Term of Award

Spring 2007

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Meta Harris

Committee Member 1

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 2

F. Erik Brooks

Abstract

This inquiry explores the career pathway, career barriers and personal and professional experiences of Mrs. Beauty Poole Baldwin, the first, African-American female school superintendent in the state of Georgia. This study emerged from the discovery of limited research on African-American female school superintendents in the United States. I video recorded an in-depth interview with Mrs. Beauty Poole Baldwin, Georgia's first African-American female superintendent. The purpose of this inquiry was to gain information from Mrs. Baldwin about career strategies that she used throughout her professional career, and recommendations from her, to other African-American women aspiring to become educational leaders. Mrs. Baldwin's experiences provided several recommendations in the field of educational leadership. Issues regarding interpersonal relationships in the community and workplace, securing a mentor, educational preparedness of educators, work ethics and career decision making strategies were discovered through the in-depth interview. The relevance of the findings reported, surpass gender and race, and emerge as information useful for all educators and aspiring educational leaders. The in-depth interview was video-recorded to provide the opportunity for a thorough analysis of the data. The video recording allowed me to refer back to the original data for clarification, and to capture the essence in which Mrs. Baldwin shared her story. Mrs. Beauty Baldwin was also available for additional clarification beyond the video-recording, by way of telephone or electronic communication. The ability to revisit the research participant, and to have open access to review the video-recorded interview, were critical to the process of securing accurate historical data regarding the development of how the first black woman superintendent in the state of Georgia advanced to her position. Mrs. Baldwin became the superintendent of the Buford City School District in Gwinnett County, Georgia on February 14, 1984. Her tenure as superintendent lasted for ten years. The life of Beauty Baldwin is a testament to the possibility of what can be accomplished for African-American women educators and educators at-large.

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