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ERIC Number: ED526927
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 238
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-8076-8
The Space between: Women Teachers as Leaders
Podjasek, Heidi L.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Aurora University
This qualitative, phenomenological study focused on listening to the voices of women teacher leaders regarding their leadership experiences within one elementary school. The question guiding this dissertation was "How do women elementary school teacher leaders perceive leadership?" Within the stories of the participants, two essential theme clusters emerged: "power-over" leadership and "power-with" leadership. The concept of power-over leadership described the experiences of the teacher leaders as they attempted to negotiate the dominant leadership style of the building administrator. This leadership style indicated that the school is structured as a traditional hierarchy, with one having power over many. Within this culture, teachers were dependent upon the administration for any type of bestowed leadership. Administrative actions within "power-over" leadership were found to be the following: using administrative power to penalize, principal chooses leaders, and showing favoritism. This "power-over" leadership had a profound impact upon the relationships that women teachers had with their peers. Because peers bought into the paradigm of "power-over" leadership, teacher leaders experienced resistance and conflict in their relationships with peers. The second essential theme cluster, "power-with" leadership, reflects the needs of these women teachers. The participants identified "connection" as a critical need. In finding this connection, the women teachers in this study desired a culture in which they worked together as a team of teachers as leaders, leadership reflected shared beliefs and a common purpose, and the classroom was recognized as a site for leadership. It is within this framework that women teachers stated that they were able to lead in the ways reflective of "power-with" leadership. "Power-with" leadership actions were found to be leading with intention, supporting others, and nurturing leadership by many. Ultimately, the participants were caught in "the space between" what is and what could be for their leadership. Their desire for "power-with" leadership was frustrated by the "power-over" leadership that reflected the norm within their building. This study has implications for the design of schools that would allow women teacher's leadership voices to be heard. [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:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A