3Dissertation Defense FormatI. Purpose of the StudyII. Research QuestionsIII. Conceptual FrameworkIV. MethodV. Major FindingsVI. ConclusionsVII. ImplicationsVIII. ChallengeIX. Recommendations for Further StudyX. References
4Purpose of the StudyThe purpose of this study was to describefactors that influence the career trajectoriesof successful rural African Americanadministrators. 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).
5Research Questions1. What childhood and academic experiences, includingencouragements and barriers, influence the career pathways ofrural African American administrators?2. What work experiences, including encouragements and barriers,Influence the career pathways of rural African Americanadministrators?3. What characteristics of rural African American administratorsappear to influence their career pathways?
Conceptual FrameworkSupporting LiteratureThis framework was constructed because traditionalmodels in leadership are developed by using mostlyCaucasian males and should not be generalized forother groups of individuals (Kezar & Moriarty, 2000).Theodore Kowalski, an authority in the area ofeducational administration, relates that other groups ofindividuals experience the world in their own uniqueway (Valverde & Brown (1988) cited in Kowalski, 2003).04/30/13 7
8Method• Qualitative Descriptive Study• Data was collected in the form of Structured Personal Interviews• A review of literature was the basis for preliminary themeidentification• Member Checking was utilized to give the interview participantsan opportunity to review and clarify their responses to theinterview questions• Data was reduced and extracted by clustering and marginalcoding (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2006; Miles & Huberman, 1994)• Microsoft Word was used as the transcribing tool
9January 26, 2009MethodAn 80% response rate was collected from the 20 Texas RegionalEducation Service Centers & the Texas Alliance of Black SchoolEducators (TABSE) by Snowball Sampling.A Population of 17 African American administrators from eightremote Texas Rural Systemic Initiative (TRSI) school districts wasdiscovered. Five of the districts were located in East Texas, Twoin West Texas, and one in Central Texas.A total of seven individuals agreed to participate in the study. Onewas interviewed for the pilot study and the remaining six becamethe sample.
MethodA Pilot Study was conducted using the interview questions fromthe dissertation, Small Missouri Public School FemaleSuperintendent Career Stories (Benson, 2006).Prior to the study, the words superintendent andsuperintendency were replaced with the words administrator andadministrative 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 twoseparate questions because of the lengthy nature of the responsenecessary for the first half of the question. Questions 7 and 8 wereadded to the instrument to obtain information to answer researchquestion 3. All changes to the interview instrument were reported tothe IRB.10
11MethodInterview Questions1. 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 anadministrator?4. What motivated you to want to become an administrator?5. What pathways or guiding compasses did you take to obtainyour position?6. In seeking an administrative position, do you thinkthere were or are race specific career pathways orguiding compasses?
12Method7. 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 ruralAfrican American administrators about the careerpathways or guiding compasses they need to take toobtain an administrative position in a rural Texaspublic school?10. Is there any other information that you would like to add?
13Major FindingsRural African American Administrator Population by Gender____________________________________________________Administrators Males Females____________________________________________________Superintendents 0 1Assistant Superintendents 1 0Principals 5 5Assistant Principals 2 2Program Coordinators 0 1_____________________________________________________
15Major FindingsEmerging Themes“DIRECT”• Determined to Do Well• Isolated yetRurally Connected• Enduring• Communicators of Discipline• Trusting in the Will of God
Major FindingsEmerging Theme OneResearch Question One: What childhood and academicexperiences, including encouragements and barriers,influence the career pathways of rural African Americanadministrators?Determination to Do Well
Major FindingsSupporting LiteratureEmerging 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 FindingsDetermination to do Well• Encouragements: Family, Community, Friends and TeachersTwo individuals from two parent homes quoted, “It takes a village.”Family and community members taught them to, “value work, respectothers and do well”. One person, from a single parent became an Eaglescout. The highest rank in scouting. Oath: I will do my best...• Barriers: Abuse, Poverty, and Negative TalkOne individual from a divorced family was encouraged to by a friendafter a teacher spoke negatively about her desire to become aneducator. Two more were from single parent homes. One of these wasraised by older siblings and encouraged to do well. The other one livedin poverty after being rescued by a grandmother from abuse at thehands of her 16 year old mother. She was validated by teachers a whocalled her smart.04/30/13 18
Major FindingsEmerging Theme OneDetermination to do WellMany contrasts were found in the childhood andacademic experiences of the administrators in thesample. Sample members reported childhoodexperiences that ranged from being nurtured andprivileged to those of coping with poverty and abuse.The early support and validation received by theseadministrators was the chief factor in the developmentof their determination to do well.
