I Am a Chameleon In Pearls: How Three Select Female Superintendents Perceive Their Professional Lives
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The public school superintendent is the least progressive position in education at integrating women and balancing the scales of equitable representation. Statistical data indicates there are far fewer females than males serving as superintendents. Current statistics show women make up: 1) over 70 percent of all public school educators; 2) nearly half of all principals; and 3) almost 60 percent of all central office administrators. Yet today, female superintendents in our nation total only 20 percent. Despite the perceived oppression of the marginalized, gender study research on women in the superintendent/ Chief Financial Officer (CFO) position is limited and built on a narrowly focused foundation. Most of the work on this topic has been done to study the barriers women encounter when attempting to become a public school administrator, rather than to explore their role as a modern day superintendent/ CFO. The purpose of this qualitative study will be to build on prior research, which has only begun to expose the qualitative and narrative aspects of research, and delve into the daily professional lives of three female superintendents. The study further explored their experiences as a female superintendent/ CFO in a male dominated profession. The findings of the study support that it is time to remove the institutional and personal stillness and allow women to share their stories concerning the barriers they encountered in attaining the superintendency, as well as how they continue to overcome barriers in the active role of superintendent/ CFO. The benefit of this study will be to serve as a vessel for these pioneering females to show that their perceptions and lives as a female superintendent are stories worth sharing.
Ryan, Catherine (2012). I Am a Chameleon In Pearls: How Three Select Female Superintendents Perceive Their Professional Lives. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from