JTWSE—Volume 3

Page 1

Journal of Texas Women School Executives

JTWSE provides a forum to promote the development of women school executives through scholarly research and practice. JTWSE recognizes the diversity of talents and skills of women school executives.

Copyright 2012 by the Texas Council of Women School Executives All rights reserved. ISSN 2166-112X

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014

Executive Editor: Dr. Genie Linn Design Editor: Ms. Karen Saunders Assistant Editors: Dr. Patti Birney & Dr. Sheila Griffith

Reviewers Dr. Karla Burkholder Dr. Elizabeth Clark Dr. Shirley Coleman Ms. Jana Garner Dr. Feyi Obamehinti Dr. Sharon Ross Dr. Lisa Severns Dr. Lu Anna Stephens Dr. Laura Trujillo-Jenks


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Journal of Texas Women School Executives (JTWSE) Journal of Texas Women School Executives (JTWSE) is an official publication of the Texas Council of Women School Executives (TCWSE). The purpose of JTWSE is to provide a forum to promote the development of women school executives through scholarly research and practice, as well as recognize the professional knowledge and wisdom of practicing and aspiring women school executives. Since leadership is both art and science, JTWSE also solicits creative works that promote the journal purpose. The journal solicits original submissions in three categories to recognize the diversity of talents and skills of women school executives (see Categories of Articles). Because of a commitment to leadership development and scholarship among school women executives, Texas Council of School Women Executives previously published an annual monograph until 2008. In January 2011, President Lu Anna Stephens and the Executive Board, commissioned Dr. Genie Linn and Ms. Karen Saunders to serve as co-editors to design and launch a new professional publication for TCWSE to be published in an electronic format with the first publication to be unveiled at the Annual Conference in January 2012. JTWSE is an electronic journal open to members and others, both as writers and readers. The journal has been conceived as an "on-line" journal that is available on the world-wide web. For membership information see http://tcwse.org/membership.html At present, all editorial, Board, and reviewer services are provided without cost to JTWSE or its members by volunteer scholars and practitioners.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014

From the President The JTWSE is a vital part of the work that defines the Texas Council of Women School Executives. From the first days, this organization has been focused on supporting women as they grow into leadership. JTWSE has been, and continues to be, a voice for all women that provides mentoring, support, growth, and leadership. The authors, many of whom are in the journey beside us today, inspire us all in moments of difficulty. Their words of encouragement and success give guidance and clarity to the challenges of the moment. Our co-editors, Genie and Karen, have worked to identify the themes that are so important to women as we gain and contribute to those roles of leadership. JTWSE celebrates those successes and inspires others. For me, JTWSE is our voice as TCWSE continues to uplift women school executives. The stories, the anecdotal records, the journals, and the research are all part of the professional body of work that impacts women. JTWSE allows women leaders to share what they have learned in meaningful ways. I appreciate the work and the openness with which our authors convey the passion and dedication that it takes to be a true leader. As this year’s President of the Texas Council of Women School Executives, I want to thank the members for the support of this journal and, especially, the contributors who have shared their lives, their challenges, their successes, and their knowledge with all of us in a variety of ways. We are all better and stronger for these efforts to support women in leadership. We invite you to join with us in these endeavors as you read this publication, share your own stories with other women in leadership, and join with us in mentoring women leaders through membership in TCWSE. Thank you,

Jean Bahney


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014

From the Editorial Staff Executive Editor Leader...

Leading… Leadership Legacy…

The 2014 TCWSE annual conference entitled Leadership and Legacy marking 30 years as a Texas professional educators’ organization became the inspiration for our theme in this issue. JTWSE 2014 is organized with a look at our past (Leader…) our present (Leading…) and our future (Leadership Legacy…) During this year, I had the pleasure of working closely with our founding “mother” Dr. Margret Montgomery and the history committee to prepare and present a look at TCWSE from its birth in 1984 through its years of growth and development until the present. As a part of the committee’s work, we examined documents, listened to stories, and recorded interviews with past presidents of TCWSE and early participants. The work has resulted in a series of media presentations beginning with a sweeping look at the organization across the decades through the eyes of the TCWSE presidents. This video Leader… Leading…Leadership Legacy… serves as a highlight for the conference program. As a part of the historical accounts, the Hall of Presidents presents the stories of their tenures in video and text formats. With these live links to media presentations (see page 6 & 7), JTWSE steps up and steps out!! Speaking of steps… do you hear them? Can’t you hear the click of high heels echoing in the school halls? We know what that sound means. Here she comes to direct a classroom? Or into her administrator’s office to lead a campus?? Or into the board room to guide a district??? These are Women who are leaders . Women who lead. Women who shape a leadership legacy. It is my hope that you find a message within these pages that will ultimately make a difference for schools. In the words of Dr. Margret Montgomery-Sheffield who quotes Pat Shell, “It is all about the kids!” Sincerely,

Genie Bingham Linn, Ed. D. Member since 2000


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014

Design Editor Where were you 30 years ago? In 1984, I was a young Navy Air Traffic Controller working at the finest Naval Air Station in the world…NAS Miramar, Fighter Town USA, San Diego. I joined an old school, predominantly male group. I had to run faster, work harder, and be smarter than my male counterparts to be taken seriously. And work I did. By 1992, women still only made up about 15% of the total navy membership, and were frequently exposed to gender-based discrimination. A senior female mentor introduced me to my first professional women’s organization, the Fallon Nevada Chapter of Business and Professional women. I volunteered and learned the importance of the self-advocacy women must have in order to pursue, gain and then hold positions of leadership and professional respect. In 1994, I found I had the courage to change careers and became a teacher. In 2004, I accepted my first school principal position. Curiously, I realized that I still dealt with gender based issues. This is probably why, when introduced to the group “Texas Council of Women School Executive,” my interest was immediately perked. The first event I attended was a Pink Rose mini-conference at Angelo State University in the Fall of 2005. Wow! There I got my first dose of Dr. Lu which was energizing, to say the least! To top it off, Dr. Shirley Neeley, then Texas’ Commissioner of Education, presented. She talked about the professional importance of always being ready for whatever life opportunity may come about. Her words and that conference united my old and new lives, “I am proud to be serving my nation through education.” There was the link I hadn’t known I was looking for; I was Still serving my nation! I have been a member of the Texas Council of Women School executives ever since. In the past few years, I have personally benefited from the mentorship and guidance of TCWSE members. The only price I was asked for the advice was a request to give back to those who come after me. What a great price to pay, I can’t wait to give back! I look forward to the next 30 years of TCWSE. My involvement with the 3rd volume of the Journal of Texas Women School Executives has truly been inspirational. Enjoy!

Karen Saunders, M.Ed. Design Editor, member since 2005 vi

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014

Assistant Editors Dr. Patti Birney Dr. Patti Birney has been an educator for 38 glorious years serving all levels of the educational system - Elementary, Middle School, High School, Central Office and University levels. For the past 14 years, she has served as Assistant Superintendent of East Central ISD with seven years experience as adjunct professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) & Texas A & M San Antonio (TXAMSA) preparing leaders for Superintendent or Principal certification. She was a state board member of Texas Association & Curriculum Development from 20092013. She has been a member of TCWSE for three years and is a Vice Chair of the San Antonio Council of Women Executives local organization. With extensive experience in life coaching, Dr. Birney is an advocate for women in the profession and in their personal lives.

Dr. Sheila Griffith Dr. Sheila Griffith is the co-owner and co-founder of Knowsys Educational Services, which provides professional development and curriculum for schools and districts. The Knowsys curriculum focuses on college readiness, academic vocabulary building, and math remediation for secondary school students. Dr. Griffith leads training and professional development sessions, writes curriculum, and consults with districts on improving college readiness.

