Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume I, Issue 1 2012 Female superintendents must explore, access, and join all available support networks. According to Gardiner, Enomoto, and Grogan (2000), ―As women move into educational leadership, the support of others who share similar principles or experiences can be invaluable in helping women to be supported and believe in themselves‖ (p. 62). Funk and Edmonson (2005) identified networking as an important method for aspiring school administrators in developing a support system. They also encouraged active participation in professional organizations for female administrators. Almost all superintendents in Texas join the traditional professional organization, Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA). However, minority superintendents may have unique experiences that require the additional support of other minority superintendents who may have common experiences. Specifically, women superintendents may opt to join the Texas Council of Women School Executives (TCWSE), African American superintendents may opt to join the Texas Alliance of Black School Educators Executives (TABSE), and Hispanic American superintendents may opt to join the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) and/or the Council of Mexican American Administrators (CMAA). Taking advantage of these networking opportunities will enable female superintendents to share common experiences in a variety of professional capacities and diverse groups as well as offer guidance, mentorship, and professional advice. Participating in this type of networking may also provide female superintendents with the support needed to remain in the profession. An additional advantage of networking is that ―contacts through your networks will let you know when positions are coming open before they are posted‖ (Funk & Edmonson, 2005, p. 210). It is important for practicing superintendents to foster positive relationships with other superintendents and to build positive relationships with aspiring female superintendents by serving as mentors. With so few women serving as superintendents, practicing female superintendents serving as mentors will hopefully encourage and support women aspiring to the school superintendent position. Meaningful relationships with mentors may encourage aspiring female superintendents to apply for the position. As practicing female superintendents build relationships with each other and with aspiring female superintendents, strategies for addressing the challenge of balancing family and work can be shared.
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