Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Cynthia Dillard

Second Advisor

Charisse Cowan Pitre

Third Advisor

Manivong Ratts


Black women are too often at the assault of policies that inflict harm and often forced to seek legal redress after exhausting all nonlegal avenues available that are supposed to ensure that learning occurs in harm-free spaces (Ward, Hardaway, and Njoku, 2022). The examination of the place and work of spirituality, reflection, and the power of remembering (Dillard, 2019) is explored through narratives of Black women, highlighting two case studies of educators from perspectives within private and public institutions.

A need exists to explore and describe the experiences of Black women teacher-leaders as they engage with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and explore mindfulness training as a tool to support students' and leaders' emotional capacities while stretching cognitive experiences. This study investigated the use of mindfulness practice to assist in deepening awareness as a tool to navigate and support DEI habits. Framing the study within a qualitative lens focuses individual perspectives on how mindfulness practices shape their awareness of the self and others, as well as their pedagogical lens. Three findings emerged. First, the teachers engaged in a pause and pivot as a spiritual armor to center and feel whole in their school settings. Second, the teachers found an enhanced awareness after mindfulness practice that allowed for clarity and groundedness in their decision-making as teachers. And lastly, the teachers acknowledged an identified acceptance of self in the present moment, assisting with self-inquiry and further understanding. Implications suggest mindfulness aids in the ability to look beyond one’s self to a higher power for fortification, demonstrating useful for students developing their identities, for teachers’ awareness that it’s not the title they hold but the convictions they have that gives the agency to step into their leadership in the classroom.