|This qualitative study examined African American women as novice, veteran, and former district middle space leaders in K-12 school systems. The current research on African American women in district middle space leadership is minimal. This study brought forth the experiences and navigation of experiences of district middle space leadership by African American women. The central questions for this study were: How do African American women experience district middle space leadership in K-12 school systems? How do African American women navigate district middle space leadership in K-12 school systems?
The researcher employed life story interviewing and autoethnography. The study included four participants. One novice middle space leader (retained the position for three or less years). Two veteran middle space leaders (retained the position for four or more years). The final study participant was one former middle space leader (retained the position for a minimum of three years prior to leaving). The researcher’s autoethnographic accounts were included in the study as well. Participants and researcher gave descriptive accounts of their experiences and the navigation of experiences from Armstrong (2009) and Oshry (1993) middle space leadership framework: passage, challenges, location, tasks, roles, and mentoring relationships. The following perspective were derived from the study: (a) Intersection-Being African American and woman; (b) Visible Voicelessness; (c) Messenger in the Middle; and (d) Onliness and Loneliness of Solo Work.
The findings from this study added to K-12 district middle space literature. The study’s findings also contributed to the theory of Black feminist thought. There were three primary limitations in the study. The first, due to the varying district sizes, and resources, results of the study may or may not be applicable. Secondly, with limited participants, interpretation from this study may or may not be applicable to other African American women district middle space leaders. Finally, time constraints to obtain ample in-depth responses provided a limitation as well. Further research is recommended concerning African American women in district middle space leadership. African American women district middle space leaders without administrative certification is suggested as future research to add to existing middle space literature. Also, future research considering mentoring structures in K-12 school systems for African American women district middle space leaders is warranted.