A special note of appreciation. I am very grateful for the dedication and talent that Karen brings to this team. You wouldn’t be reading this without her technology skills and patience with me! Patti and Sheila have been a driving creative force in the development of the 2014 issue. They answered Jean’s call for volunteers at the 2013 conference and have been loyal to that task. Their ideas and energy have pushed us forward and challenged me to be more organized (an impossible task) and to see new possibilities. Thank you! Genie vii

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014

Table of Contents From the President


Dr. Jean Bahney From the Editors


Leader…Leading…Leadership Legacy… Dr. Genie Linn, Executive Editor Where were you 30 years ago? Karen Saunders, Design Editor In this Issue


Leader… a look at the past The First Conference of Texas Women School Executives


Dr. Margaret Montgomery Sheffield as told to Dr. Genie Bingham Linn Leader… Leading …Leadership… (a media presentation)


Filmed & Produced by Jerry MacLaren with Lets Roll DVD's. Hall of President’s (recorded history)


Directed by Dr. Margret Montgomery Sheffield & Dr. Genie Bingham Linn Filmed and Produced by Jerry MacLaren with Lets Roll DVD's.

Leading… a look at the present Middle School Science Inquiry: Still Not a Clearly Defined Concept


Dr. Pauline Sampson & Ms. Melissa M. Leigh

Master Reading Teachers (MRTs): Roles and Responsibilities Dr. Laurie McAdams viii


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014

Finding a Superintendent’s Position: Challenges for African American Women in Texas


Dr. Diana Vaughn & Dr. Vance Vaughn 21st Century Leadership and Learning: A Case for Action Research and Online Programs


Dr. Steve Jenkins & Dr. Lu Anna Stephens The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Life of Educational Administration


Dr. Laura Trujillo-Jenks Open Letter to Women Professionals


Dr. Lu Anna Stephens

Leading… a look to the future Lean In Through Texas Council of Women School Executives


Dr .Cheryl Kelsey Dr. Patti Birney Diamonds & Divas


Dr. Sharon Ross At the Crossroads: What is the Future of TCWSE?


Dr. Elizabeth Clark To Our Texas Council Women School Executives Dr. Lu Anna Stephens



Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014

In this issue This issue of Journal of Texas Women School Executives includes literary work from three categories:  Research is the hallmark of educational professionalism and scholarship. Scholarly research builds leadership capacity and strengthens our voices.  Professional and Scholarly Perspectives offer both scholarly positions and professional understandings.  Creative Works inspire us and enrich our understandings of self, others, and the world around us.

Leader…a look at the past First Conference of Texas Women Executive Educators by Dr. Margaret Montgomery Sheffield as told to Dr. Genie Linn. This piece offers a historical perspective of the first conference in 1984 based on interviews with Margret and participants from that meeting. Their stories help us to understand how far women in administration have come, and yet how far we have still to go. We are indebted to their courage and hard work that opened the door for Texas Council of School Women Executives. Celebrating 30 Years! Texas Council of School Women Executives: Leader…Leading…Leadership Legacy… Directed by the TCWSE Executive History Committee. Filmed & Produced by Jerry MacLaren with Lets Roll DVD's. View a multimedia production that presents 30 years of TCWSE history as seen through the reflections of the organization’s presidents. The film, highlighted at the 2014 Conference, not only documents history of the organization, it focuses on the significant role TCWSE has played in the lives of these women leaders and others. Hall of Presidents: 30 Years of Presidential History, Produced by Jerry MacLaren with Lets Roll DVD's. The Hall of Presidents is a library of interviews done with the past presidents of TCWSE. Take a stroll through the library to hear their words and read their messages. You will be inspired with their narratives that offer a look back to each president’s tenure. A look back to the past reminds us of our commitment to the future.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014

Leading…a look at the present Women school executives in Texas put instruction as a top priority for their work. The first two articles focus on improving instruction in the core subjects of science and reading. Instructional leaders are always in a posture of inquiry regarding best practice. Middle School Science Inquiry: Still Not a Clearly Defined Concept by Dr. Pauline M Sampson & Ms. Melissa M. Leigh. This research study is timely and significant for school leaders who search for best practices in the science classroom. Although it looks specifically at middle school instruction, the findings have implications for all levels of science instruction. Today school Leading requires informed instructional leaders. Master Reading Teachers (MRTs): Roles and Responsibilities by Dr. Laurie McAdams. Literacy continues to be a first priority for instructional leaders. Dr. McAdams’ research examines the implementation processes with Master Reading Teachers. The investigation examines compares how those in these positions actually functioned as opposed to the progam intent. Leading wisely today means effective, appropriate, and efficient use of resources. This study reminds leaders to evaluate program implementation and effectiveness. Leadership preparation is unquestionably important. The following articles coming from professors in university educational administration programs. The first offers a professional perspective about innovative preparation programs, and the next articles offer personal and professional perspectives on life as an administrator. Leading today is also about teaching, preparing and mentoring aspiring administrators. 21st Century Leadership and Learning: A Case for Action Research and Online Programs by Dr. Steve Jenkins & Dr. Lu Anna Stephens. Drs. Jenkins and Stephens bring an intriguing perspective from the largest successful online educational administration program in Texas Lamar University. They make a compelling argument for the use of action research in administrator preparation by sharing the processes and procedures for its implementation. Leading today is about solving problems in schools. Action research is practitioner research for doing just that! The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Life of Educational Administration by Dr. Laura Trujillo-Jenks. You will enjoy this honest and candid reflection by Dr. Trujillo-Jenks. Stories offer the greatest teaching moments, and these stories of her own administrative journey are rich with lessons. Leading today is about mentoring and encouraging others. Dr. Lu’s Open Letter to Women Professional by Dr. Lu Anna Stephens. Welcome to our TCWSE advice column! Dr. Lu again offers her professional perspective to advise and support women in school leadership. She combines her years of administrative experience and her scholarly knowledge to bring wisdom and encouragement. To read Dr. Lu is to hear her voice!


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014

Leadership Legacy…a look to the future Our Leadership Legacy is what we “pay forward” to the next generation of women school executives. The legacy has been forged by the iron will of strong women in the past and the present. Our Leadership Legacy is a work in progress! It is not stagnant, but rather growing and developing as we choose. The final section of this journal issue explores this reality, and challenges us to create a significant and meaningful Leadership Legacy! Lean In Through Texas Council of Women School Executives by Dr .Cheryl Kelsey & Dr. Patti Birney. The editors of JTWSE began this year wondering about our present membership. Who are we now? Inspired also by the recent book by Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In? Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (2013), we developed a survey for our members. Drs. Kelsey and Birney offer a review of this book along with the JTWSE survey data to provide an intriguing look at the experiences and beliefs of our members. The Leadership Legacy for TCWSE requires that we know and understand ourselves today in order to continue moving toward the future. Diamonds and Divas by Dr. Sharon Ross. In her poem, Dr. Ross reminds us that women in school leadership are pretty incredible!. We are blessed that she shares her creative talent and enthusiasm with us through poetry. TCWSE can always count on Sharon to lift our spirits! At the Crossroads: What is the Future of TCWSE? by Dr. Elizabeth A. Clark. We admire the visionary leadership of Dr. Clark. In her professional perspective, she challenges TCWSE to consider our mission-- why we exist--in order to continue our influence as a significant organization for women school executives in Texas. Because of her commitment to schools and passion for this organization, she urges TCWSE take women school executives to “a new level of professionalism” as we continue to establish a meaningful Leadership Legacy. To Our Texas Council Women School Executives from Dr. Lu. Dr. Lu Anna Stephens closes this issue with a touching poem that embodies the TCWSE spirit. We are there for each other. Our friendships and relationships in TCWSE make us special.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Perhaps you will want to enter into this conversation about the future direction of TCWSE? If so, you may respond on our TASA Connect networking platform at http:tasaconnect.schoology.com . 1. For iPad or other smart device users, download the Schoology App, download the Schoology App. 2. Tap the app and select "Username Login" under Sign up for Schoology. 3. Where it asks you to "Begin with typing your school name" start typing Texas Association ‌ TASA will show up. Select it. 4. Enter your email address and password (that you use to access TASA's Member Services Center ‌ we have Single Sign On!). 5. You'll be in TASA Connect! From there navigate to your group or whatever else you want to do.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014

Leader… A look to the past

“I began doing the work of an administrator without the title or the pay to help, but I was ok with it.”

