Title

Female Superintendents In Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida: Personal and Professional Characteristics

Date of Award

2005

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

First Advisor

Randy Anderson

Advisor Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Abstract

The purpose of the research was to explore the personal and professional characteristics experienced by female superintendents currently serving public school districts in the states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The study was designed to compare the differences in attitudes and opinions according to each superintendent's personal experiences and to identify the most traveled career path of the female superintendents currently serving school districts in the tri-state scope of this study. The study was based on a survey of 37 superintendents. A questionnaire survey constructed by the author was used to collect the data for the study. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The questionnaire yielded descriptive statistics in four different categories: personal characteristics, professional characteristics, professional preparation, and leadership qualities. The most common professional path traveled by a current female superintendent in the survey states is from the classroom, to a high school administrator's position, to a district level administrator, and then to the superintendency. The data reveal that once a candidate decides to pursue the superintendency, she will spend less than a year before attaining a post. White, Democratic, first-born, married women who hold the doctorate are most likely to be superintendents in the surveyed states. The majority of respondents were married to professional men who support their career path. The average age of the superintendents' youngest child was 20 years when accepting their first superintendency post, which indicates that most waited until after their children were out of school before accepting the demanding post. One hundred percent of the respondents felt that technology was essential in assisting them in their administrative duties. Mentors play a big part in guiding these female superintendents' careers. Female superintendents reported that all leadership qualities were important, not just the ones specific to transformational leadership.