Date of Award

Fall 1-5-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Janice Fournillier

Second Advisor

Dr. Joyce King

Third Advisor

Dr. Joseph Feinberg

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Ursula Thomas


Schools in the United States are re-segregating at an alarming rate under the guise of education reform and school choice initiatives (McNeal, 2009). In rural communities, charter schools have been found to function as public segregation academies, often replacing or supplementing the private schools established immediately following the Brown v. Board ruling (Chapman, 2018). This interpretive phenomenological study explores the experiences of female public school teachers in rural communities and clarifies how educational segregation, in the form of both private schools and charter schools, in rural communities in the southern United States affect these experiences. The research questions that guide this study are: 1) What are the experiences of female teachers who work in public schools in rural communities? and 2) How does educational segregation within the local community affect the experiences of female public-school teachers in rural districts? Data analysis took place through a hermeneutic circle approach, and the findings are presented in composite narratives. Results indicate that the experiences of female teachers who work in public schools in rural communities differ based upon their self-imposed identities as either "insiders" or "outsiders". Findings are discussed in terms of implications for education leaders, public school teachers, and community members in rural communities.


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