“Even though I was doing the principal’s work, I stood by as men were appointed to the position. That is just the way it was.”

Almost 100 women across the state responded to the invitation to attend the first conference. (1984)

“I had reached a place where I never thought of advancing! Certainly, I had never been encouraged. Looking back, I think you changed my life!”


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 First Conference of Texas Women Executive Educators September 24, 1984 Dr. Margret Montgomery-Sheffield As told to Dr. Genie Bingham Linn

Keywords: Women leaders, TCWSE history, women school administrators

September is always a month of new beginnings for educators and that year would mark a radical beginning with new possibilities for women educators in Texas. At that moment in history there were 1060 school districts in Texas where 75% of the personnel were women, but only seven women served as district superintendents. Encouraging women to apply for leadership positions was not a priority. Women were not usually even considered for advancement! School leadership was the ‘men’s club’ in Texas.” This fact wasn’t necessarily a result of a deliberate attempt to suppress the advancement of women. It was, however, the accepted cultural practice by both women and men. Since the man was the “Bread-winner” of the family and needed the extra funds to support a family, women were encouraged to seek lesser positions to become supervisors or counselors instead of administrators. This practice was accepted by women who had the potential to be successful as leaders as noted by the following comments recorded during a recent gathering of women who attended that first conference: “I never considered applying for an administrative position! I was a teacher, and I loved it.” “I began doing the work of an administrator without the title or the pay to help, but I was ok with it.” “I did whatever the district asked me to do without complaining or aspiring to advancement?” “Even though I was doing the principal’s work, I stood by as men were appointed to the position. That is just the way it was.” Later I wanted to be the principal…even if the job didn’t pay!” However, a few women in Texas began to work for change. They began to enroll in administrative courses and became certified to hold administrative positions. Women studied career paths into administration and sought advice from college professors in educational administration. Even with these preparations and skills, the cultural barriers remained.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 “I remember applying for a superintendent’s position, when the board president called me. ‘You are the best qualified applicant, but you don’t want this job!’ I later learned his high school principal expressed an interest: in the position and the job went to him!” “Even though I was a district administrator, when the superintendent’s position came open, the men on staff were encouraged to apply. But not me!” “We saw so many qualified women, just flat overlooked!” The Women’s Caucus of American Association of School Administrators. A brochure and an invitation to attend the Women’s Caucus of AASA found its way to Margret Montgomery’s desk in 1982. She received permission from her superintendent, Dr. Jack Davidson, who commented, “This is a need that is long overdue.” Margret went off to the conference in Chicago looking for a model she could bring back to Texas. To her surprise, the first women she met were from Texas! In fact, the President of the Women’s Caucus was Dr. Edna McDuffie Manning, Superintendent of Tuloso-Midway ISD! Dr. Manning along with Joan Curcio and Dr. Louise Littleton, all from Tuloso-Midway, were executive officers in the national organization. Margret immediately had her support base and leadership seed for change in Texas! Texas Response. The first call Margret made when she returned to Texas was to Dr. Charles Matthews, Executive Director of the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA). She was eager for that organization to know what she was doing. The women’s initiative advocated for both qualified men and women and campaigned for men for advancement and expected male administrators in TASA to respond in kind. Fortunately, Dr. Matthews was a strong supporter for the advancement of women into administration, even though he had been frustrated with his efforts to bring women into TASA. Consequently, he encouraged Margret to go forward with her plans to help women advance to leadership positions. Their philosophical agreement foreshadowed the close relationship that exists today between TCWSE and TASA, now led by our friend Dr. Johnny Veselka. . Another one of the first calls was to Dr. Nolan Estes. “Nolan was so excited when I called, he talked nonstop without a period or pause about what we could do! Dr. Estes had often lamented the fact that he had such a difficult time locating women qualified for advancement. We became an important resource for search committees wanting to place women in administrative positions” Change was in the air! It was led in large part by Pat Shell. In 1984, Pat Shell was both Deputy General Superintendent of Houston ISD and Superintendent of the Year for Texas Association of School Administrators. These two significant accomplishments served as inspiration and hope for women. Pat was the second call Margret made!! Pat Shell’s influence and strong network connections paved the communication highways. Almost 100 women across the state responded to the invitation to attend the first conference. “The first woman to call about the conference was 3

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 a superintendent from a small district in West Texas… ‘This is just what I need! Where is the closest airport?!’” Because the attendees came from across the state, a reception was held at a local hotel the evening before the conference. An excited buzz filled the room as women leaders and women who aspired to district leadership met and shared. This was the first statewide opportunity for communication among women executives who were both surprised and relieved to find so many with common goals and needs. Friendships formed and connections created that would be the foundation for the first organization for women school executives in Texas. For many years, the organization continued to hold this social gathering for networking and socializing the evening before the conference convened. Men have always used organizational meetings for socializing and building friendships along with establishing career networks. Now women were learning how to access the power and advantages of “who you know.” The First Conference of Texas Women Executive Educators, held at The University of Texas in Tyler, operated with businesslike efficiency. The day began at 8:30 and ran non-stop until 2:45 with a break only for lunch. The day’s activities could have been stressful and overwhelming for Dr. Montgomery, but she credits the gracious cooperation and assistance from a supportive leadership and faculty of the College of Education. They handled the logistics of registration and facilities to make the day operate without complications. “It wasn’t hard to hold the conference because I had so much help and support! UT Tyler, Tyler ISD, Tyler mayor Charles Halstead, Dr. Estes, Pat Shell, and many other influential state leaders guaranteed our success. There were even school board members who joined us that day. Finally, we were lucky to have the critical support of area universities who participated in a panel of Deans of Education: Dr. Langston Kerr, Stephan F. Austin Statue University; Dr. Jimmy Williamson, East Texas State University; and Dr. Robert Cox, The University of Texas at Tyler.” University leadership programs were very interested in reaching women for school administration. “It seemed like there were so many! I was shocked that so many come!” The atrium of the University Student Center where the general session was held hummed with excitement, curiosity, and maybe a little bewilderment! “We came because Margret asked to us to come…because we respected her, but we didn’t know what to expect!” Margret laughed remembering that the Texas Education Agency sent a representative who commented, “I don’t know why I am here?’” Apparently others at TEA knew this event would be important!


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Of course, every large event has unexpected complications. Dr. Edna McDuffie Manning, Superintendent of Tuloso-Midway ISD, Margret Montgomery’s first contact at the national Women’s Caucus, was scheduled to deliver the keynote address. Unfortunately circumstances caused a last minute substitution as Joan Curcio, President of the Women Caucus and administrator in Tuloso-Midway ISD, delivered Dr. Manning’s address instead! No problem! A message was delivered and heard that inspired and challenged the participants. Afternoon sessions ran back to back with no time for breaks. These sessions offered women information about planning and accessing career opportunities from educational preparation to interview skills. They learned about legal issues, negotiating contracts, and gaining access to the right information. Most importantly, they were inspired by women administrators like Pat Smith, Superintendent Marshall ISD, and Elizabeth Clark, Assistant Superintendent Hallsville ISD who had managed to overcome the barriers women faced in the field, and they were encouraged by Dr. John Bowser, UT Tyler, and Dr. Morgan Moses, SFASU to challenge the status quo and aspire to career advancement! The end of the day, but a new beginning for Texas women school executives. The conference adjourned by 2:45 that day, but Margret invited anyone who was interested to stay to be a part of the establishment of the new organization. Thirty women stayed! Pat Shell insisted on being the first to pay her $10 membership fee. An organization for Texas Women School Executives was born! Looking back at that day, Margret recalls, “I really thought it would only last 5 years. I figured by then we would have completed our mission and wouldn’t be necessary anymore!” We may smile at her predictions now, but with a tinge of sadness knowing that 30 years later the work to support and promote women to school leadership is still critical. On that day this event and those women made a difference. This quote says it best, “I had reached a place where I never thought of advancing! Certainly, I had never been encouraged. Looking back, I think you changed my life!”

