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Ordinary Theologies

Religio-spirituality and the Leadership of Black Female Principals


Arnold Noelle Witherspoon

Through narrative analysis, Ordinary Theologies highlights the intersectionality of gender, race, and religio-spirituality. It examines the relationship of past and current religio-spiritual leadership understandings that contest the status quo in U.S. schools. The historicity and analysis of gender and race contributes to reconceptualizing educational and leadership by emphasizing the voices of Black female leaders, voices that provide alternative understandings of schooling, stressing the importance of gendered and raced voices in administration, and questioning formulaic models of leadership and the research that reifies them.
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Conclusion Meditations and Musings


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Meditations and Musings

It was so important to me to do this research in a way that felt right to me (Lorde, 1984, p. 38) and to complete it in a way that honored the spirituality and culture of Black women. I also wanted to join my love of the literature by and about Black women and the artistic nature of narrative.

The research glitch is never far from exploring and narrating the lives of others. But I suppose I should call this the researcher’s glitch. My dissertation chair provided lots of glitches but caused me to think deeply about the work that I was trying to do. The glitch was also caused by the dissonance I experienced while listening to my participants’ stories and measuring them against my own. In telling the stories of these principals, I had the unique positionality of being both an insider and an outsider. I found myself extremely connected to this work because I had a relationship with each participant. Yet, I was also connected because of my own knowledge and experience as a Black female religio-spiritual principal. Although I had long abandoned the Baptist congregation of my childhood for a nondenominational one, I still identified with the tenets of my youth and how they shaped what I thought about faith as an adult. ← 233 | 234 →

At times I found myself struggling to connect with some of the stories my participants told...

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