Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, EDD

Committee Chair

Cumberland, Denise

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Powers, Debbie

Committee Member

Davis, Keith

Committee Member

Stevens, Douglas

Committee Member

Young, Lu

Author's Keywords

Critical race theory; racism and microaggressions; teacher shortage; motivations; barriers; typecast roles


As the nation’s high school student population becomes increasingly diverse, the declining number of minority teachers, particularly African American male teachers is becoming an area of concern. This instrumental case study of African American male high school teachers in the Fayette County Public School system in Lexington, Kentucky sought to identify the motivations for teaching, the barriers prior to and during teaching, as well as the roles these individuals are asked to fulfill in their schools. Using purposeful sampling, 10 individuals participated in semi-structured interviews aimed at providing insight to the three research questions related to motivations, barriers, and roles. Using Critical Race Theory as a theoretical framework, the interviews were transcribed and coded using both deductive and inductive coding to find emergent themes that would help to answer the research questions. The teachers’ sense of altruism served as a leading theme for their motivations while school and neighborhood pressures, awareness of minority status and isolation were found as some of the main barriers to pursuing a career as an educator. Traditional roles focused on minority students such as mentor and typecast roles, such as disciplinarian, were found as roles that may contribute to a teacher’s tenure as an educator. These themes served as a guide to inform the implications and recommendations pertaining to this research, which sought to find solutions such as programming and more intentional recruitment and retention efforts aimed specifically at African American males. A key finding from the Black male educators in this study is the importance of altruistic influencers who helped propel these men into education and their personal desire to be allies for their own students. By expanding the conversation on race and racism within the educational system, this research sought to expose the injustices that African American male teachers experience not only during their time in school, but later during their careers as educators. This research gave voice to a silenced minority and expanded on the need for further investigation into why the educational system is always asking, “Where are the Black men?”