Dr. Margret Montgomery Sheffield is retired with her husband Tom in Hideaway, Texas. She continues to mentor and encourage women to pursue higher degrees and to apply for challenging educational leadership positions. In addition, Margret is actively involved in local community service organizations and the Hideaway Community Church. montgomerym@suddenlink.net Dr. Genie Bingham Linn is Associate Professor at The University of Texas at Tyler in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. glinn@uttyler.edu


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014

Celebrating 30 Years! Texas Council of School Women Executives A Media Presentation


1984 - 2014

Click Here


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014

Texas Council of School Women of School Executives Proudly Presents

30 Years of Presidential History


Hall of Presidents

Click Here Enter the Hall of Presidents to see and hear the stories of TCWSE across decades of our organization, beginning with our founding President, Dr. Margret Montgomery Sheffield’s account of the first TCWSE Conference. These recollections, taken collectively, thread a common theme of a Leadership Legacy. Enjoy!


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014

Leading‌ A look at the present

How can I help my people do their jobs better? When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. It’s about making the people who work for you smarter, bigger, and bolder. Nothing you do matters more than how you nurture and support your educational family and team. Dr. Lu


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Middle School Science Inquiry: Still Not a Clearly Defined Concept Dr. Pauline M. Sampson Ms. Melissa M. Leigh

Abstract This research was a mixed method study at five school districts with 45 Texas middle school science teachers, and interviews with seven middle school science teachers on their implementation of inquiry-based science strategies. Findings suggest that the teachers of this study define inquiry-based science differently as well as how to implement these strategies. Further, teachers view themselves having strong science content knowledge as well as an understanding of science inquiry. Time and resources continue to be the highest challenges for implementation of science inquiry. The majority of respondents implement science inquiry twenty-five percent of the lessons each week. Keywords: science instruction, inquiry-based instruction, Texas middle school science

Introduction The state of Texas requires in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) that students use scientific inquiry methods for 40% of instructional time (TEA, 2010). Have science classrooms changed from a teacher-centered focus and use of demonstration and guided experiments to student-centered inquiry learning because of the TEKS requirement? Other questions for many teachers are: (1) What is inquiry-based learning? and (2) What are the benefits to students who engage in the inquiry-based learning process? While many strategies have been advocated to improve students’ understanding of science, one of the most prevalent is the use of inquiry-based experiments (Anderson, 2002; Bowman, 2012; Loughran, 2003; Meyer, Kubarek-Sandor, Kedvesh, Heitzman, Yaozhen, & Faik, 2012; Scanlon, 2012; Zembal-Saul, 2002). The National Science Education Standards state that inquiry-based science teaching “allows students to conceptualize a question and then seek possible explanations that respond to that question” (National Research Council, 2000). Some of the major components of inquiry-based science include the use of higher-level questions and critical thinking skills. “Inquiry is not just a method of teacher and learning science, but also an understanding of inquiry and how inquiry results in scientific knowledge” (National Research Council, 2009). The National Research Council (2000) identified the following major components of a science curriculum: 1. Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations; 2. Design and conduct a scientific investigation; 3. Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data; 4. Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence;


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 5. Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations; 6. Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions; 7. Communicate scientific procedures and explanations; and 8. Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.

This means that the focus shifts from the teacher to the student. In true inquiry-based science, the teacher becomes a facilitator. The responsibility is placed on the students for asking questions, planning and implementing investigations, using the appropriate tools and techniques, and developing an analysis of possible explanations and scientific arguments through critical thinking skills (Enger, 1998; Lederman, 2003; Patchen & Smithenry, 2013; Johnson, et al 1998; and Zembal-Saul, 2002). The notion of students becoming responsible for developing questions, formulating hypotheses, and conducting their own experiments often provides motivation to students who would otherwise become uninterested in school. However, inquiry-based science also greatly alters the teacher’s role in the science classroom (Anderson, 2002; Biggers & Forbes, 2012; Kawalker & Vijapurkar, 2013; Ortego, Luft & Wang, 2013). This type of instruction demands a high content knowledge and the ability to multi-task several groups of students at one time (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). Many current science teachers were not taught with an inquiry-based method in their science classes and therefore, may not have a frame of reference for this instructional strategy (Ozel & Luft, 2013; Smith, & Gess-Newsome, 2004). Additionally, teachers may not have the necessary content knowledge (James, et al., 2001; Tekkaya et al., 2004). In order to be successful, inquiry-based science must be supported through on-going professional development and monitoring (Banilower, Heck, & Weiss, 2007; Capps, 2013; Jeanpierre, Oberhauser, & Freeman, 2005; Kimble, Yager, & Yager, 2006; Lotter, Harwood, & Bonner, 2006; Seraphin, Philippoff, Parisky, Degnan & Warren, 2013; Shymanskya, 2013). Statement of the Purpose The primary purpose of this mixed method design was to determine the extent to which middle school science teachers are implementing the state requirement of inquiry-based science. A secondary purpose was to evaluate the common understanding of inquiry-based science by middle school science teachers. While no single study can expect to solve such a complex educational issue as the implementation of inquiry-based science, an additional analysis on scientific inquiry can assist researchers in understanding how to guide middle school teachers in the process of implementing inquiry-based science strategies in individual classrooms. Design and Methodology The research design of this study was a mixed method design with a quantitative survey (Creswell, & Plano Clark, 2007) sent to five school districts with 45 middle school science teachers and follow-up case study of interviews with seven middle school science teachers on their implementation of inquiry-based science strategies. Permission for sending surveys and requesting teacher participation was obtained from the superintendent and campus principal of each district and campus. Districts and middle schools were chosen with a convenient 10

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 purposeful sample in order to obtain access. Middle school science teachers were invited to an interview after the survey completion. After securing permission from campus principals, teachers were given a nine item survey through Survey Monkey. Based upon survey responses, a convenient sample of teachers were selected for follow-up interviews. Research Questions The following research questions guided this study: 1. What is the level of understanding of the process of inquiry-based science among middle school science teachers in Texas? 2. What percentage of instructional time is spent on the implementation of inquiry-based science in middle school science classrooms in Texas? 3. What are the challenges that teachers face in implementing inquiry-based science strategies in middle school science classrooms in Texas? 4. What are the skills needed for teachers to successfully implement science inquiry in middle school science classrooms in Texas? Analysis The quantitative data from the survey were collected and analyzed with descriptive statistics. The open-ended descriptions of teachers’ definition for science inquiry, percentage of classroom time spent on science inquiry, challenges of implementation, necessary teachers’ skills for successful implementation of science inquiry, level of own understanding of science inquiry, and level of own content science knowledge were analyzed. An inductive approach was used to analyze the qualitative data from the open-ended responses and interviews. This inductive approach was used to look for emerging themes (Creswell, 2007). All interviews notes were read carefully for the themes and the categories in a continual comparison analysis. Results The majority of respondents to this study were female (77%) middle science teachers with years of experience teaching ranging from a beginning teacher (0 years) to teachers with more than 30 years teaching. The majority of the respondents had 1-5 years of teaching experience (17%) followed by teachers with 6-10 years of teaching experience (9%). Findings of the survey suggest that middle school science teachers in Texas do not have a common definition of inquiry-based science or how to properly implement these strategies in their individual classrooms. The majority of the responses defined science inquiry as the investigation, questioning and exploring of science. This was followed by hands-on learning, problem solving, using the scientific method, and discovering science facts. The majority of the respondents rated their understanding of science inquiry as high (36.4%) to very high (18.2%). Additionally, the majority of respondents rated the level of science content knowledge as high (55.8%) to very high (27.9%). There were minimal differences between male and female responses related to their self-reported understanding of science inquiry and their level of science content knowledge. The male science teachers reported their understanding of science inquiry as high to very high (63.7%) and their level of science content knowledge as high to very high (81.8%). This compares to the female science teachers who reported their understanding of 11

