Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Tanetha Fisher, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Zorka Karanxha, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Karen Ramlackhan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brenda Walker, Ph.D., J.D.


Administration, Black special education teachers, Experience, Persistence, Policy, Race


There is a persistent shortage of qualified special education teachers in schools across the country. This issue is exacerbated by the need for special education teachers of color who can help serve the disproportionate number of minority students in schools. Over time, researchers and government entities, alike, have considered ways to increase the recruitment and retention efforts of Black teachers However, given the lack of investigation regarding the needs of Black teachers in special education and what encourages their persistence, efforts to increase representation have been unsuccessful. For this reason, using a qualitative methodology, the purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of successful Black teachers in special education who work with students with high incidence disabilities. Findings indicate, Black special education teachers confront enormous difficulties. Along with the usual pressures that special that special education teachers encounter, Black special education teachers also indicate that there is a lack of understanding among educators, leaders, and policy makers, which is made worse by racism’s overt and covert effects. To overcome these challenges, Black special education teachers leverage their strong relationships with peers to get through these obstacles and find solutions to difficult problems. By collecting stories from participants who meet this qualifying criterion and who serve in Florida’s K-12 public schools, this study provides insight regarding factors that show the persistence of Black teachers in special education.