Term of Award

Summer 2002

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Michael D. Richardson

Committee Member 1

T. C. Chan

Committee Member 2

Lucindia Chance

Committee Member 3

Fred Page

Committee Member 4

Cathy S. Jording

Abstract

Although the number of women in educational administration has risen over the last decade, women continue to be underrepresented in the superintendency. Little research exists that focuses on the actual experiences of women superintendents. This study was a mixed-method design gathering quantitative and qualitative data of women public school superintendents. Thirty-one of thirty-four women superintendents in Georgia responded to the Questionnaire on Perceptions of Barriers and Strategies Impacting on Women Securing the Superintendency. No single barrier received an overall mean of 3.0 indicating there were no major barriers for the women seeking the superintendency. The barrier receiving the highest mean (2.87) was exclusion from informal socialization process of "Good Old Boy Network." On the other hand, 16 of 21 strategies received an overall mean of 3.0 or higher indicating successful strategies for women seeking the superintendency. The most effective strategy for success was obtaining the support of family (3.74). Six of the women supenntendents participated in semi-structured, in-depth interviews. Interviews yielded insight into the actual lived experiences of women superintendents. They were satisfied with their jobs, unanimously agreeing that they would make the same decision to seek the superintendency. Each of the women interviewed had strong support systems; five of the six named mentors. The women supenntendents articulated their focus on the children in their distncts. They defined power as collaboration and empowerment.

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