Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Early Childhood Education and Literacy Studies

Major Professor

James R. King, Ed.D.

Co-Major Professor

Roger Brindley, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Mary Alice Barksdale, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Larry Z. Leslie, Ph.D.


African-American educators, Disparate impact, Advanced credential, Mentoring, Phenomenology


Discourse and Disconnect: Black Teachers and the Quest for National Board Certification Paula J. Leftwich ABSTRACT Black teachers have been under-represented proportionate to their presence in the teaching population in both the application for and achievement of certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. This study sought to explore the possibility of a disconnect between the discourses of Black teachers and the discourses of the National Board Certification process. Further, it was designed to investigate the effectiveness of targeted mentoring strategies to increase the participation rate and achievement rate of Black teachers in this complex and lengthy process.

Using procedures for the definition and analysis of discourse outlined by Gee, the author dissected document-based and process-embedded data to define the discourse of accomplished teaching embodied in the National Board and its disseminated philosophy and process for identifying and awarding credentials to National Board Certified Teachers. Participant data was gathered using a qualitative research design and a heuristic phenomenological approach. Discourse information gleaned from participant-produced process documents and interview transcripts were analyzed using Gees methods. Field notes and recordings from direct observations were analyzed using Hycners approach for the interpretation of phenomenological data.

Deleuze and Guattaris rhizomatic analysis was applied to the overlaid, separate discourses. Specific areas of both congruence and disconnect were clearly identified. Participant checks and inter-rater reviews of data and confirmed the findings and validated the conclusions.

The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications for the findings for the National Board, potential candidates, and advocates for each.