Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

C. Michael Robinson, Ed.D.

Second Supervisor

Loretta Quigley, Ed.D.


The purpose of this qualitative, descriptive phenomenological research study was to identify the level of critical consciousness of kindergarten through Grade 12 building leaders (principals and assistant principals) in suburban districts with graduation rates of 90% or above. The study also sought to understand the leaders’ predisposition toward social justice in an effort to redesign and implement educational structures that attend more holistically to a diverse student population. Through nine semi-structured interviews, reflection, and sharing, this study was able to gauge the participants’ existing levels of critical consciousness based on their past experiences. The data was coded and interpreted to better understand how the lived experiences of school leaders helped to develop and understand their own critical consciousness. The findings of the study confirmed that the development and understanding of one’s critical consciousness is a process and evolves over time based on changing lived experiences. A variety of strategies were utilized by the school leaders to reflect on their experiences to better understand their biases, values, beliefs, power, and privilege. The recommendations of this study include providing—not only school leaders—but all educators, the time and structure, through ongoing professional development, to consistently reflect on and process their experiences. College and university training programs for educational leadership may also consider a similar component to provide future leaders with the opportunity to reflect and learn from their lived experiences.

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