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 science inquiry high to very high (55.8%) and their level of science content knowledge as high to very high (87.8%). Further, the teachers identified the skills by teachers to be successful in the implementation of science inquiry as organization, time management, classroom management, knowledge of science concepts, patience, ability to let go of control, problem solving, and understanding of science inquiry. Other skills mentioned only once were how to extend materials, use of higher level thinking skills, building relationships with students, understanding of learning styles, and questioning techniques. The major challenges for implementation of science inquiry were time and resources. Other challenges were classroom management skills required for implementation, developing topics that fit inquiry based learning, linking the TEKS and scope/sequence, varying abilities of students, and proper use of science inquiry. A few other challenges given less frequently were lack of student cooperation, student dependency on the teacher, and lack of student motivation to think. Interviews Seven teachers were contacted for interviews. All teachers were further asked to expand on their definition of science inquiry. Five of the seven teachers had several similarities in their definitions. One of the teachers defined science inquiry as “students have the opportunity to explore concepts and questions with guidance, but little direct teaching from the teacher.” Another teacher offered that science inquiry is “looking into a topic with a scientific method approach.” Another definition given was, The process of inquiry not only enhances students’ understanding of natural phenomena, but also develops students’ science process skills. It is a nonlinear variation of the scientific method, composed of the same basic components, both the scientific method and the inquiry process requiring students to conduct research investigations by formulating a question, developing a hypothesis, conducting an experiment, recording data, analyzing data, and drawing conclusions. One teacher described science inquiry as “problem solving through the scientific process”. Another definition was “Allowing students to have a more active role in labs and activities by collection of data and developing the conclusions and reflections.” Finally, two teachers struggled with a clear definition and one said that “it was a type of program”, while another stated, “It is to discover science facts.” When the teachers were asked about the challenges for implementation of science inquiry, one of the teachers voiced, “Science inquiry was embraced by this district five years ago. Teachers attended training. Now, there is very little involvement and acceptance of science inquiry.” Time was a challenge noted by all teachers. One science teacher expressed, “I have limited time with each class”. The teachers identified that there was limited time to plan science inquiry lessons as well as there was limited time during the class period to conduct science inquiry. One teacher put it, “I try and use inquiry especially when we are beginning a new topic where the students have had little or no exposure. But the limiting time in a class period makes it difficult”.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Two of the teachers expressed a need for more resources which require larger budgets. A teacher stated, “Resources are needed with the new TEKS”. A second teacher shared, “You need a budget that allows you to purchase the items needed for science inquiry.” Finally, a teacher stated that science inquiry is not conducted frequently or correctly. She stated, ‘Lesson plans have not included labs for the past three weeks. Our lesson plans say its’ a lab, but if someone would walk into the room they would classify it as notes or an activity.” Some of the teachers addressed the students’ limited content knowledge and lack of experience as problems for conducting science inquiry. One teacher said, “The majority of students stay home and play video games. They are not used to exploring.” Another teacher concurred and added, “The students lack prior knowledge on major science concepts.” The challenges for implementation were also related the large variance in students’ abilities in one classroom. She shared that, “In an inclusion style classroom it is challenging to conduct science inquiry when there are varying abilities of students.” This matches the idea of needing to ensure all students succeed even those where the levels of students’ abilities are so diverse. The teacher stated, “There is pressure to insure students of all learning levels are successful.” Another teacher described the students as lacking the independent curiosity for exploration when she said, “my students are dependent on the teacher.” Teachers understood that the science inquiry classrooms required different skills from them. One of the major skills identified was classroom management skills. Another skill was choosing the curriculum matched to the TEKS and then creating science inquiry for those TEKS. The teacher stated, “There is a vast amount of curriculum to choose from and it takes time to create all TEKS in the form of science inquiry.” Conclusions and Implications What is the level of understanding of the process of inquiry-based science among middle school science teachers in Texas? The majority of the respondents rated their understanding of science inquiry as high (36.4%) to very high (18.2%). Additionally, the majority of respondents rated the level of science content knowledge as high (55.8%) to very high (27.9%). However, the individual definitions of inquiry-based science ranged greatly from labs and investigations, to problem solving, using the scientific method, and discovering science facts. During classroom observations, what the observers defined as inquiry-based science strategies often differed from the teacher’s perceptions of science inquiry. This leads to the conclusion that while teachers feel confident in their understanding of what inquiry-based science looks like in practice, the reality is that most of them are not using common language and it is therefore difficult to determine which teachers are truly using inquiry-based science strategies effectively and routinely. What percentage of instructional time is spent on the implementation of inquiry-based science in middle school science classrooms in Texas?


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 The state of Texas requires in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) that students use scientific inquiry methods for 40% of instructional time (TEA, 2010). However, the majority of teachers (47.7%) reported that the inquiry-based science only 25% of the time in their classrooms with 11.4% stating that they never use science inquiry. Therefore, over half of the teachers in this study are not complying with the state standards. Additionally, this area showed the most discrepancy between the male and female respondents. The male teachers reported using science inquiry over 50% of the time in week at 36.4 percent of the respondents and the female teachers was 50 percent. Additionally, the classroom observations and follow-up interviews led the observers to reasonably believe that these percentages may be inflated. Several teachers stated that if they did any type of hands-on activity or lab, they counted the entire class period in their assessment of the amount of time they spent on science inquiry. However, much of that class time was spent on paperwork, getting organized for the activity, and other basic classroom procedures. In actuality, the percentage of time spent on science-based inquiry may be considerably lower than the teacher estimated in the survey. What are the challenges that teachers face in implementing inquiry-based science strategies in middle school science classrooms in Texas? The number one challenge according to the teachers surveyed was time. Individual interviews with teachers indicated that they felt a lack of time to plan and to implement inquiry-based science activities. Statements included, “there isn’t enough time in teaching six out of seven classes to plan extensive labs” and “I think labs like that take too long to complete in one period.” The second most common response was lack of resources. Many school districts were greatly affected this past school year by budget cuts and individual teacher responses clearly stated this as a challenge. One teacher stated, “Our school can’t buy enough paper for the copy machine, let alone extra supplies for science”. Another teacher said, “Many lab supplies are pretty expensive. We kind of have to get creative to do labs”. What are the skills needed for teachers to successfully implement science inquiry in middle school science classrooms in Texas? The survey results showed teacher responses such as organization, classroom management skills, time management, the ability to let go of control, and science content. When asked to explain these answers in greater detail, one teacher commented, “Inquiry-based science means the students are doing all the work. It’s hard to give them that control because you worry they won’t get it and then you will just have to re-teach it all”. Another teacher stated, “Hands-on labs that really focus on science inquiry take a lot of organization to set up. But if they are set up right, it is a great learning experience”. While the level of understanding of science inquiry appears to vary greatly from teacher to teacher, each teacher interviewed agreed that hands-on labs, investigations, and activities where 14

