Award Date

December 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Christine Clark

Second Committee Member

Norma Marrun

Third Committee Member

Iesha Jackson

Fourth Committee Member

Anita Revilla

Number of Pages



This culturally relevant qualitative examination of the leadership of Black women educational leaders (BWEL) committed to advancing a social justice leadership agenda within the contested spaces (Stovall, 2004) comprising United States (U.S.) P-12 schools, employs an African centered emancipatory methodology (Kershaw, 1990, 1992; Tillman, 2002), situated in a conceptual framework grounded in the research on applied critical leadership (Santamaria, 2013). It examines, highlights, celebrates, and makes transparent, the unique leadership of BWEL. Engaged to rebuke the silencing and marginalization of women educational leaders of color in the educational leadership discourse, this study bridges engages a multiple case study approach, phenomenological analysis, and participatory orientation to better understand how eight complexly diverse BWEL leverage positive aspects of their multicultural perspectives and subjectivities to respond to equity challenges linked to educational inequality for HMMS, while simultaneously navigating 21st century school reform policies and practices situated in white privilege, power, and anti-black oppression. This study also opens up brave liberatory space for participating BWEL to engage in a recursive cycle of critical reflection, dialogue, problem-posing, and action on the site-based equity challenges they face within their respective leadership spaces in real-time, filling an important gap in the educational leadership research. Specifically, it responds to calls for more constructive models of social justice leadership praxis centered in the voices and experiences of those engaging the work in communities confronting the equity challenges of our time, thereby comprising research and theory in action, and provoking a necessary dialogue on what it means to lead for social justice. Having implications for how the field might reimagine and reconstruct educational leadership, theory and development, this research bridged critical race and critical multicultural education theories to the discourses in educational leadership, birthing emergent themes for an alternate and culturally-centered approach to leadership I call critically relevant transformative multicultural leadership or CR-TML. This study has import for practicing educational leaders, those who develop educational leaders, legislators and policy makers impacting the work of educational leaders, and anyone with an interest in educational leadership for social justice.


applied critical leadership; Black women; critical race theory; educational leadership; multicultural education; social justice


African American Studies | Educational Leadership | Gender and Sexuality | Race and Ethnicity | Women's Studies

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit