Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2023

Document Type

Dissertation (799 registration)

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Andrew Burklund


equity, rural schools, racial diversity, LGBTQIA+, equitable practices, school leadership


All students deserve an equitable education. Rampant misinformation has flooded the educational world, and society as a whole, turning the concept of “equity” into something that has become politically charged. However, all students are different, and differences must be acknowledged and celebrated to ensure all students receive the education they need to thrive both academically and socially.

The purpose of this study is to examine equitable practices in rural schools. Using a constructivist paradigm, a grounded theory research approach was utilized through collection of qualitative data to theorize why some rural schools are further advanced than other rural schools of similar size and location. Principals of rural schools were interviewed virtually to gather qualitative data specifically focusing on racial and gender equity that was then coded using grounded theory guidelines, utilizing initial coding, axial coding, and selective coding to answer research questions about principal perceptions of equity, equitable practices currently employed in schools, and deterrents or catalysts to equity work in rural schools. The qualitative data derived from the interviews helped the researcher develop The Theory of Racial and Gender Equity in Rural Schools: The implementation of equitable practices in rural schools is more strongly influenced by the community than by the school itself.



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