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 the students were taking control of their learning were far more effective for students to learn the science curriculum than less interactive methods such as notes and lectures. This leads to the conclusion that further professional development, mentor programs, and on-going support need to be provided to science teachers in order to gain a common definition of inquiry-based science and to provide strategies for implementation to overcome challenges of limited planning time and minimal resources.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 References Anderson, R. D. (2002). Reforming science teaching: What research says about inquiry. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 13(1). 1-12. Banilower, E. R., Heck, D. J., & Weiss, I.R. (2007). Can professional development make the vision of the Standards a reality? The impact of the National Science Foundation’s local systemic change through teacher enhancement initiative. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44(3), 375-395. Biggers, M., & Forbes, C. T. (2012). Balancing teacher and student roles in elementary classrooms: Preservice elementary teachers’ learning about the inquiry continuum. International Journal of Science Education, 34(14), 2205-2229. Bowman, C. D. (2012). Student use of animated pedagogical agents in a middle school science inquiry program. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(3), 359-375. Capps, D. K. (2013). Inquiry-based professional development: What does it take to support teachers in learning about inquiry and nature of science. International Journal of Science, 35(12), 1917-1978. Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches 2nd Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V .L. (2007). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Enger, S. K. (1998). Profiling middle school science inquiry experiences using student and teacher survey data. National Association for Research in Science Teaching. San Diego, California. James, L. E., & Watson, S. B ( 2001). The effects of participating in an elementary science practicum on classroom practice. Journal of Elementary Science Education, 13(2), 42-54. Jeanpierre, B., Oberhauser, K., & Freeman, C. (2005). Characteristics of professional development that effect change in secondary science teachers’ classroom practices. Journal of Research Science Teaching, 42(6), 668-690. Johnson, M. A., Lawson, A. E. ( 1998). What are the relative effects of reasoning ability and prior knowledge on Biology achievement in expository and inquiry classes? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 35(1), 89-103. Kawalker, A., & Vijapurkar, J. (2013). Scaffolding science talk: The role of teachers’ questions in the inquiry classroom. International Journal of Science Education 35(12), 2204-2027.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Kimble, L., Yager, R., & Yager, S. (2006). Success of a professional development model in assisting teachers to change their teaching to match the more emphasis conditions urged in the national science education standards. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 17, 309-322. Lawson, A. E. (2005). What is the role of induction and deduction in reasoning and scientific inquiry? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 42(6), 716-740 Lederman, N. G. (2003). Scientific inquiry and nature of science as meaningful context for learning in science. Science Literacy for the Twenty-First Century. S. P. Marshall, Scheppler, Judith, A., Palmisano, M. J. (eds). Amherst. Prometheus Books. 85-95. Lotter, C., Harwood, W., & Bonner, J. (2006). Overcoming a learning bottleneck: Inquiry professional development for secondary science teachers. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 17, 185-216. Loughran, J. J. (2003). Chapter 13 Leading with a focus on science teaching and learning. Leadership and Professional Development in Science Education. J. Wallace, Loughran, J. (eds). London. RoutledgeFalmer 237-245. Meyer, D. Z., Kubarek-Sandor, J., Kedvesh, J., Heitzman, C., Yaozhen, P., & Faik, S. (2012). Eight ways to do inquiry. Science Teacher, 79(6), 40-44. Mishra, P., & Koelhler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teacher College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. National Research Council (2000). Inquiry and the national science education standards: A guide for teaching and learning. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Ortega, I., Luft, J. A., Wang, S. S. (2013). Learning to teach inquiry: A beginning science teacher of English language learners. School Science & Mathematics, 113(1), 29-40. Ozel, M., & Luft, J. A. (2013). Beginning secondary science teachers’ conceptualization and enactment of inquiry-based instruction. Science & Mathematics, 113(6), 308-316. Patchen, T., & Smithenry, D. W. (2013). Framing science in a new context: What students take away from a student directed inquiry curriculum. Science Education, 97(6), 801-829. Scanlon, E. (2012). Open educational resources in support of science learning: Tools for inquiry and observation. Distance Education, 33(2), 221-236. Seraphin, K., Philippoff, J., Parisky, A., Degnan, K., & Warren, D. (2013). Teaching energy science as inquiry: Reflections on professional development as a tool to build inquiry teaching skills for middle and high school teachers. Journal of Science Education & Technology, 22(3), 235-251.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Shymanskya, J. A. (2013). The impact of a multi-year, multi-school district K-6 professional development programme designed to integrate science inquiry and language arts on students’ high-stakes test scores. International Journal of Science Education, 35(6), 956 979. Smith, L. K., & Gess-Newsome, J. (2004). Elementary science methods courses and the National Science Education Standards: Are we adequately preparing teachers? Journal of Science Teachers Education 15(2), 1-110. Texas Education Agency (2010). Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 19, PartII Chapter 112. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Science. Subchapter B. Middle School. Updated August 24, 2010. Texas Education Agency (2011). Online materials bring latest science to classrooms. July 22, 2011. Tekkaya, C., Cakiroglu, J, Ozkan, O. ( 2004). Turkish pre-service science teachers’ understanding of science and their confidence in teaching it. Journal of Education for Teaching, 30(1), 57-68. Zembal-Saul, C., Munford, D., & Fredrichsen, P. (2002). Technology tools for supporting inquiry: A pre-service science education course. www.ed.psu.edu/CI/Journals/2002/aets/f1_zembal_saul_munford.rtf.

Dr. Pauline M. Sampson is Associate Professor with Stephen F. Austin State University sampsonp@sfasu.edu. Melissa M. Leigh is Assistant Principal with Timberwood Middle School in Humble ISD melissa.leigh@humble.k12.tx.us.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Master Reading Teachers (MRTs): Roles and Responsibilities Dr. Laurie McAdams Abstract Master Reading Teachers (MRTs) are employed in Texas to serve as a reading resource to both students and teachers at school campuses. The MRT Grant Program was established to provide annual stipends to MRTs at eligible school districts identified as “high-need� as a fininacial incentive to place the best reading professionals at school campuses with a deficit in reading performance. In order for MRTs to fulfill their intended purpose, it is essential that campus administrators provide the necessary support and structure. To achieve the purposes of this study, MRTs across the state were surveyed and provided information related to their campus roles and responsibilities. This article aims to disseminate these findings and articulate support structures campus administrators can implement that ensure MRTs are able to fulfill their intended purpose. Keywords: reading instruction, master reading teacher, reading specialist


House Bill 2307 passed in 1999 and established the creation of the Master Reading Teacher (MRT) Certificate in Texas (Texas Education Agency [TEA], 2006). The MRT Certificate was a part of the Texas Reading Initiative, which focused upon the teaching of reading in order to ensure students in Texas schools read well at or above grade level. Education professionals who possess a MRT Certificate function as a campus reading resource specialist to both students and teachers. An individual may earn a MRT Certificate in one of the following ways: 1. The applicant has a valid Texas teaching certificate and three or more years of teaching experience. 2. The applicant has a valid Texas Reading Specialist Certificate. In either case, the applicant must successfully complete a Master Reading Teacher preparation program approved by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) and pass the MRT Texas Examination for Master Teachers (TEA, 2011). As of March 2010, there were 53 SBECapproved MRT Certificate programs: 40 were university-based, eight were offered through education service centers, three were available through a university-based alternative certification program, and two were offered through independent school districts. MRT Grant Program Although MRTs may be employed at any K-12 school campus, Texas offers a MRT state stipend that provides a monetary incentive for MRTs to seek employment at school campuses 19

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 demonstrating the greatest needs (TEA, 2011). School campuses are identified as “high-need” based upon student achievement data from state standardized assessments and maintain this classification for a three year period. An eligible school campus may assign up to three MRTs to receive the state stipend, which is $5,000 annually. Supervision of the MRT is the responsibility of the school district. From 2005-2010, 134 Texas school districts applied for the MRT Grant Program and received the annual stipend to employ 1,317 MRTs. MRT Roles and Responsibilities (Note: figure 1 is seen in the Appendix) According to TEA (2006), the primary responsibilities of a MRT are to teach reading to students and serve as a professional reading resource at the school campus. The required knowledge and skills of a MRT are categorized into five domains. Within these domains, six standards specify 13 competencies (see Figure 1). Analysis of these required knowledge and skills led to the development of a conceptual framework that articulates three perceived roles of a MRT: (a) teach reading to students; (b) instructional designer and assessor; and (c) campus reading resource (see Figure 2). Figure 2 organizes the 13 MRT competencies with their coordinating role and visually represents how all three roles work towards fostering students’ reading achievement. Figure 2. Conceptual framework for roles and responsibilities of MRTs.

