Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Becoming visible: Necessary strategies of action utilized by female educators to gain access to formal leadership roles in independent school settings
by Feibelman, Susan L., Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2013, 216; 3592285
Abstract (Summary)

Similar to staffing patterns in public school systems, the majority of faculty employed in the 1,174 National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) member schools are women, suggesting that school leadership pipelines are filled with female faculty, along with middle- and senior-level administrators who demonstrate daily their executive leadership capacity. Yet women remain unable to achieve access to head of school leadership positions at a rate equal to their male colleagues. Utilizing qualitative research methods and the lens of post-structuralist feminist theory, this phenomenological study examines the gendered nature of leadership roles in independent schools and the ways this cultural phenomenon informs the strategies used by African American and White women seeking mentor-protégé relationships, networks of support, and sponsorship from "recognized" independent school leaders. Utilizing a feminist framework to examine the cultural context that informs women's leadership preparation (Olesen, 1994, 2003), semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 participants whose lived experience as independent school leaders and/or as executive search consultants for independent schools illuminated points of tension between settled and unsettled periods in the lives of aspiring women leaders and explored the strategies of action (Swindler, 1986) used to negotiate points of discursive disjunction (Chase, 1995, 2003). This study contributes to the present discourse regarding the role gender plays in the normalization of independent school leadership, proposes questions for further inquiry, and suggests strategies of action for independent school communities, trustees, and professional organizations to use when crafting policy, planning leadership training/development, and succession planning that addresses gender disproportionality.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ravitch, Sharon M.
Commitee: Christman, Jolley, Kaminstein, Dana, Skrla, Linda
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Educational and Organizational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 74/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Womens studies, Gender studies
Keywords: Culture, Education, Gender, Independent schools, Leadership, Mentorship, Women educators
Publication Number: 3592285
ISBN: 9781303332777
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