Council of Professors of Educational Administration. Retrieved July 3, 2007, from: http://cnx.org/content/m13821/latest/
    • Fraenkel J. R. & Wallen, N. E., (2006). How to design and evaluate research in education . New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies.
  • REFERENCES
    • Kerka, S. (1998). Career development and gender, race, and class . ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult Career and Vocational Education Columbus OH. ED421641.
    • Kowalski, T. J. (2003) Contemporary school administration: An introduction . Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
    • Laub, J. D. (2007). An analysis of the rural public school superintendency: a dissertation. Prairie View, TX: Prairie View A&M University.
    • Manuel, M. A. & Slate, J. R. (2003 ). Hispanic female superintendents in America: A profile. Retrieved June 23, 2007, from www.advancingwomen.com
    • Manuel, M. A. & Slate, J. R. (2003 ). Hispanic female superintendents in America: A profile. Retrieved June 23, 2007, from www.advancingwomen.com
    • Miles, M. B. & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications
    12/24/10
  • REFERENCES
    • Texas Education Agency (2007). Retrieved November 11, 2007, from Texas Education Agency Website: http:// www.tea.state.tx.us /
    • Townsell, R. & Kritsonis, W. A. (2006). National insight: A look at synnoetics in one African American female’s journey to the principalship. Doctoral Forum: National Journal for Publishing and Mentoring Doctoral Students, 3(1), 1-10 Retrieved July 3, 2007, from http:// www.nationalforum.c
    • Turner, C. T. (2004). Voices of four African American and European American female principals and their leadership styles in a recognized urban school district Unpublished dissertation, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX.
    • Whitener, L., Jen, J., & Kassel, K. (2004). Progress and partnerships in a dynamic America. Retrieved July 1, 2007, from http://www.ers.usda.gov/amberwaves/february04/features/ blackhistory
    12/24/10
  • “ I’m wide awake and full of fun, scared to death, but I won’t run!” Grandpa Ethridge Townsell 1890-1985 Thank You ! "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).