Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education/Leadership in Urban Schools

First Advisor

Abiola Farinde-Wu

Second Advisor

Patricia Krueger-Henney

Third Advisor

Aaron Griffen


Pre-K–12 schooling in the United States has historically and systemically promoted ideas of Black inferiority while safeguarding the characteristics of white supremacy culture embedded in all aspects of the education system. The notion of white dominance is evident throughout studies, policies, and reports from district, state, and federal officials who have been tasked with closing the achievement gap but instead have assigned blame to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) students and families. An analysis of the history of U.S. public education reveals not a single achievement gap but multiple opportunity gaps that perpetuate the subjugation of Black students through educational injustice.

This study employed critical race theory to examine how a pre-K–5 elementary school community located in the northeastern United States prioritized antiracism and applied a multilayered approach to racial equity. Case study methodology was utilized to unpack the nonlinear and continual racial equity efforts of a school-based leadership team while capturing the school’s journey toward a culture of achievement for Black students. The study’s findings revealed that a multilayered approach to racial equity is collaborative, complex, and context-specific. The study also found that though intentional antiracism efforts grounded in an understanding that racism is pervasive in U.S. education contributed to growth, a school culture of achievement for Black students was not yet realized in this case.

Recommendations from this study may inform collaborative practices and processes that school-based leadership teams can leverage to prioritize racial equity and confront white supremacy within pre-K–12 education.