References: McCray & Beachum- Commemorating Brown v. the Board of Edu.is a paper presented @ the Association of African American Principal Placements. Buxton- African American Teacher: The Missing Link Black Collegian Gertzwertz- Race, Gender and the Superintendency Education Week. Scott- The Black School Superintendent: Messiah of Scapegoat. Gary Bates- An Analysis of African American in the Public School Superintendency. James Laub- An Analysis of the Rural Public School Superintendent
This study will identify patterns in the career trajectories of rural African American administrators. Of particular interest are those factors, which appear to influence their career paths. Those factors are suspected to be the academic and work experiences, encouragements, barriers, and the characteristics of rural African American administrators. The literature indicates that these factors may be the forerunners of attitude formation for job choices. These are the job choices that are consistent with the achievement of leadership positions. The relationship between the factors may be described in terms of the cultural and social environments of the subjects (Delgado & Stefanic, 2000; Kowalski, 2003; Manuel & Slate, 2003).
The Career Choice Model emphasizes the fit between an individual and her career success. Experiences related to work and academic success, as well as perceived encouragements will be variables investigated from this model. The Career Choice Model postulates that a number of independent variables influence career pathways. The study named work experience, academic success, role models, and perceived encouragement as those independent variables. Work experience and academic success will be renamed experience in this study. Role models will be incorporated with perceived encouragement. The interaction between the variables of experience and perceived encouragement are believed to be consistent with the attainment of high level administrative positions like that of superintendency (Kerka, 1998). Theodore Kowalski’s (2003) research on minority administrators reveals that the barriers impacting these individuals and the characteristics of these leaders merit the attention of all stakeholders involved in school administration. Although the barriers encountered by of African Americans entering the field of school administration are now receiving attention, little information exists about the characteristics of those individuals. Those perceived barriers and the characteristics of African American administrators will be investigated in this study. Premises of the Critical Race Theory (CRT) will be applied to the study during the investigation of barriers that are encountered by African American administrators (Delgado & Stefanic, 2000). CRT begins with three premises: racism is normal in American society, America’s social world, with its rules, practices, and assignments of prestige and power, is not fixed because it can be constructed with words, stories, and even silence, and elite Caucasian Americans will tolerate or encourage racial advances for African Americans only when those advances also promote Caucasian self-interest (Delgado & Stefanic, 2000).
The Career Choice Model emphasizes the fit between an individual and career success. It postulates that of independent variables of work experiences and encouragements can influence career pathways. The interaction between the variables are believed to be consistent with the attainment of high level administrative positions like that of superintendency (Kerka, 1998). Theodore Kowalski’s (2003) research on minority administrators reveals that the barriers impacting these individuals and the characteristics of these leaders merit the attention of all stakeholders involved in school administration. Although the barriers encountered by of African Americans entering the field of school administration are now receiving attention, little information exists about the characteristics of those individuals. CRT begins with three premises: racism is normal in American society, America’s social world, with its rules, practices, and assignments of prestige and power, is not fixed because it can be constructed with words, stories, and even silence, and elite Caucasian Americans will tolerate or encourage racial advances for African Americans only when those advances also promote Caucasian self-interest.
This particular conceptual framework resulted because research illustrates that traditional models in leadership are developed by using mostly Caucasian males and should not be generalized for other groups of individuals such as African Americans (Kezar & Moriarty, 2000). Other individuals experience the social world in their own unique way (Valverde & Brown cited in Kowalski, 2003).
Data gathered in this study will add information to the body of knowledge in educational leadership about a population of individuals who have not received a significant amount of attention in the literature. It will also benefit African Americans enrolled in leadership training programs to better prepare for administrative positions in rural area schools, and potentially inform rural teachers who desire to become administrators about such possibilities. Finally, the model of this project may be used in studies of similar populations. In recent years the call for African American administrators has been greatest in urban areas (Gewertz, 2006; Scott, 1980). Their counterpoints, rural African American administrators, have been given little attention in the literature. Indeed, the researcher has found dialogue at infrequent regional meetings and through various principal organizations more informative than the existing literature.
