Author ORCID Identifier


Document Type


Publication Date



There is an emergent body of scholarship about the specific ways in which Black women lead within the context of education. In the United States, women comprise three-quarters of the educational workforce. Yet, roughly four in five senior-level leaders in education are male. Although developments continue to be made, only very recently has significant advancement been made in what remains a historically male-dominated space. Black women represent the most educated group in today’s workforce; yet, they represent a small fraction of leaders who ascend above the ranks of mid-level management. In response to this, we were compelled to add to the existing research in this sphere. Our paper incorporates social justice leadership theory as a frame for the study of Black women in the context of educational leadership. Employing a hermeneutic phenomenology, we interviewed four Black women in educational leadership to examine the intersecting factors (i.e., race and gender) that impact these women’s ability to lead. Using in-depth, timed, semi-structured interviews, contributors reflected upon their unique experiences and perceptions as non-archetypal leaders. Participants’ recounted stories of resilience, community, struggle, and perseverance revealed the need for more US-based research specific to the intricate leadership journeys of Black women in education.


Author Accepted Manuscript version of an article published in:

Natasha N. Johnson & Janice B. Fournillier (2021) Intersectionality and leadership in context: Examining the intricate paths of four black women in educational leadership in the United States, International Journal of Leadership in Education,

Available for download on Wednesday, August 10, 2022