Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type




This transcendental phenomenological study explored the lived experiences of Black women leaders as education policymakers to understand the essence of their journey to leadership positions and the impetus behind their decision-making. Despite progress, Black women remain marginalized and underrepresented in policymaking leadership roles and decision-making spaces (Griffin et. al, 2013). They face challenges that are intersectional like gender and race. My research question was what are the lived experiences of Black women education policymakers and how do these experiences impact their decision-making? While employing a transcendental phenomenological approach, I acknowledged my biases through reflexivity and bracketed them while also adhering to ethical considerations, including informed consent and confidentiality. Ten in-depth interviews were conducted with Black women policymakers, including school district administrators, local and state government officials, and education policymakers. The analyzed data used Moustakas’ (1994) approach with a modification of van Kaam’s method to identify the codes, themes, and the essence of the phenomenon. This study examined how gender and race shaped Black women's policymaking decisions and leadership style in educational spaces which is an understudied area. The study centered the participants' perspectives, voices, and lived experiences on this phenomenon. The key findings of the study yielded five themes. My recommendations highlighted the importance of perseverance, mentorship, sponsorship, exposure, education, and support (Arthurton and Farahani, 2018; Hewlett, 2013). Their lived experiences proffered treasured insights for aspiring Black women leaders. Keywords: Black, women, gender, race, educational leadership, intersectionality, leadership style, policymaker, transcendental phenomenology



Committee Chair

Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell

Available for download on Saturday, March 28, 2026