Date of Award

Summer 8-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Educational Leadership

Committee Director

Karen Sanzo

Committee Member

Petros Katsiouloudis

Committee Member

Rachel White


A wealth of research supports the positive impact minority teachers have on all students, but especially minority students. Benefits include an increase in academic achievement, an increase in educational engagement, and an overall sense of self-efficacy and autonomy. Unfortunately minority teachers and teachers of color are significantly underrepresented in the United States teaching workforce compared to their White counterparts. Challenges for diversifying the teaching workforce include historical factors of racism and suppression, the Whiteness of educator preparation programs as the prevailing ideology, and the presence of toxic work environment conditions during field placements and employment. While many historical and contemporary factors regarding recruitment and retention have been investigated, the perspectives from those individuals primarily responsible for recruitment and hiring are missing from the literature. This study investigated the perspectives of human resource officers from small-rural school divisions in a middle Atlantic state, and explored how and to what extent their recruitment and hiring practices support a diverse teaching workforce.

The methods used to complete the study incorporated a phenomenological qualitative design utilizing a semi-structured interview format. The participant recruitment was based on the specific criteria of human resource officers who are employed and serve in divisions identified as rural. Data collected through the interviews were coded, analyzed, and clustered into themes using phenomenological reduction and bracketing. Several themes emerged from the data analysis: participant pathway to the position of HRO, division internal structures and processes for recruitment and hiring, characteristics prioritized when selecting and hiring candidates, barriers and successful strategies identified for recruitment and hiring diverse candidates, and strategies and initiatives identified as needed in order to increase diversity within schools. The overall findings were synthesized utilizing the Critical Race Theory, with a predominant focus on counter-storytelling and permanence of racism. An analysis of the interview testimonies by participant’s race reveal several important and distinct themes which provide a unique, culturally relevant perspective: the overall importance of diversity, the significance of diversity recruiting diversity, and the cultural differences in interactions between administrators and diverse teachers. In addition, the permanence of racism was a common thread revealed through all of the interviews where multiple examples were provided of everyday racism, “antiracist” racism, and everyday racism.


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