An analysis of effective and experienced African-American male principal retention in a large suburban/urban school district

Theo L Cramer, University of Pennsylvania


Many large urban school districts contend with many of the same challenges. Such districts are required to address (a) the needs of disproportionately more students from low-income families, (b) low student achievement, (c) high staff mobility rates, (d) fewer resources, and (e) significantly more accountability. Despite those challenges, a large percentage of the African American male principals in this study elected to remain in this large suburban/urban school district. Therefore, studying the reason why they remain is important. According to Lortie (2009), there are significant benefits to researching the role of the principal given that the principal’s position is central to the functioning of a school. The purpose of this study was to understand why African-American male principals with five or more years of experience and who earn effective or highly effective evaluations have elected to remain in the role of principal in this school district. This study is important given the dearth of males of color in the field of education. The results of this study will help provide this district and other districts with valuable information pertaining to why African American male principals continue working in such a district. Knowing the motivating factors causing these principals to stay is important. This qualitative study explores the experiences of veteran and effective African American male principals through in-depth interviews. Experienced and effective African-American male principals are in many ways coveted by school systems given that there is a lack of such candidates. Other districts around the country that struggle to attract and retain experienced and effective educators of color may be able to gain insight from this study and, thereby, be able to replicate this district’s practices with recruiting and retaining male principals of color. It is important to study school districts where people of color are recruited and retained so that we can model their successes (MaGee, 2016). This study provides a model of African American male principals’ success in a suburban/urban school setting.

Subject Area

Educational leadership

Recommended Citation

Cramer, Theo L, "An analysis of effective and experienced African-American male principal retention in a large suburban/urban school district" (2016). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI10242068.