By the middle of the 1950s, African American parents were given the opportunity to fight in court for their children’s equal access to educational facilities, curriculum, instruction, and materials (Willie & Willie, 2005). In 1896, The Plessy v. Ferguson decision provided the legal justification for action by state and local governments to legally separate African Americans and Caucasians in social settings (U.S. Supreme Court Center, 2008). In 1954, the landmark case of Brown v. the Board of Education was sent to the Supreme Court. The court was left to decide whether or not the segregation of public school children, based solely on race, deprived minority children of an equal opportunity for education even when everything else was equal (Kusimo, 1999). The court ruled that “separate but equal” facilities for public school students were no longer acceptable (Alexander & Alexander, 2005). About 82,000 African American teachers were employed to teach approximately 8 million African American children (Toppo, 2004). Following the Brown v. the Board of Education decision, it took a span of 10 to15 years to reach legal compliance of desegregation laws. An excess of 38,000 African American teachers and administrators in many Southern states lost their jobs due to school closings and consolidations (Echols, 2007). By some estimates, 90% of African American principals lost their jobs (Toppo, 2004). In Texas, 5,000 uncertified Caucasian teachers were employed, while certified African American teachers were dismissed (Toppo, 2004). School boards based employment practices on the assumption that Caucasian parents would not want African Americans teachers educating their children (Toppo, 2004). This is an example of the type of practice which led to the CRT (Delgado & Stefanic, 2000). The integration of American public schools was achieved by closing many of the schools that served African American students (Turner, 2004). Integration occurred slowly in some areas and it was often delayed by the actions of local school boards (Willie & Willie, 2005). In some areas of the south, this was the pattern of action for many years.
Rural schools tend to be located in areas with low property values and they are likely to have fewer industries. Rural schools tend to be located in areas with low property values and they are likely to have fewer industries. Federal grants awarded on student population also impact rural schools (NEA, 2004). Read…….. Twenty-seven percent (12.5) students attend rural public schools (Johnson & Strange, 2007) .
Rural school boards are often the pulse of the school district. These officials may be skeptical of applicants who have no ties to the community or of those who do not look like their conception of a school educator, or appear to be knowledgeable (Institute for Educational Leadership, 2005). Administrators stand as visible representation of a school district. As such, school boards want to hire individuals who project an image that is in keeping with the standards of the community (Kowalski, 2003). School board members are very likely to have relatives, church members etc. who expect to have top billing. Salary is a great deterrent in the recruitment of qualified teachers for small rural schools. The ave. salary range for a principal in Texas 65,000-71,000 . In the Houston area an ave. salary may range from 65,000 up past 75,000. A rural principal in nearby school with similar experience may expect to receive a salary ranging from $57, 000 to $62,000 (TEA, 2008). the feeling of social, cultural and professional isolation are often cited as negatives when looking at rural life. Newly hired teachers cited the following: geographic isolation, weather, distance from larger communities, distance from family and inadequate shopping as a reason for leaving a rural area teaching position As a recruiter for her rural district, the researcher was told that the lack of social networking was also a factor to some African Americans deciding against teaching in a rural area.
Rural educators may work as teachers in their school districts for many years before an administrative opportunity becomes available. Potential administrators must stay abreast of student needs, staff, and community concerns while working toward building positive relationships with all stakeholders (Townsell & Kritsonis, 2006). Planning and patience with the system appear to be at the crux of the challenge. Occasionally, events may unfold without a plan. For example, an assistant principal’s job may open and the only individual available and interested in the position may be a local person who is willing to become certified. In that event the willing person may be able to capitalize on what may be the opportunity of a lifetime for them. This is especially so if the person wants to work as an administrator but has no plans to relocate for a similar position. The use of personal insight and knowledge can often afford an individual the opportunity to make advancements in settings that may seem unlikely. The understanding of self and of people can lead a person to make decisions, which are either beneficial or detrimental (Townsell & Kritsonis, 2006). The rural school administrator’s role often requires that persons become involved in every aspect of a school’s functions. The researcher found that rural administrators must wear many hats (Benson, 2006).
The literature revealed that most administrators completed their undergraduate degrees at HBCUs and graduate degrees from Colleges or Universities predominately attended by Caucasian students (Echols, 2007). Academic and work experiences are career entry ways! Studies indicate that African Americans may acquire leadership skills differently than other groups (Kezar, 2000).
Internal barriers include the influence of society, and personal desire and beliefs, and self esteem. External barriers relate to role stereotyping, sexual discrimination, preparation for an administrator role, and responsibilities to family (Shakeshaft cited in Kowalski, 2003).
