NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED515467
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 138
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-7604-4
Factors Impacting the Advancement of Female Leaders to the Superintendency
Blanchard, Sally Utley
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Virginia
The position of the superintendency is a critical and influential one. It sets the strategic goals for teaching and learning for school divisions throughout the United States. It serves as a role model for future school leaders. The educational programs provided to students in public schools have a significant impact on the success of our youth. The questions guiding this study are: (1) What do successful female senior leaders believe are the factors affecting their career progression? (2) What are successful female leaders' perceptions of the factors impacting their "ascension" to leadership positions? (3) What are successful female senior leaders' perceptions of the barriers impacting their "ascension" to leadership positions? As we are in the midst of changing demographics with women and minorities representing 70% of the workforce entrants, and 34% of our workforce being non-Caucasian by 2010, our leaders will need to broaden approaches to modeling diversity at all levels of school administration. Additionally, as accountability continues to be a priority for the United States educational system, the best prepared and qualified candidates need to be our leaders. Current literature concerning senior female leaders indicates that they are highly qualified academically and possess a variety of administrative experience in public schools, yet they still hold a minority of leadership positions with education administration. With these qualifications, senior female leaders will need to be fully utilized in our school divisions. This is a qualitative study utilizing in-depths interviews with seven female leaders serving in positions directly reporting to superintendents in their respective school divisions. Vignettes of the interview participants provided detailed descriptions of each individual's perceptions of the factors and barriers impacting their career progression. Sixteen themes that emerged provided the framework of this study: Academic preparation, motivation, drive, personality, career experiences, professional memberships, career and life goal conflicts, self esteem issues, fear of failure, the impact of language, sponsors, mentors, gatekeepers, and family and spousal support. School leadership experiences and educational preparation of female administrators were analyzed according to descriptive characteristics of seated superintendents compared to those of the seven senior female leaders. The female leaders profiled in this study have the experience and education needed to obtain a superintendent's position, yet only one has been appointed to a leadership role. Two factors revealed during several of the interviews are the lack of self-esteem of these highly qualified leaders, and an internalization of oppression of women in our society. The most significant external barrier to promotion noted in the study include the hiring practices of school boards and search firms who continue to serve as gatekeepers to the role of superintendency. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A