Leadership Studies Ed.D. Dissertations


Exploring Mentoring Relationships Between African American High School Males And African American Male Principals

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Patrick Pauken

Second Advisor

Judith Jackson May (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Mark Earley (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Erianne Weight (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Carnel Smith (Committee Member)


While mentoring has been promoted as the effective way to improve outcomes among at-risk students, there remain a number of problems for the mentoring of African American students. There has been a growing concern that too many African American students continue to underperform in high school. This has greatly jeopardized their chances of attending college. The primary problem is that studies indicate that African American at-risk students are best mentored by African American staff persons, especially African American principals, but there is a dearth of research on the subject. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the influence of African American male high school principal mentors on the behavior and self-esteem of African American male at-risk high school students. The study examined the perceptions and opinions of six subjects in a high school mentoring program in Detroit, Michigan using a portraiture research design. The six subjects included two African American male high school principals, two African American male at-risk high school students, and two African American male high school students who were not at-risk. The intent of the proposed study was to interview the subjects about their experience in the Mentoring Brother 2 Brother (MB2B) program to explore how relationships between African American high school principals and African American high school male students develop, as well as how principals influence the social behavior and self-esteem of the mentees. Overall, the findings of the study suggest that the mentoring relationships positively impacted the students. However, the findings of the study did not suggest that race was an overt component of the mentoring relationship, as none of the participants focused on the topic of race in the interviews.