Term of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


College of Education

Committee Chair

Paul Brinson

Committee Member 1

Meca Williams-Johnson

Committee Member 2

Elise Cain


This qualitative case study explored the pathways, barriers, and advancement strategies of female superintendents in Georgia. The problem that the study addressed was examining the gender disparity in the superintendency. The purpose of this study was to explore the leadership journey of female superintendents who served in P-12 public education systems in Georgia for the 2021-2022 school year. The researcher created and pilot-tested a semi-structured interview protocol to collect data for the study. Study participants included five current female superintendents in Georgia.

Findings revealed that female leaders are grossly underrepresented in the superintendent role. Graduate degrees and terminal degrees in education are commonalities for female leaders who aspire to the superintendency. Additionally, teaching in the classroom, building leadership, and central office leadership is essential for women who aspire to the superintendency. Family obligations present challenges, however, family support is an asset to those female leaders that aspire to the superintendency. Lastly, barriers are a part of the leadership journey, as the superintendency is a male-dominated position. Despite the barriers, the positive experiences along the journey substantially outweigh the negative experiences.

Research Data and Supplementary Material