Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Dr. Stephen Draper

Second Supervisor

Dr. Janice Kelly


This qualitative phenomenological study examines the professional experiences of eight principals who have undergone professional learning in race and racial equity in schools and have led public elementary schools serving at least 5% Black students for a minimum of 3 years. Through a phenomenological design, this study explores the phenomenon of equity leadership practices. Data from individual, semi-structured interviews were analyzed using descriptive phenomenology. The findings of the study suggest that trained principals are consciously making attempts to employ equity-focused leadership practices, albeit with limited success. They encounter several challenges and seek support from higher levels of leadership. This study provides valuable insights into how school leaders implement equity-focused leadership, highlighting both their notable successes and the persistent challenges they face. It also underscores the continued struggle to close the achievement gap for Black students. Although only eight individuals were interviewed, their comprehensive and passionate responses suggest that many lessons can be learned about ways to impact equitable access, participation, and outcomes (Brookover & Lezotte, 1981).

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