Term of Award

Spring 2012

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

Brenda Marina

Committee Member 1

Tracyann Henry

Committee Member 2

Kenneth Clark

Abstract

As school districts struggle to find qualified superintendents to lead their systems to meet recent high-stakes accountability measures, it has been noted throughout history that few females attain this position, both nationally and in the state of Georgia. The organizational leadership behaviors of these administrators have been abundantly scrutinized in research; however, much of this research has been limited to the white male population. The primary purpose of this study was to describe to what extent female superintendents in Georgia exhibit leadership behaviors within Bolman and Deal's (2008) four organizational frames. A secondary purpose of this study was to create a demographic profile of female superintendents from the state of Georgia. This research was a mixed-methods study utilizing the Leadership Orientations Instrument-Self (Bolman & Deal,1990) survey data with demographic and open-ended questions (n=41) from female superintendents in the state. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze data from the survey and major themes from the open-ended questions were organized and described in narrative form. The findings suggested: (a) The female superintendents in this study described themselves as utilizing a multi-dimensional leadership orientation, with the highest scores on the human resource frame and the lowest scores on the political frame. (b) Significant relationships were found between age and average scores on the political frame, as well as age and average score on the symbolic frame. (c) Female superintendents in Georgia exhibited similar leadership behaviors in symbolic and structural frames. (d) The qualitative findings were similar to the quantitative results in that female superintendents in the state of Georgia reported strengths in the human resource frame, but weaknesses in political skills. (e) Female superintendents in the state of Georgia have similar demographic characteristics compared to the most recent national profile. (f) No significant correlation was found between the female superintendents' level of education and the four frames of leadership. These findings have implications for the preparation of female administrators seeking the superintendency and for boards of education seeking qualified candidates for superintendent positions.

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