Term of Award

Fall 2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (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.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Abebayehu Tekleselassie

Committee Member 1

Meca Williams

Committee Member 2

Linda Arthur


The purpose of the present study was to understand why women with leadership certification do not seek formal administrative roles. More specifically, the study examined why women with leadership certification choose to pursue a program in administrative preparation; assessed the reasons certified women educators are not moving into formal administrative roles; and identified conditions and structural support systems that these women need in order to help them transition to formal administrative roles. In order to answer the study's major questions, the researcher employed a qualitative research approach with thematic analysis as a major strategy. The researcher then conducted an in-depth interview with ten educators who obtained leadership certification but are currently in teaching positions. The study's findings largely converge with those of other researchers that suggest that the glass ceiling concept regarding female advancement has diminished; however, there are numerous factors which impact women's decisions to pursue or accept formal administrative roles. The women who participated in this study found leadership programs to be doable while working and raising a family because many of the programs were offered at a local or convenient site. Time, family obligations, isolation, stress, travel, student discipline issues, lack of role models, paperwork, love for teaching, and politics were cited as major reasons why women do not move into administrative positions. The results of this study also indicate that districts often lack formal structures to assist individuals who desire to move into administrative positions. The study was unique in the sense that women are consistently pursuing leadership certification, but the themes that emerged from the participants' interviews are decisive factors as to whether or not they will enter into a formal administrative role. Not only are the results of this study valuable to women interested in leadership positions, but they are also very beneficial to school districts as they seek to fill administrative vacancies. Based on the data, school districts are presented with ideas of how to possibly restructure leadership positions in order to make them more attractive and doable for those who also desire to preserve their family structure. While providing opportunities for interested personnel to transition from the classroom into leadership positions is important, the establishment of support systems to ensure success for those who have moved into leadership positions is of equal importance. These are key components that are often lacking for aspiring leaders. Due to their convenience, on-line courses and satellite campuses are major attractions for individuals who long to pursue leadership certification. This study provided recommendations for school districts and universities as they seek to promote women's advancement in educational leadership.

Research Data and Supplementary Material