Color, capital, and the climb to the headship: The impact of social capital on people of color when applying to become a head of an independent school

2012 2012

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Abstract (summary)

The literature on social networks, homophily, and educational backgrounds indicates that people of color have less access to the social capital that would be necessary to be considered for the position of head of an independent school in the United States. Furthermore, research indicates that people of color receive decreased returns on their social capital as compared to whites. Therefore, it can be argued that people of color need more social capital than whites when it comes to career mobility. This becomes important given the fact that nearly 70% of heads of school will retire within the next decade and there is a push for a greater representation of people of color in this position. This study used a mixed-methods approach to examine the social capital held by people of color who obtained their first headship in an independent school between July 2006 and July 2011. The data from the study shows that there is a significant statistical difference in the percentage of recently appointed heads of color who are alumni of independent schools and who have previously served as an assistant head of school versus their white counterparts. Furthermore, there is a greater percentage of heads of color who are alumni of a selective graduate program and who hold, or are currently completing, a terminal degree. Lastly, heads of color reported that they found it important, yet difficult, to develop relationships with the educational search firms who often serve as the gatekeeper to these coveted head of school positions. The results of this study give independent schools the framework needed to move beyond the criteria and approaches that were used in the past to identify viable heads of school candidates.

Indexing (details)

Educational leadership;
School administration;
Ethnic studies
0449: Educational leadership
0514: School administration
0631: Ethnic studies
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Education; Career mobility; Homophily; Independent school; People of color; Social capital; Social network
Color, capital, and the climb to the headship: The impact of social capital on people of color when applying to become a head of an independent school
Brown, Ara Carlos
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 74/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Kuriloff, Peter
Committee member
Ball, Earl; Kane, Pearl Rock; Lytle, James H.
University of Pennsylvania
Educational and Organizational Leadership
University location
United States -- Pennsylvania
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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