Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Develop a Support Network The findings from this study support prior research that developing a network system and/or having a mentor aids African American women who apply for the superintendency. The importance of acquiring a mentor or network system was viewed as a strategy by four of the five participants. Strengthen Leadership Skills Although barriers exist for African American women when searching for a superintendent’s position these women, and women in general possess, exceptional leadership qualities that that strengthens the superintendent position. (Brunner &Grogan, 2005). Women superintendents “work from the center of a web-like organizational structure [rather than a top-down structure]; employ a collegial, supportive, empowering style; establish a district culture of increasing achievement through their instructional leadership; create a positive environment for change; justify tough personnel issues on the basis of ‘children-first’; develop supportive networks to address political and budgetary issues; and stay true to their core values of integrity and caring about people.” (Washington, Miller, & Rene, 2007, p. 281) Women bring distinct qualities to the superintendency—qualities that complement the leadership needs of current school districts. They bring expertise in curriculum and instruction, embrace challenges and change, possess interpersonal skills and pay close attention to small details. Curriculum and instruction. Women superintendents spend more years in the classroom before moving into administration than men. Women superintendents demonstrate a stronger belief in the knowledge of teaching and learning and in the emphasis on improving instruction. Brunner and Grogan (2007) discovered “thirty-five percent of the women superintendents were hired as instructional leaders compared to 24 percent of men” (p. 93). Change management. Women superintendents stay abreast of current instructional developments in the field. They tend to embrace the challenges of reform and change as providing opportunities for action and for growth. These women view the new knowledge and understanding gained through their professional development and academic pursuits as increasing their capacities to act and to achieve district goals. They “manage the current pressure of high-stakes testing and the elimination of the achievement gap by getting professional development in curriculum and instruction” (Brunner & Grogan, 2007, p. 136). Interpersonal skills. Research has noted that women superintendents display a strong and consistent set of interpersonal and relational skills. (Brunner & Grogan, 2007; Robicheau, Haar, & Raskin, 2008; Washington et al.,2007) “Women have greater patience and nurturing when dealing with students, parents, school employees. A woman takes care of a classroom, a school and a district as she would take care of her family” (Brunner & Grogan, 2007). Attention to details. Finally, Brunner and Grogan (2007) asserted women are more prone than men to take care of the smaller things, and to think about and carry out the small details that sometimes men ignore.