Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Sheryl Cowart-Moss

Second Advisor

Dr. Nicholas Sauers

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan Olgetree


The purpose of this study was to examine how Black school leaders understand double consciousness and discipline in America and in the schools they lead. The following research questions guided this study: (1) How have Black school leaders experienced discipline as Black students? (2) How have Black school leaders experienced double consciousness in their personal and professional lives? (3) What are the different perspectives that Black school leaders hold regarding their disciplinary practices of Black students? This arts-based phenomenology explored five Black school leaders’ perspectives of disciplining Black students in an urban public school district in the Southeastern United States. Data gathered from participants’ semistructured interviews, their critical responses to a poem, and an analysis of the school district's student code of conduct were crystallized to construct new understanding of the phenomenon of being a Black school leader responsible for disciplining Black students. Overall themes that emerged were expressed metaphorically through three African proverbs, (1) “It takes a village to raise a child” (2) “The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth” and (3) “The sun does not forget the village just because it is small.'' Findings were shared structurally and then poetically in a liberating manner that engenders an appreciation for creative writing and counter-narratives. Black school leaders reiterated the importance of increasing parent and community engagement, building staff’s cultural competence, strengthening Black students’ sense of belonging, and illuminating anti-Black practices embedded in various aspects of schooling. Recommendations for school practice and policy included access to professional development that challenges biases, increased educator critical self-reflection, and a focus on implementing intentional policies that promote discussion and advocacy around social justice issues.


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