Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Perceptions of barriers and support structures for female superintendents in the Pacific Northwest
by Schiele, Jennifer Ann Keating, Ed.D., Lewis and Clark College, 2012, 221; 3524329
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study addressed the following issues: (a) to identify support structures and barriers female superintendents in the Pacific Northwest face to access and maintain the position and (b) to compare and contrast the experiences with barriers and support structures for white women and women of color. This research contributes to the body of research involving the advancement of females as leaders in education at the level of school superintendent. In this research study the researcher focused on a small finite number of public school superintendents in the Pacific Northwest.

The study obtained in-depth perceptions and narratives by employing qualitative methodologies. The target population included eight female superintendents, four women of color and four white women. These eight women were selected from four different sizes of school districts, <2000, 2,000-8,000, 8,000-15,000, and >15,000.

Qualitative data analyses involved coding of interview responses to identify common themes and patterns shared by the female superintendents. Narratives were analyzed separately as well as jointly in order to identify emerging and opposing themes.

The underlying themes, revealed by this research, have implications for women considering the superintendency. White women and women of color both described self-imposed barriers and traditional gender bias as the barriers to the superintendency. They also revealed supportive family, encouragement by a mentor, networking, competence, and beliefs and values as support structures helping them to attain the superintendency.

Women who aspire to become a superintendent can use the information in this study to read about the experiences of women who attained the top leadership position in public schools and acquire advice that may lead to their future success.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Howser, Mike
Commitee: Favela, Alejandra, Flad, Betty
School: Lewis and Clark College
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Oregon
Source: DAI-A 74/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Womens studies
Keywords: Women superintendents
Publication Number: 3524329
ISBN: 978-1-267-58680-3
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