Education Doctorate

Year Approved


First Advisor

Paulson, Craig


The purposes of this qualitative study were to (a) identify leadership characteristics of female African American principals at successful Turnaround Arts schools and (b) explore the leadership factors that allowed these principals to improve academic and behavioral outcomes among students. The theories applied in the study were self-efficacy, transformational leadership theory, and culturally sensitive educational leadership theory. Using a sample of four African American female principals drawn through convenience sampling and a one-on-one interview format, it was found that (a) there are specific orientations among African American female principals that are shared, (b) these orientations have a positive impact on both academic and behavioral outcomes among students, and (c) these orientations can be understood in terms of race- and gender-informed leadership. Specifically, the shared leadership characteristics identified in the study were (a) servant leadership, (b) leadership by example, (c) strength / commitment, (d) othermothering, (e) respectful communication and interaction, (f) remembering / applying roots, and (g) goal-driven leadership. These characteristics, and their usefulness in Turnaround Arts schools in particular, suggest the importance of developing and disseminating race- and gender-informed leadership approaches among African American female principals in predominantly African American schools.

Degree Name

Education Doctorate

Document Type

Doctoral dissertation