Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Roger C. Cleveland

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Second Advisor

Sherwood Thompson

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Third Advisor

Rose Skepple

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Primary and secondary schools across the nation are becoming increasingly heterogeneous, yet the teacher population remains homogenous. In fairness, this is not a new issue: At the turn of the century, Whites represented a significant aggregate of the teacher population: 73% in the inner city; 81% in suburban schools; 91% in small towns; and 98% in rural areas. The magnitude of this issue is significant since approximately 33% of schools in the U.S. are located in rural areas, which already struggle with recruiting and retaining teachers, much less African-American ones. In fact, Bireda and Chait (2011) found that over 40% of public schools lack a single African American teacher on staff.

The shortage of African American teachers can be traced back to the historic Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954. While recruitment initiatives have been somewhat productive, studies nonetheless reveal a "revolving door" whereby scores of teachers abandon their jobs before retirement. Attrition is the primary factor impacting retention, according to the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future. Retaining African American teachers is an essential part of narrowing this chasm.

As an effort to understand the causes of attrition and perseverance among African-American teachers, this study offers several qualitative interviews as part of an inductive, multiple-case study. The findings indicate that White superintendents are consciously or unconsciously supportive of the veils of oppression. Meanwhile, the principals and White faculty in these districts remain purposefully negligent of the needs and issues that African American teachers confront as co-cultural group members at predominantly White school districts.