Date of Award


Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Karen Huchting

Second Advisor

William Perez

Third Advisor

Tonikiaa Orange


Little is known about how school leaders of color implement social justice leadership praxis within the urban public charter school context, especially amid a global pandemic and heightened racial injustice. This study aimed to better understand the phenomenon of being a social justice leader of color, specifically examining how these leaders implemented practices and policies aimed to minimize the marginalizing conditions within their school communities. The dissertation study was qualitative in nature and utilized a phenomenological framework to provide an in depth understanding of the policies, practices, and mindsets of nine school leaders of color (eight principals and one assistant principal). Approximately three, 90-minute semi-structured interviews were used to build rapport with participants and explore their responses so that they could reconstruct their experiences leading for social justice and make meaning from them. The findings were clear: school leaders for social justice engaged in practices that were student-centered, supportive of their staff, and involved community for insight, even amid socio-political challenges. With every decision they made, which was influenced by their lived experiences with oppression, they prioritized and considered the voices and experiences of those who were and are traditionally marginalized to ensure that systems centering Whiteness were not perpetuated within their schools.