Date of Award


Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Mary K. McCullough

Second Advisor

Bryant Keith Alexander

Third Advisor

Antonia Darder


This dissertation seeks to examine the obstacles and experiences of a Black female charter school leader using an Africentric approach to educating Black children, and ways in which social and material inequalities may have shaped her journey. A conceptual framework that blends African-centered pedagogy, African womanism, and transformational leadership is used to guide this qualitative autoethnographic study. Use of the autoethnographic method provides an opportunity to examine the relational dynamics of the experiences of this Black female charter school leader in the cultural context of the Black community and neoliberal education. Data analysis is captured from autobiographical storytelling within three key time periods or epochs of her 17-year experience starting, operating, and closing a charter school. Data analysis includes coding based on themes that emerged from the data collection process. Findings indicate how attempts to implement an African-centered approach to educating Black children in a DC charter school in the U.S. Eurocentric education model in the neoliberal era was compromised by neoliberal policies, particularly high-stakes testing, a history of separate and unequal education, the lack of support for African-centered education, and the lack of access to facilities. These findings also support the need to continue to examine how non-European children can be educated, not just schooled, in a manner that places them at the center of their learning, builds agency, and develops them into creative and critical thinkers and future builders.