Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Walter L. Burt


This study examined the underrepresentation of African American (A/A) male teachers in three Midwestern school districts. The study sought to determine: (1) the perception of A/A teachers concerning their K-12 teaching experiences when disaggregated by the number of years of teaching, (2) their perception of why they went into teaching when disaggregated by the number of years of teaching, (3) their perception of the need for A/A male teachers, and (4) their perception of value and accomplishments as A/A male teachers in the classroom.

This study utilized a qualitative phenomenological design and was based upon Maslow’s (1970) hierarchy of needs and Herzberg, Mausner, and Snyderman’s (1959) motivation-hygiene theory. The conceptual framework was supported through the research literature of Moran, Woolfolk, and Hoy (2001), Kimbrough and Salomone (1993), Leong (1995), and Milner and Howard (2004), which focuses on the “motivational factors” leading to A/A males selecting teaching as a career.

Utilizing a qualitative interview design, individual interviews, along with a focus group session, 14 participants were identified, with 7 participants agreeing to participate in this study. The researcher utilized the NVivo 8 program to categorize the data and identify recurring themes as well as to assist in analyzing, shaping, and managing the data generated from this research study.

Findings in this study revealed that all participants agreed, regardless of their years of teaching, that there were not enough A/A males in K-12 education, that there was value in having A/A males as K-12 teachers, that they enjoyed sharing their experiences with their students, and that the level of pay served as a deterrent to A/A males going into the teaching field.

This study adds to the current body of literature by exposing additional motivational factors that influence A/A males to select teacher education as a career. Findings in this study may prove to be invaluable to teacher education programs and educational leaders as they redesign, promote, and seek ways to sustain A/A males in the teaching profession.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access