Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Van E. Cooley


This study is a mixed-method design focusing on ten White and ten non-White elementary principals working in urban areas. The qualitative methodology uses interviews and observations to examine how principals conceptualize the student achievement gaps and through what practices do they attempt to remedy the condition. The quantitative data resulted from the Quick Discrimination Index and relied on descriptive statistics. The primary audience for this study includes PK-12 public school administrators, particularly those in urban high-diversity, high-achieving schools.

The investigation (1) examined cultural differences between White and non-White administrators and their student constituency in terms of ethnicity and language use, (2) socioeconomic status, as well as (3) the present climate of academic accountability for all student groups. It also emphasized (4) the importance of understanding the interaction of the dimensions of school leadership and the academic outcomes of all students. Emerging themes were established by a 70% repetition response rate. Collective themes included: district diversity training, community involvement, literacy, curriculum alignment, team building, role of data and setting high student expectations. White administrators focused on the role of data, best practices, and curriculum alignment. Non-White administrators centered on relationship building, community involvement and literacy.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access