Term of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Linda M. Arthur

Committee Member 1

Barbara Mallory

Committee Member 2

Paul "Mac" Brinson

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences in the professional lives of female superintendents in Georgia to better understand the role of resilience when faced with adversity. The researcher utilized a mixed method design to determine the strategies employed by female superintendents to successfully overcome adversity and become more resilient. The experiences of female superintendents and strategies utilized in the position when faced with adversity were explored by administering a Leadership Resilience Profile questionnaire followed by in-depth interviews with five Georgia female superintendents. The questionnaire featured a rating scale to identify each participant's perception of individual resilience strengths as well as demographic data. Eighty percent of the participants indicated having held the position for five years or less, and ninety-two percent succeeded male superintendents. Four themes emerged from the women's stories during the interview phase. Female superintendents perceive themselves to be value-driven and exhibit perseverance by focusing on priorities until success is attained. Female superintendents persistently refuse to give up. Having the resources of a strong personal and professional support base to help during tough times is vital to the success of female superintendents. The female participants described a strong spiritual life which provided a source of strength during difficult times. Conclusions drawn from the study indicated that not only did the participants reveal resilience through the data collected on the Leadership Resilience Profile Questionnaire, but the follow-up interviews indicated that adversity remains inherent in the position and female superintendents in Georgia demonstrate resilience. Varied and numerous strategies were employed by each female which strengthened their ability to demonstrate resilience and be successful in Georgia's top-ranking leadership position.

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