Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Sheryl Cowart Moss, PhD

Second Advisor

Kristina Brezicha, PhD

Third Advisor

Susan Ogletree, PhD


The picture of six-year-old Ruby Bridges and her mom bravely leaving her school flanked by the U.S. Marshals amidst a torrent of fear and hate unleashes an equal surge of heartbreak and anger in me as a mother and school leader. Unfortunately, Black children in this country continue to experience marginalization in many schools. Research suggests that Black women as mothers and school leaders support Black children in ways that often go acknowledged (Cooper, 2009; Lomotey, 2019). This approach employed by Black women occurs because of their intersectional experiences as women, mothers, and school leaders. This hermeneutical phenomenology aims to unpack these lived experiences and further discover how their experiences as mothers and leaders impacted the ways they support Black children.

The journeys of four Black women were explored through three semi-structured interviews and photo elicitation, in which the participants selected and shared a photograph that best illustrated their lived experiences of caring for and leading Black children. As a hermeneutic study, my experiences as a Black woman, mother, and school leader to Black children along with the texts from my participants were analyzed using the hermeneutic circle. This involved an iterative process of enhancing my understanding of the phenomenon by comparing the individual parts of the experience to the whole with new and deeper understanding of each cycle. Findings from this study reiterated previous research that highlighted the ways that Black women serve as othermothers and advocate for Black children. However, a simultaneous concern that emerged from the study is the toll this intersectionality has on these women. Insight into their experiences may lead to a deeper understanding of how to connect with Black children and families and support a group of women who offer significant support to students, parents, and staff.


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