Teach Reading to Students (Competencies 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, & 11) Campus Reading Resource

Instructional Design & Assessment

(Competencies 12 & 13)

(Competencies 8 & 9)

Campus Student Reading Achievement

At the time of this study, literature regarding MRTs was greatly limited, and no data were found that explored how MRTs were utilized at their school campuses. Since school districts continue to apply for and receive the MRT stipend, it is important for educational stakeholders, particularly at high-need school campuses, to ensure MRTs have sufficient time to perform in each of their required roles: a reading teacher, instructional designer and assessor, and campus reading resource.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Methods Participants A Public Information Request (PIR) was submitted to TEA requesting a list of school campuses that applied for and received a MRT stipend during the school years 2005-2006; 2006-2007; 2007-2008; 2008-2009; and 2009-2010. The PIR indicated that 132 school districts had applied for and received MRT grants during this time. Permission to conduct research was sought from each of the 132 school districts, and 69 indicated they no longer have MRTs at school campuses due to lack of budgeting. Twenty-eight school districts either denied permission or were unresponsive to the request to conduct research, and two school districts charged exorbitant fees to researchers. Of the 132 eligible school districts, thirty-three approved the request to conduct research. Research Design This ex post facto study utilized a quantitative methodology and did not manipulate any variables or conditions. To realize the purpose of this study, the three roles of MRTs were operationalized into the constructs of Teach Reading to Students; Instructional Design & Assessment; and Campus Reading Resource. The 13 MRT competencies were then categorized with their corresponding role (see Figure 2). A researcher-created cross-sectional survey measured the amount of daily time MRTs spent engaged in competencies related to each role. For each competency, MRTs selected one of the following response categories: N/A, less than 1 hour, 1-2 hours, 3-4 hours, or 5 or more hours. One open-ended response was also included so MRTs could add any additional responsibilities they had while serving as a MRT. Surveys were distributed electronically to school districts following their protocol, and school district personnel then forwarded the survey to the MRTs. Many school district personnel shared challenges they encountered when attempting to locate MRTs. Reasons included some MRTs moved within or outside of the school district and were difficult to track, and MRTs were no longer at a school campus once the stipend grant ceased. Survey responses were received from 33 MRTs. Once the MRTs’ surveys were collected, data were entered into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Competencies were grouped by MRT role, and means were calculated for each response category (i.e., N/A, less than 1 hour, 1-2 hours, 3-4 hours, and 5 or more hours). A percentage for daily time within each response category was then calculated for each of the three MRT roles. Results Figure 3 shows data related to the MRT role of teaching reading to students. As shown in Figure 3, 32% of the survey respondents reported they taught reading 1-2 hours each day, and 25% taught reading less than 1 hour each day. Therefore, more than half of the survey respondents reported they taught reading to students up to 2 hours on a given school day. The data also 21

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 showed that 13% of survey respondents either did not teach reading to students at all or taught reading to students more than 5 hours each school day. Figure 3. Average amount of daily time MRTs reported they address MRT competencies related to the role of teaching reading to students (i.e., Competencies 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, and 11). Teach Reading to Students N/A

13% 13% 17%

Less than 1 Hour


1-2 Hours


Figure 4 shows survey respondents’ responses to the MRT role of instructional design and assessment. As shown in Figure 4, a total of 68% of survey respondents participated in activities related to instructional design and assessment either 1-2 hours or less than 1 hour each day. The data also showed that while 6% of survey respondents reported they do not engage in instructional design and assessment at all, 26% reported that they either spend 3-4 hours or more than 5 hours in this role each day. Figure 4. Average amount of daily time MRTs reported they address MRT competencies related to the role of instructional design and assessment (i.e., Competencies 8 and 9). Instructional Design & Assessment 10% 6% N/A 16%

Less than 1 Hour


1-2 Hours


Data related to the MRT role of campus reading resource are shown in Figure 5. Analysis of this data showed that 69% of survey respondents spend either 1-2 hours or less than one hour in this role each day. However, the data also revealed that 21% of survey respondents do not serve as a campus reading resource at all. 22

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Figure 5. Average amount of daily time MRTs reported they address MRT competencies related to the role of campus reading resource (i.e., Competencies 12 and 13). Campus Reading Resource 5% 5%


21% Less than 1 Hour

32% 37%

1-2 Hours

Figure 6 shows a comparison of the amount of daily time survey respondents indicated they spend in each of the three MRT roles: teaching reading to students, designing instruction and assessment and serving as a campus reading resource. Analysis of Figure 6 showed that while some of the survey respondents spend a proportionate amount of daily time in each of the three MRT roles, others did not. This raises the question, What prevents MRTs from performing in each of the three required roles? Figure 6. Comparison of MRTs average daily time spent in the following roles: teach reading to students, instructional design and assessment, and campus reading resource. 12 10 8 6 4 2 0

Teach Reading to Students Instructional Design & Assessment N/A Less 1-2 than 1 Hours 3-4 More Hours than 5 Hour hours

