The increasing number of women of color in organizational leadership positions within the US seems to indicate a societal appreciation for diversity. Yet recent studies show that African American women are more likely than other groups to feel the need to modify aspects of their personality in the workplace. While this and previous research has focused on a broad range of professions, there is a lack of discourse on how this manifests in the educational field. This chapter explores the extent to which African American women can be their authentic selves and still obtain and maintain educational leadership positions, particularly as K-12 principals and administrators. The topic is studied through a combination of firsthand accounts gleaned from interviews and round-table discussions with African American female school leaders, examination of data on organizational culture within schools led by African American women, as well as consideration for historical context. Ultimately, this work reveals a number of common threads in regards to the professional circumstances that might compel female African American school leaders to alter their personality, mannerisms, mode of expression, or even beliefs, and the strategies they have employed to address this and become successful when confronted with these challenges.
Nickens, R. and Washington, C. (2016), "Authenticity and the Female African American School Leader", Racially and Ethnically Diverse Women Leading Education: A Worldview (Advances in Educational Administration, Vol. 25), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 235-254. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-366020160000025014Download as .RIS
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