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Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume II, Issue 1 2013 Commonalities of Women Superintendents in Texas S. Brigette Whaley, Ph.D. candidate University of Texas at Arlington Abstract Women are underrepresented in the superintendency in Texas. To explore this topic, a survey was sent to superintendents in Texas and female superintendents’ answers were examined for common experiences and traits. Of the women in Texas who responded to the survey that have obtained a position in the superintendency, most of them were employed in school districts with less than 5,000 students. Another common experience some of them share is their attendance at Tarleton State University and Texas A&M University- Commerce. The majority of respondents have had their certification for nine years or less, while very few current women superintendents have held their certifications for 20 years or more.

Introduction Males heavily outnumber females in administrative positions in the K-16 setting, although women dominate the field of education. This is especially true for the position of superintendent in the United States (U.S.). How underrepresented women are is unclear due to the variance in studies and the limited number of studies on the topic. The U. S. Department of Education does not keep records of how many women there are in the superintendency. This problem has not been given the necessary significance in national educational records, and a national database of superintendents listed by gender is nonexistent (Grogan & Shakeshaft, 2011). Grogan and Shakeshaft (2011) note about 76% of teachers nationally in the K-12 setting are female, yet less than 22% of superintendents are female. In their study, they go on to say that number is lower depending on the source for the statistics and may be actually closer to 14%. Despite the male dominance of the superintendent’s position, women are gradually making progress in attaining this position and being successful. Women who are in this leadership position are likely to have some commonalities as a group. Statement of the Problem and Purpose of the Study The number of women superintendents is significantly disproportionate to the number of women who are certified and qualified for the position (Grogan & Shakeshaft, 2011). Research points to a number of reasons it remains difficult for women to obtain this position including gender-bias and women’s aspirations (Brunner & Grogan, 2007; Grogan & Shakeshaft, 2011; Tyack, 1981; Young & Sklar, 2003). Superintendents may share some common experiences such as years of experience, age, district size, and how they obtained their credentials for the superintendency. In Texas, about 75% of teaching positions (Ramsay, 2011) and 15% of superintendent positions are held by women (Buckles, 2009). The purpose of this study was to examine current Texas women


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JTWSE—Volume 2  

JTWSE—Volume 2  

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