School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Bunnie Claxton


African American, Black Feminist Thought, Superintendents, Female Superintendents, Leadership, Women Superintendents


Education | Educational Administration and Supervision


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe the experiences of African American women superintendents in North Carolina. The theory guiding this study was Collins’ black feminist thought, as it clarifies and calls attention to the analysis of ideas and experiences specific to African American women, which relates to African American women superintendents in North Carolina. The central question of the study is “How do African American women describe their lived experiences in superintendent positions in the state of North Carolina?” This qualitative phenomenological study included six current and/or past African American women North Carolina superintendents. Data were collected from semi-structured interviews, an online focus group, and a writing prompt providing advice to aspiring superintendents. Data analysis involved the coding of themes gleaned from interviews, an online focus group, writing prompts, and lived experiences shared by participants. The findings of this study suggest a number of preparation steps based on the review of the literature and the results of this study. Preparation, including diversifying learning opportunities and the acquisition of a doctorate degree, are recommended by the study. Other preparation suggestions urge women to get support systems and a mentor. Participants expressed the importance of participating in experiences that will provide exposure to the superintendency.