Date of Award


Degree Name

Education Specialist


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Louann Bierlein Palmer, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Brett Geier, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Darice Balizan, Ed.D.


Black male educator, critical race theory, diversity, New Mexico, racism, underrepresentation


Increasing the educational profession's racial, gender, and ethnic diversification ensures the intentionality and equity of having more Black male educators serve as role models in U.S. schools. There is a need to understand better the journey and experiences of Black male educators, wherefore greater grassroots recruitment and retention efforts can be implemented to support Black men and young Black males who may aspire to become educators. Research that captures the experiences of Black male youth and educators as they navigate teaching and learning in predominately White educational systems may promote lines of inquiry for further research and intentional dialogue for transformative diversity, social equity, equality, inclusion, and belonging for Black males in the educational workforce. Describing the possible root causes for the lack of diversity among Black male educators equips PK-12 school districts, teacher preparation programs, colleges, and universities with a critical race lens and tools to address the racial inequities within the teaching profession.

The primary significance of this specialist project was to understand the factors affecting Black male underrepresentation in the educational field in New Mexico. This phenomenological research gave voice to Black male educators' experience in New Mexico through their individual stories and carefully articulated their personal experiences. Educational research must expand the scope of this specialist project to account for the societal, cultural, and institutional biases and barriers that adversely impact diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for Black male educators.

These individual stories of Black male educators may provide assistance and encouragement for many other Black males to navigate teaching and to learn in our PK-12 schools and interrupt systems that have historically marginalized, oppressed, and failed people of color in this country. Simply hearing or reading that other Black men have had successful teaching experiences in White, suburban settings may build the confidence of Black boys and Black men who may be interested in becoming teachers. The data gathered in this specialist project spoke to the unique perceptions and experiences of Black male educators as attributed to their race and gender in education. This specialist project intends to expand the community dialogue on why Black males and Black male educators are an important demographic in publicly funded PK-12 schools. More importantly, this specialist project can inform policymakers and school districts, colleges, and universities as they engage in policy decisions, strategies, and practices in teaching and recruiting to ensure Black men and young Black males receive adequate resources and equitable support during their educational journeys, PK-20 and beyond.

The results of these specialist project interviews revealed that while the participants are on continuous journeys in the pursuit of healing and liberation from their lived experiences, hope is the constant that inspires them to persist in their journey as Black male educators. This specialist project is a testament to the courageous four Black male educators who continue to serve and represent their communities as Black men. The specialist project presents a picture of a cycle that will continue unless it is stopped. As noted in this specialist project’s first sentence in the literature review, Du Bois (1903) once asked, “How does it feel to be a problem?” Black boys and men have been positioned in U.S. society as problems to be fixed, subsequently depriving them of their humanity (Warren, 2020). It has been debated that the American educational system is broken. A better question asked: Is it broken, or is it working as it was intended to operate? Du Bois (1903) predicted that the color line would be the greatest problem faced by Americans in the twentieth century, and he was correct. Historical analysis suggests that the problems in Black education are not unfamiliar problems but the same problems that Blacks have had to overcome for centuries. Schools remain more separate and unequal than ever.

Black males in this specialist project understood the ways and methods by which their various school institutions have failed them. The Black male participants in this specialist project articulated extremely well what needs to be done to address the inequities Black children face. This specialist project allowed Black male educators to lead the cause of dismantling anti-Black racism in New Mexico schools. This specialist project empowered Black male educators as contributors and disseminators of knowledge. The interviews with all four participants were cataloged with every expression, ranging from words of affirmation and encouragement, to tears of sadness, to laughter and tears of joy. The experience of seeing Black men share their vulnerabilities with grace to preserve and protect the future of Black children was beautiful.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access