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

Brydon-Miller, Mary

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Fink, Gianina

Committee Member

Sheffield, Ron

Committee Member

Stevens, Douglas

Author's Keywords

LGBTQ+; educational leadership; autoethnography; leadership; queer theory; belonging


This study is an autoethnography written in the form of layered accounts with a theoretical framework of queer theory. It was based on my journey as an LGBTQ+ individual and educational leader. The purpose of this study was to utilize my experiences as an LGBTQ+ educational leader to investigate the conditions that supported and limited my self-efficacy as an LGBTQ+ educational leader. Furthermore, this study investigated what things my experiences could teach us about building an affirmative LGBTQ+ leadership paradigm. My autoethnography was written as three significant stages of my life. The first stage was my experience with education as a student. The second stage was my early experience as an educator. And the third stage was my experiences as an openly LGBTQ+ educational leader. For each stage, there were three distinct layers. Layer one consisted of my perception and memories of my lived experiences. Layer two consisted of other people’s perceptions of my lived experiences. And layer three consisted of relevant literature being juxtaposed with my experiences. Throughout the study, three areas help to frame the autoethnography and better explain what is happening with this phenomenon in terms of supporting and/or limiting my self-efficacy as an LGBTQ+ educational leader. These areas are belonging, identity development, and the reciprocal interactions between people and their environments. Themes of living my authentic self, belonging to a community where I can freely express myself, and embracing my identity through changes or difficult situations are present throughout the data. From my experiences as illustrated in my autoethnography, conclusions are drawn. These are that as an LGBTQ+ educational leader, I must have a sense of belonging with a group of people that support my true identity. My identity development took place over time and is still evolving to this day. Additionally, my experiences, environments, and reflection on those things helped and continue to help shape me into the person I have become. Further research is needed to explore others in the LGBTQ+ educational leaders’ community and other aspects of this phenomenon.