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Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume I, Issue 1 2012 Mendez-Morse, 1999; Ortiz, 1999; Revere, 1988; Vaughn, 2008), we examined how race and gender impacted the initial two-year superintendency experiences of an African American, Hispanic, and White female. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to examine perceptions of three novice female superintendents, one African American, one Hispanic, and one White, regarding (a) the impact of race on their professional careers, (b) the impact of gender on their professional careers, and (c) how these career experiences compare. The intent was to determine if observable and perceived barriers, including race and gender, manifested for novice female superintendents. Additionally, we sought to identify strategies that novice female superintendents used to cope with barriers and adversities in their professional lives. Significance of the Study Researchers have primarily focused on those persons exiting the superintendency or aspiring to become superintendents (Allen, 1996; Cambell, 2001; Czaja & Harman, 1997; Gonzales, 2007; Grogan, 1996). A need exists for more research on successful female superintendents of schools in the state of Texas (Blount, 1998; Wrushen & Sherman, 2008). Additionally, authors have conducted few studies focusing on the experiences of female superintendents of color (Alston, 1996; Daye, 2007; Gewertz, 2006; Johnson, 2006) and fewer studies on the experiences of novice superintendents (Culotta, 2008; McNulty, 2002; Sovine, 2009). Only one study was found that focused specifically on the experience of a novice female superintendent (Bogotch, 1995). This study added to the body of knowledge pertaining to female superintendents serving in a profession dominated by men. It provided insight and information for female school administrators aspiring to become superintendents of schools. This study also contributed to theory by extending and developing knowledge of the significance of race and gender inequities within this area of educational leadership. College preparation programs and school districts may also benefit from this study with an increased understanding of the unique barriers novice female superintendents face and how to prepare aspiring female superintendents to address those challenges. The shared experiences of novice superintendents in Texas provided encouragement for female administrators considering the superintendency who may have to overcome the challenge of the glass ceiling in school leadership (Clark, Caffarella, & Ingram, 1999; Dabney-Lieras, 2008). Theoretical Framework Whereas a theory is defined as an explanation of observed phenomena that is organized into logical interrelated terms (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2008), a theoretical framework refers to a systematic explanation of phenomena related to variables within a given theory (Lunenburg & Ornstein, 2008). The theoretical frameworks of feminist poststructuralist theory and critical race theory guided and supported this study. Feminist thought served as the lens for designing this study on female superintendents. According to Hooks (2000): -4-

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JTWSE—Volume 1  

JTWSE—Volume 1  

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