Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Ashish Nimbarte

Committee Co-Chair

Bhaskaran Gopalakrishnan

Committee Member

Hongwei Hsiao

Committee Member

Majid Jaridi

Committee Member

Xiaopeng Ning


This study examined the lived experiences of American Muslim principals who serve in public schools post-9/11 to determine whether global events, political discourse, and the media coverage of Islam and Muslims have affected their leadership and spirituality. The aim of the study was to allow researchers and educators to gain an understanding of the adversities that American Muslims principals have experienced post-9/11 and to determine how to address these adversities, particularly through decisions about educational policy and district leadership. A total of 14 American Muslim school leaders who work in public schools post-9/11 across the United States participated in the study, and a phenomenological methodology was used to direct the data collection and coding. Edelman's political spectacle theory served as the theoretical framework for the research. The findings yielded six themes of political climate, role of the media, inferior and foreign: being seen as the "other," unconscious fear, spirituality, and education and communication over spectacle. Further, collective guilt and social responsibility emerged as two additional findings. The research suggests that political spectacle and its effects have a large impact on the lives of American Muslim principals, particularly in regard to their leadership and spirituality.