Date of Conferral







Cheryl Keen


There is a need to increase high school graduation rates for African American students, decrease dropout rates, and narrow or close the achievement gap between African American students and White students. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to determine the perceptions of African American students who graduated from high school regarding the leadership of their African American principal. Delgado and Stefancic’s critical race theory and Bass’s transformational leadership constitute the conceptual framework for this study. Nine participants who graduated from high schools led by an African American principal were interviewed, and transcripts were analyzed using in vivo coding. The 5 themes that emerged from the analysis showed that the African American students perceived that African American principals should promote a positive school climate, facilitate a sense of belonging, be focused on education and goals, be trustworthy and confidential, and be available and involved. The race of the principal was also perceived as an asset. Findings from this study may lead stakeholders to a better understanding of roles and behaviors principals may implement, which may contribute to positive social change by helping to increase high school graduation rates of African American students.