Major themes emerging from the literature include: Powerful Personal Motivation- The respondents said that their positive self-images helped them to draw on inner strength to overcome obstacles and tackle challenges. Multi-Modal Communicators- As such these individuals were able to network using various modes of communication and know how and to adapt and navigate in various This ability to shift dialect from one situation to another is “code switching.” Thirst for Knowledge- The respondents relayed a wealth of experiences and a strong desire to achieve in many areas. Mentoring Relationships. Mentors helped some of the respondents gain self-confidence. Support from family members Understanding school politics related to obtaining the position Breaking New Ground- The first person of their gender or race to accept the top position in their respective districts. Size- In smaller districts administrators perform a variety of tasks that are not necessarily associated with an administrative position. Position Expertise- The smaller number of staff members made the need to know about all areas important to an individual in a rural position. For example, some administrators may teach a class or drive a school bus. Outsider versus insider- The respondents felt that they had to prove themselves to obtain their positions. (Adell qualitative study (2004) about the contextual leadership of African Americans females and Benson’s qualitative study (2006) of rural Missouri school superintendents)
For this qualitative descriptive study, data will be collected in the form of structured personal interviews. Fraenkel and Wallen (2006) define qualitative research as that in which the researcher makes an attempt to study phenomena, which naturally occur in all their complexity. The study will focus on six African American administrators in rural school districts. At the conclusion of the interviews, the researcher will code the material for emergent themes. The review of literature will be used as a basis for preliminary theme identification. Specifically, the themes will result from the four research questions.
The target population for this case study will be African American administrators who have worked in rural Texas public schools. Potential participants will be identified through snowballing sampling. The directors of the 20 Educational Service Centers serving the state of Texas and the five officers of the Texas Alliance of Black School Educators (TABSE) will be solicited by U.S. mail to nominate African American administrators (see appendix A). Both groups will be sent a list of the 224 Texas school districts that were identified rural by The Texas Rural System Initiative (TRSI) as rural schools (2007). This will be done to insure that the schools of the nominees fit the definition of rural schools. Nominated administrators will be informed of their nomination by telephone or e-mail. Those agreeing to participate in the study will be mailed a first class letter, which will solicit their written consent. The researcher will place those consent forms in a hat after a period of one month, after the mailing. The names of six participants will be drawn for the purpose of the study. If at least six names have not been submitted during the waiting period, the ESC directors and the TABSE officers will be contacted by telephone until such a time that a number of names have been submitted and consent for participation has been granted. Those individuals will be contacted by telephone and their interviews will be scheduled.
Seven interview questions will be used to answer the four research questions. The researcher has obtained permission to utilize research questions that were used in Small Missouri public school female superintendent career stories: An exploration of guiding compasses (Benson, 2006). The researcher has modified Benson’s original questions to fit her study concerning rural African American administrators. The words superintendent and superintendency will be replaced with the words administrator and administrative position. The word race was added to question five in order to gain information about barriers that may be associated with being an African American. Question five will read, in seeking an Administrative position, do you think there were or are gender-oriented or race specific career pathways or guiding compasses? The word female will be replaced with the words rural African American administrator. The modified study questions will be piloted to establish their clarity. The questions will be piloted on a rural African American administrator who will not be a part of the study. The feedback from this individual will help the researcher clarify the questions and practice the administration of the questionnaire (see Appendix D).
The data will be collected through naturalistic inquiry using the personal interview technique. This technique will allow the researcher to obtain firsthand information from the respondent. The researcher will use the telephone contact information from the participant information sheet to make contact and schedule personal interviews. The structured interviews will be held at the convenience of the participants in a location that is safe and agreeable to both parties. A period of two hours is planned for each meeting. This will allow time for formalities, some rapport to be established, the execution of the interview questions, and a time for the viewing of any related materials, such as photographs, newspaper, and articles. One month will be scheduled in which to collect the data. The researcher will keep a field journal throughout the interview process to aid in the description of the atmosphere and to capture any dynamics that may be impact the interviews. Journaling will allow the researcher to create thick, rich descriptions of the participant’s experiences. For the purpose of conformability, each interviewee will be given the opportunity to read interview questions and their recorded responses to insure that the interviewer has made an accurate transcription of what the individual said. This preview copy will be mailed within a one-week period after each interview.
Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Dissertation Chair for Rhodena Townsell, Dissertation Proposal PPT.
RURAL AFRICAN AMERICAN ADMINISTRATORCAREER TRAJECTORIESA Dissertation ProposalbyRhodena TownsellWilliam Allan Kritsonis, PhD – Dissertation ChairPresented toWhitlowe Radcliffe Green College of EducationPh.D. Program in Educational LeadershipPrairie View A&MIn partial requirement of the requirements for the degree ofDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYJune 2008
Chapter IIntroductionAfrican Americans administrators are actively recruitedand groomed to fill leadership positions in some urbanand inner city schools (McCray & Beachum, 2004;Buxton, 2007; Gewertz, 2006; Scott, 1980).Studies reveal that some African Americanadministrators prefer to work with the students in thoseschools (Bates, 2007).However, that is not true for all African Americanadministrators (Laub, 2007).
Chapter IStatement of the ProblemLiterature related to educationalLeadership does not adequately reflectthe work of rural African Americanadministrators.
Chapter IPurpose of the StudyThe purpose of this study will be to describe factorsthat influence the career trajectories of rural AfricanAmerican administrators. These administrators arerole models to many individuals (Nganga &Kambutu, 2005). Literature suggests that aspiringschool leaders may gain insight from theexperiences of others that will result in a betterunderstanding of the diverse career pathwaystoward successful school leadership (Crenshaw,2004).
Research Questions• What academic and work experiences influence the career pathwaystaken by rural African American administrators?• What encouragements found in the work place and in thesurrounding community influence the career pathways of ruralAfrican American administrators?• What barriers found in the workplace and in the surroundingcommunity influence the career pathways of rural African Americanadministrators?• What characteristics of rural African American administrators appearto influence their career pathways?
Conceptual FrameworkThe conceptual framework for this researchstudy will be based The CareerChoice Model of Betz and Fitzgerald (Manuel &Slate, 2003), portions of Thedore Kowalski’sresearch on minority administrators (2003), andPremises from Critical Race Theory (Delgado &Stefanic,2000).
Conceptual Framework• The Career Choice Model– Experiences and Encouragements• Theodore Kowalski – MinorityAdministrators– Barriers and Characteristics• Critical Race Theory (CRT)– Racism in America is normal– Stories, words and silence construct beliefs– A. A. Success is cultivated and tolerated for a price
Conceptual Framework• Traditional models in leadership aredeveloped by using mostly Caucasianmales and should not be generalizedfor other groups of individuals (Kezar &Moriarty, 2000).• Other individuals experience the socialworld in their own unique way (Valverde& Brown cited in Kowalski, 2003).
Significance of the Study• Data gathered in this study will add information to thebody of knowledge in educational leadership• The data may be informative to teachers who desireto become rural administrators• The conceptual framework of this study may be usedto study similar populations
• Before Brown v. the Board of Education(1954) 82,000 African Americanteachers were employed to teachapproximately eight million AfricanAmerican students (Toppo, 2004)African Americans andPublic Schools
African Americans andPublic Schools• After Brown v. the Board of Educationapproximately 38,000 African Americanteachers and administrators in manySoutheastern states lost their jobs (Echols,2007).• As many as 90% of African Americanprincipals were dismissed (Toppo, 2004).• Approximately 5000 uncertified Caucasianteachers were hired in Texas (Toppo, 2004).
Rural School Challenges• High poverty rate (The Rural School andCommunity Trust Organization, 2007)• Inadequate building features (NEA, 1998).• Rural schools receive fewer federal, state,and local funds than other schools (The RuralSchool and Community Trust Organization,2007)
Rural School Challenges• School boards• Lower Salaries• Social, Cultural and ProfessionalIsolation
Rural School Challenges• Rural educators may have to work asteachers in their school districts formany years before an administrativeopportunity becomes available(Townsell & Kritsonis, 2006).• Rural administrators may have to wear“many hats” (Benson, 2006).
Experiences(Academic and Work)• Most held undergraduate degrees at HBCUs andgraduate degrees from Colleges or Universitiespredominately attended by Caucasian students(Echols, 2007).• Childhood Memories (Turner, 2004)• Department Chairs (Kezar & Moriarty, 2000)• Default, tenure, or mentor suggestion (Turner, 2004)
Encouragements• Family Members (Bush, et al, 2005; Turner,2004)• Mentors (Manuel & Slate, 2003; Turner,2004)• Themselves (Manuel and Slate, 2003).• Colleagues (Manuel and Slate, 2003).• God (Echols, 2007; Turner, 2004).• “Just a Matter of Luck” (Bush, et al, 2005).
