Term of Award

Winter 2013

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Dr. Daniel Calhoun

Committee Member 1

Dr. James Green

Committee Member 2

Dr. Brenda Marina


The number of women superintendents working in Georgia public schools exceeds the national average, but unfortunately, when compared to the number of men in the same position, women are not as well represented. This gap between female and male superintendents, and the reasons why this disparity exist, has been the subject of many research studies. One possible explanation for this phenomenon is a lack of mentoring for women superintendents.

This descriptive mixed methods study gathered both quantitative and qualitative data on the mentoring experiences of women superintendents in Georgia. The quantitative participants in this study included 39 women superintendent in Georgia. In addition, for the qualitative portion of the study, eight female superintendents were purposefully selected from the group to take part in individual interviews.

Overall findings revealed women superintendents in Georgia had positive mentoring experiences that benefitted them in their role. Positive mentoring experiences included establishing a good relationship and support system, having a female mentor, and employing both formal and informal mentoring. The majority of the participants served in small, rural school districts and their mentors were from similar demographics. Surveyed participants indicated most of them had a male mentor and the interviewed candidates reflected four had male mentors and four had female. Interviews further concluded women superintendents in Georgia benefitted from male mentors; however, they preferred females that could relate to their identities and specific gender challenges.

The top three effective knowledge-based elements noted as important from both the survey and interviews were developing school board relations, personnel, and budget. Findings from the interviews revealed social-emotional based effective elements for female superintendents included a mentor who listens and supports. Data obtained also indicated that mentoring could encourage other females to enter the superintendency by building the mentees confidence and increasing their success.