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Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume II, Issue 1 2013 I don’t see it in a negative way. I will go from this, and so um, she challenged me and as a professional I see her from time to time and I speak with her and don’t hold a grudge. Because I learn from the experience she gave me. So I just hope that at the end of the school year I have a conversation with her over the things that she needs to improve on. Because as a professional, one thing I would say is qualification is one, but attitude takes you a long way. You can have all the people, you can be so qualified, but without attitude, to me, you’re still not complete. I always say attitude says a lot about a person. Rebecca’s resiliency based on her gender, the family support, her intelligence and hard work combined with her undeniable internal locus of control for her life are testaments to her successful cultural acceptance in a nontraditional woman’s leadership role. Conclusion A Male Perspective There are many similarities between the challenges that Rebecca faced as a school principals and women leaders in Texas. A fundamental issue is the cultural expectations for women in respective regions. Women are expected among many cultures to be second, often even submissive, to men. This bias creates the challenges for women in educational leadership among students, employees, and community members, and it limits the competition needed for quality applicants in administrative positions. As a former superintendent, I have participated in the hiring of several principals. It is not unusual to hear teachers say, “we want a man as a principal,” even though they have been told clearly that the district will hire without consideration of gender. Often, the best person for the position has been a woman. However, the woman who steps into the position will have to face the cultural expectations and vie for acceptance. Interestingly, women are often the ones who do not want to have a woman hired to be an educational leader. I have found that men are more often neutral regarding whom to hire. Women do not believe they will enjoy working for another woman. This prejudice can be seen in the experiences of Rebecca. Her first leadership position was made more difficult by another female friend who felt overlooked. This situation was a learning experience for Rebecca. This lack of support from women is non-intuitive. The same women who will argue for women’s leadership in the abstract will fight against it in the concrete. A woman who advances beyond the niche expected by her peer group will feel pressure to stay in her former role. Others will use gossip and ostracizing in an attempt to control the new leader. This attitude can be emotionally difficult to overcome, but given time, a new niche is developed. The woman leader may have to struggle for acceptance but will eventually get it. There is another factor to the hiring of women administrators. Women are stereotyped in many districts based upon the first one to get a leadership position. This perspective is good if the woman leader was effective, but not everyone meets this expectation. Ineffective hires can take place among men and women, but in women there is a tendency to generalize these 38

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JTWSE—Volume 2  

JTWSE—Volume 2  

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