Major FindingsEmerging Themes Two & ThreeResearch Question Two: What work experiences, includingencouragements and barriers, influence the career pathwaysof rural African American administrators?EnduringIsolated yet Rurally Connected
Major FindingsSupporting LiteratureEmerging Theme Two: Isolated Yet Rurally Connected– Rural Backgrounds, Personal Characteristics, or EducationalExperiences (Collins, 1999)– Childhood Memories (Turner, 2004)– Family Ties (Whitner, Jen, & Kassel)– Isolation (Collins, 1999)• Professional• Social• Geographic
Major FindingsIsolated Yet Rurally Connected• Encouragements: Family Ties, Community, Identification withthe current school or with rural schoolsFour attended rural schools, Two grew up in large cities. All had onlyrural experience. Two said, “Rural schools represent family.” Onerelated 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 atthe central office. One said that his wife was the only other AfricanAmerican educator in the district. The pilot study administrator was thefirst and only African American administrator in his district. Oneadministrator added the words, “few and far in between.” Another said,it’s lonely at the top.”04/30/13 22
Major FindingsSupporting LiteratureEmerging Theme Three: Enduring• Rural poverty is at an all-time high– Particularly in schools with large populations of AfricanAmerican students• New rural teachers are likely to face inadequatehousing (Laub, 2007)• New rural teachers are most likely to feel isolated(Laub, 2007)• Rural educators may be asked to work towardadditional certification• Rural educators have smaller incomes (TEA, 2007)
Major FindingsSupporting LiteratureEmerging Theme Three: Enduring• Rural educators tend to work in their districts formany years before an administrative opportunitycomes along.• Rural Board practices and attitudes can be negative(Bates,2007)• Rural Educators must be willing to work with othercultures (Bush et al, 2005)• Rural administrators must wear many hats (Benson,2006) “Jack of all trades” (Laub, 2007)04/30/13 25
Major FindingsComparison: 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%________________________________________________________________04/30/13 26
Major FindingsComparison of Years in Education to Years in Administration___Years in Education Years in Administration__________________________________________________42 3228 1628 915 1011 810 3___________________________________________________
Major FindingsEnduring• Encouragements: Success of Students and Teachers, Family Ties,and Community SupportTwo administrators named student and teacher success as theirencouragement, One named family ties, One was living out a dream,and another was told that she was born to do it by a professor. Herentire community (African Americans and Caucasians) insisted that sheapply for a leadership position. All enjoyed the profession of education.• Barriers: Turnover Rates, Assignment Practices, Number ofResponsibilities, Privacy Issues, Miscommunication, and UnwrittenPolicy (Community Attitudes and Taboos)One administrator remained determined and19 years passed beforeshe was promoted. The others contrasted with the literature findingsand worked an average of 7.4 years before administration. Another wasdiscouraged by the lack of rules and cited their lack of privacy04/30/13 28
29Major FindingsConclusion TwoIsolated Yet Rurally Connected and EnduringEach of the administrators in the study wasthe only African American administrator: on the campus,in the district, or at the central office level and each helda viable connection to his or her school district. All ofthese administrators successfully navigated their ruralsystems long enough gain promotion.
Major FindingsEmerging Themes Four & FiveResearch Question Three: What characteristics of ruralAfrican American administrators appear to influence theircareer pathways?Trusting in the will of GodCommunicators of Discipline
Major FindingsSupporting LiteratureCommunicators of Discipline– Understanding of the culture and the expectationsof the school and the surrounding community(Depit, 1988)– Minority student improvement– Willingness to build positive relationships– Professionalism– Appointed without interviews or externalcompetition (Bush, et al, 2005)
Major FindingsCommunicators of Discipline• Encouragements: StakeholdersFour administrators were moved into administration before certification. Quoteswere, “The district was accustomed to Black leadership” “looking for someoneto handle the situation” “Workhorse” “Good disciplinarian” “Born to do it.” Oneadministrator was hired as the principal after one year as an assistant principal.Another was recruited and hired after her predecessor (Caucasian) was suedby an African American group for allegedly mishandling a young student.• Barriers: Availability of Positions and Promotion PracticesThe turnover rates for the teachers in six of the eight sample school districtswere higher than the 15.6% average for the state of Texas (TEA, 2007). Theresearcher has experienced that turnover rate for rural administrators is lower.Usually someone has to retire or die.04/30/13 32
Major FindingsSupporting LiteratureEmerging Theme Five: Trusting in the Will of GodAfrican American administrators in the Bush (2005),Echols (2007), and Turner (2004) studies indicated thatthat leaders should believe in God.These leaders believed that holding God in highesteem and praying when there was trouble in theirpersonal and professional lives was beneficial.