Barriers• School Board Agendas (Bates, 2007; Laub,2007 Kowalski, 2003; Ortiz, 2000; Willie &Willie, 2005)• Politics (Adell, 2004; Kerka, 1998)• Beliefs of Society (Delgado & Stefanic, 2000;Kerka, 1998; Kowalski, 2003)• Discrimination (Bush, et al, 2005; Delgado &Stefanic, 2000; Echols, 2007; Turner, 2004)• Lack of Mentoring and Role Models (Kerka,1998; Turner, 2004 )
Characteristics(Bush, et al, 2005)• Resilience• Personal determination, courage,confidence, and hard work (Kowalski,2003).• Willingness to understand and respect othercultures and to build positive relationships• The professionalism to maintain composureand keep control in adverse situations.
Themes from the Literature(Adell, 2004; Benson, 2006)• Personal Motivation (Adell & Benson)• Multimodal Communication (Adell)• Thirst for Knowledge (Adell)• Mentoring Relationships (Adell & Benson)• Support (Adell & Benson)• Understanding Politics (Adell)• Breaking New Ground (Benson)• Size (Benson)• Areas of Expertise (Benson)• Outsider versus Insider• Job Preparation (Benson)
Research Design• This will be a qualitative descriptive study• Data will be collected in the form of structuredpersonal interviews from rural AfricanAmerican administrators• The interview scripts will be coded for theemerging and contrasting themes• The review of literature will be used as abasis for preliminary theme identification
Population & Sample• The target population for this study will be AfricanAmerican administrators working at Texas publicschools.• Why Texas? More children attend rural schools in Texas than inany other state (The Rural School and Community TrustOrganization, 2007)• Snowball Sampling will be utilized to obtain the participation ofsix African American administrators. These administrators willbe nominated by the officials of the 20 Texas Education ServiceCenters. and the officers of the Texas Alliance of Black SchoolEducators (TABSE)
Instrumentation andPilot StudyPermission was obtained from Dr. Dorothy Benson touse the questionnaire from her dissertation entitled,Small Missouri Public School Female SuperintendentCareer Stories: An Exploration of Guiding Compasses(2006).A pilot study will be performed to determine ifthe modifications made to the questionnaire areappropriate for this study.
Data CollectionCollection Format– Personal Interviews– Field Journal– Participants will be given the opportunity toreview their responses to the interviewquestions
Data AnalysisResearch Question OneWhat academic and work experiences influence the careerpathways taken by rural African American administrators?Interview Questions 1-2:• 1. Would you tell me about your educational background?Literature Themes- 1.1 Personal motivation, 1.2 Thirst forknowledge, 1.3 Ground Breaking, 1.4 Job Preparation, and 1.5Size of School• 2. How long have you been in the education field? How long asan administrator? Literature Themes- 2.1 Areas of Expertiseand 2.2 Multimodal Communicators
Data AnalysisResearch Question TwoWhat encouragements found in the workplace and inthe surrounding community influence the career pathsof rural African American administrators?Interview Questions 3-4:• 3. What motivated you to want to become anadministrator? Literature Theme- 3.1 Personalmotivation• 4. What pathways or guiding compasses did you taketo obtain your position? Literature Themes- 4.1Sponsorship and Support
Data AnalysisResearch Question ThreeWhat barriers found in the workplace and in thesurrounding community influence the career paths ofrural African American administrators?Interview Question 5:• 5. In seeking an administrative position, do you thinkthere were or are race specific career pathways orguiding compasses? Literature Themes- 5.1Understanding Politics and 5.2 Outsider VersusInsider
Data AnalysisResearch Question FourWhat characteristics of rural African Americanadministrators appear to influence their careerPathways?Interview Question 6-7:• 6. Do you have any recommendations for aspiringrural African American administrators about thecareer pathways or guiding compasses they need totake to obtain an administrative position in a ruralTexas public school?• 7. Is there any other information that you would like toadd?
SummaryThe purpose of this study will be to describe the careertrajectories of rural African American administrators. Datadescribing the influences that affect their career pathways willbe collected, analyzed and coded for recurring themes.The results of the study will add information to the body ofknowledge in educational leadership about a population ofindividuals that has not received enough attention in theliterature.This study may benefit African Americans enrolled inleadership training programs to better prepare foradministrative positions in rural area schoolsThe conceptual framework may be used to study similarpopulations.
My Encouragementfor Your Questions“I’m wide awake and full of fun, scared todeath but I won’t run! (Grandpa EthridgeTownsell)”