Major FindingsTrusting in the Will of God• Encouragements: Personal Beliefs and Perceptionsof BlessingsQuotes from the study were, “It was God’s will for us to alwaysdo well,” “Sunday was the first day of the week at my house”,“…and God moved again…,” “Just have faith. God will moveyou when it is His will,” “God showed me that this is where Hewanted me to be,” and "Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and lean not on your own understanding; in all your waysacknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs3:5-6).04/30/13 34
35Major FindingsConclusion ThreeCommunicators of Discipline &Trusting in the Will of GodAll of the administrators in the study were able to meet theexpectations of key stakeholders in their school districts becausethey were articulate, strong disciplinarians who could, “handle thesituation”. All administrators were trusting in the will of God to leadthem through many challenges, including the opportunity to moveinto administration.
ImplicationsMany factors influence the career trajectories of rural AfricanAmerican administrators. Their determination to do well isdeveloped early in life due to support and validation. Feelingsnormally associated with isolation are minimized by thedevelopment of viable rural connections. Enduring ruralchallenges is possibly made easier by the extension of willingnessto understand and respect the culture of their schools andsurrounding communities. This willingness has also appeared toincrease their job promotion opportunities. Especially for thoseeducators who are viewed as strong communicators ofdiscipline. Finally, trusting in the will of God has given manyAfrican American educators the faith to accept and maintain theirroles as leaders in rural education.
ChallengeAfrican American educators desiring a rural administrativeposition must be prepared for “DIRECT” contact with allstakeholders.
38Recommendationsfor Further Study1. Duplication of the study in other geographical areasof the country.2. Case studies of certified rural African Americans whoaspired to become leaders and were not promoted toleadership positions.3. A case study of a rural African Americansuperintendent.
39RecommendationsFor Further Study4. A study about the process utilized by rural AfricanAmerican administrators to establish effective mentorrelationships and develop political networks.5. A study examining the leadership behaviors andbeliefs of rural African American administrators overan extended period of time.6. A study comparing the experiences andcharacteristics influencing the career trajectories ofrural African American administrators with those ofanother ethnic group of administrators.
REFERENCESBates, G. D. (2007). An analysis of African Americans in the public schoolsuperintendency: a dissertation. Prairie View, TX: Prairie View A&MUniversity.Benson, D. M. (2006). Small Missouri public school female superintendentcareer stories: An exploration of guiding compasses. ProQuestinformation and Learning Company, (UMI No. 3242057).Bush, T., Flover, D., Sood, K., Cardno, C, Kholeka, M., Potgeiter, G., andTangie, K. (2005). Black and minority ethnic leaders. Final report to thenational college for school leadership. Retrieved March 8, 2008, fromhttp://www.ncsl.org.uk/media/28E/88/black-and-minority-ethnic-leadersCrenshaw, S. T. (2004). African American female school principals’ leadershipstories: Toward a substantive grounded theory inquiry. ProQuestinformation 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
REFERENCESDelgado, R. and J. Stefanic. (Ed.). (2000). Critical race theory: The cuttingedge. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Delpit, L.D. (1988). The silenced dialogue: Power and pedagogy in educatingother people’s children. http://rpp.english.ucsb.edu/research/race-class-and-pedagogy/delpit-lisa Harvard Educational Review. RetrievedSeptember 19, 2007, fromEchols, C. (2007). Challenges facing black American principals: Aconversation about coping. National Council of Professors of EducationalAdministration. Retrieved July 3, 2007, from:http://cnx.org/content/m13821/latest/Fraenkel J. R. & Wallen, N. E., (2006). How to design and evaluate research ineducation. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies.
REFERENCESKerka, S. (1998). Career development and gender, race, and class. ERICClearinghouse 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: adissertation. Prairie View, TX: Prairie View A&M University.Manuel, M. A. & Slate, J. R. (2003). Hispanic female superintendents inAmerica: A profile. Retrieved June 23, 2007, fromwww.advancingwomen.comManuel, M. A. & Slate, J. R. (2003). Hispanic female superintendents inAmerica: A profile. Retrieved June 23, 2007, fromwww.advancingwomen.comMiles, M. B. & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis. ThousandOaks, CA: Sage Publications04/30/13 42
REFERENCESTexas Education Agency (2007). Retrieved November 11, 2007, from TexasEducation Agency Website: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/Townsell, R. & Kritsonis, W. A. (2006). National insight: A look at synnoetics inone African American female’s journey to the principalship. DoctoralForum: National Journal for Publishing and Mentoring Doctoral Students,3(1), 1-10 Retrieved July 3, 2007, from http://www.nationalforum.cTurner, C. T. (2004). Voices of four African American and European Americanfemale principals and their leadership styles in a recognized urban schooldistrict Unpublished dissertation, Texas A & M University, College Station,TX.Whitener, L., Jen, J., & Kassel, K. (2004). Progress and partnerships in adynamic America. Retrieved July 1, 2007, fromhttp://www.ers.usda.gov/amberwaves/february04/features/ blackhistory04/30/13 43
44“I’m wide awake and full of fun, scared to death, but I won’t run!”Grandpa Ethridge Townsell 1890-1985Thank You!"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not onyour own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, andHe shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).