Campus Reading Resource

Information related to this question was provided through responses given to the open-ended question on the survey that sought information regarding additional campus duties and responsibilities. The information provided was analyzed and grouped into the following categories: administrative duties, teaching duties, committee membership, and campus support duties. Although some of these duties and responsibilities are delineated in the MRT competencies, the survey respondents perceived them as additional tasks.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Administrative Roles Responses relevant to administrative roles were subdivided into the following two categories: administrative roles and administrative paperwork. With regards to administrative roles, two survey respondents reported they were required to serve as the campus testing coordinator or Response to Intervention (RTI) coordinator. With regards to administrative paperwork, one survey respondent was responsible for Student Success Initiative (SSI) documentation, and another survey respondent was charged with rewriting the district policy for dyslexia. Teaching Roles Seven survey respondents listed additional teaching responsibilities. One survey respondent was also the campus English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, and two survey respondents indicated they also taught classes in a bilingual classroom. Another survey respondent was also the campus math coach. Furthermore, one survey respondent reported that their initial MRT duties involved working as a reading interventionist with students in Grades 4 and 5 who were unsuccessful on state standardized reading assessments; however, this individual was later placed in a Grade 5 class “due to unforeseen circumstances.” Finally, two survey respondents reported they were required to hold extended tutorials after school and on Saturdays. Committee Membership Survey respondents revealed seven different types of campus committee memberships: RTI committee, Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC), budget committee, curriculum committee, school organization committee, grant committee, and Campus Education Instructional Committee (CEIC). On each of these committees, survey respondents were either members or served as the chairperson. One survey respondent also indicated that they were the campus dyslexia designee, while another survey respondent reported that they were part of the professional learning community on campus. Although the scope and nature for each committee was unique, membership required additional time and effort from these survey respondents, which took away time from MRT duties and responsibilities. Support Duties Survey respondents revealed five different types of support duties required on their campuses. These included cafeteria, morning hall, and afternoon hall duties, as well as serving as a University Interscholastic League (UIL) coach or spelling bee sponsor. Discussion As mentioned previously, MRTs are intended to serve as a campus reading resource specialist to both students and teachers. At their school campuses, MRTs are intended to apply knowledge and skills related to 13 competencies, which can be categorized into three distinct roles: teach reading to students, participate in instructional and assessment activities, and serve as a campus reading resource (see Figure 2). As shown in Figure 2, it is critical for MRTs to function in all three roles in order to foster students’ development of literacy.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 The results of this study did show the majority of survey respondents addressed competencies within all three MRT roles during a school day. However, some of the survey respondents indicated a disproportionate amount of daily time was spent in the three MRT roles: there was either too much or not enough. As school districts employ MRTs to serve students’ literacy needs, especially high-need campuses that qualify for the MRT Grant Program, it is critical for campus administrators ensure MRTs are able to function within all three roles. Otherwise, it would be challenging to justify the need for a MRT, and it would be difficult to determine the effect employment of a MRT has on students’ reading achievement. With this in mind, the survey respondents’ comments to the open-ended question provided critical information related to the purpose of this study. The majority of survey respondents shared information related to duties and responsibilities perceived as additional tasks: administrative duties, teaching duties, committee membership, and campus support duties. While these duties and responsibilities were necessary elements for a school campus, it brings to light the importance of ensuring campus personnel is utilized in the most effective manner to promote student achievement. Research articulates essential elements and support structures for campus administrators to establish successful literacy programs on school campuses. According to Moran (2007), one significant component of successful literacy programs is the identification of a clear purpose. Improving literacy must be a campus-wide effort; therefore, campus administrators must develop and implement a literacy action plan (Irvin, Meltzer, & Dukes, 2007). Once implemented, it is the campus administrator’s responsibility to monitor its effectiveness through frequent data analysis and use this information to guide decision-making. Literacy action plans should also be proactive and have the support of the school’s faculty. While casting a common vision to foster students’ literacy development, a literacy action plan also provides a clear structure for MRTs to function within. Campus administrators must also ensure MRTs have clearly defined roles and responsibilities (Moran, 2007). As the “central force of leadership influence” (Wallace Foundation, 2013, p. 6), a campus administrator should be seen as “leaders of learning,” rather than the school district employee who carries out school district rules and policies. Just as a school district clearly articulates the roles and responsibilities of professionals hired into campus administration, campus administrators must apply this practice to their campus staff. Campus administrators must clearly define and communicate each staff member’s role and responsibilities in order to enable staff members to fulfill expectations and work together to achieve the campus’s common purpose. MRTs play a significant role in the development of literacy among students in Texas public schools. In order for schools to continue striving for excellence in literacy, MRTs serve as a valuable campus resource when they function in each of their required roles: teach reading to students; instructional design & assessment; and campus reading resource. As the data showed, many MRTs reported an imbalance among these roles and also cited additional roles and responsibilities that were required. Campus administrators have the potential to correct any imbalances that exist among MRTs on their campuses and ensure all students have access to literacy professionals dedicated to fulfill their intended purpose. 25

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 References Irvin, J. L., Meltzer, J., & Dukes, M. S. (2007). Taking action on adolescent literacy: An implementation guide for school leaders. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Moran, M. C. (2007). Differentiated literacy coaching: Scaffolding for student and teacher success. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Texas Education Agency. (2006). Texas examination for master teachers: Preparation manual – Master Reading Teachers (Vol. 85). Retrieved from http://www.texes.ets.org/assets/pdf/testprep_manuals/085_mrt.pdf Texas Education Agency. (2011). Master Reading Teacher FAQ. Retrieved from http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index3.aspx?id=5271 Wallace Foundation. (2013). The school principal as leader: Guiding schools to better teaching and learning. New York, NY: Wallace Foundation.

Dr. Laurie McAdams is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Tarleton State University. mcadams@tarleton.edu .


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Appendix Figure 1. Domains, standards, and competencies of MRTs (TEA, 2006). Domain I - Foundations of Reading Knowledge and Instruction, Part I Standard I: The MRT applies knowledge of the interrelated components of reading across all developmental stages, including oral language, phonological awareness, the alphabetic principle, word analysis, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, written language, and concepts of print, and has expertise in reading instruction at the primary, intermediate/middle, or high school level. Competency 001 – The MRT applies knowledge of oral language skills and development to teach reading. Competency 002 – The MRT applies knowledge of phonological and phonemic awareness skills and development to teach reading. Competency 003 – The MRT applies knowledge of the alphabetic principle to teach reading. Competency 004 – The MRT applies knowledge of word analysis skills and development to teach reading. Domain II - Foundations of Reading Knowledge and Instruction, Part II Standard I: The MRT applies knowledge of the interrelated components of reading across all developmental stages, including oral language, phonological awareness, the alphabetic principle, word analysis, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, written language, and concepts of print, and has expertise in reading instruction at the primary, intermediate/middle, or high school level. Competency 005 – The MRT applies knowledge of reading fluency at the word and text level to teach reading. Competency 006 – The MRT applies knowledge of vocabulary development and reading comprehension to teach reading. Competency 007 – The MRT applies knowledge of written language and concepts of print to facilitate and promote student literacy. Domain III – Principles of Instructional Design, Delivery, and Assessment in Reading Standard II: The MRT selects and administers appropriate reading assessments on an ongoing basis and uses the results to design, inform, and adjust instruction to promote literacy. Standard III: The MRT designs and implements reading instruction that reflects state content and performance standards and addresses the varied learning needs of all students. Competency 008 – The MRT knows how to design and implement reading instruction that reflects state content and performance standards, addresses the varied learning needs of all students, and is based on converging evidence from research. Competency 009 – The MRT knows how to select and administer appropriate reading assessments on an ongoing basis and uses the results to design, inform, and adjust reading instruction. Domain IV – Reading Instruction and Assessment for Students with Diverse Backgrounds and Needs Standard IV: The MRT applies knowledge of primary and second language acquisition, including the relationship between the development of these two languages, to facilitate and promote literacy. Standard V: The MRT applies knowledge of reading difficulties, dyslexia, and reading disabilities to facilitate and promote literacy. Competency 010 – The MRT applies knowledge of primary and secondary language acquisition, including the relationship between the development of these languages, to facilitate and promote literacy. Competency 011 – The MRT applies knowledge of reading difficulties, dyslexia, and reading disabilities to teach reading. Domain V – Roles of the MRT Standard VI: The MRT facilitates appropriate, research-based reading instruction by communicating and collaborating with educational stakeholders; mentoring, coaching, and consulting with colleagues; providing professional development for faculty; and making decisions based on converging evidence from research. Competency 012 – The MRT knows how to communicate and collaborate with educational stakeholders to facilitate implementation of appropriate, research-based reading instruction. Competency 013 – The MRT knows how to provide professional development through mentoring, coaching, and consultation with colleagues to facilitate implementation of appropriate, research-based reading instruction.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Finding a Superintendent’s Position: Challenges for African American Women in Texas Dr. Diana Vaughn Dr. Vance Vaughn

Abstract African American women are underrepresented in the superintendency in Texas. This study analyzed potential reasons for this underrepresentation. Barriers found included non-minority populated school districts, search firms and school boards that appeared hesitant to hire women of color, race, gender, African American women’s unwillingness to relocate, and fear of applying for the position. Accepting the notion that these barriers are currently embedded in the professional culture of the Texas superintendency, the researchers offer suggestions that might strengthen African American women’s possibilities for placement in these positions. Moreover, the study and manuscript provides “voice” to those who may be marginalized. Keywords: social justice, African American women superintendents, superintendent applicants Introduction Effectively filling the superintendent position is often a daunting task for school boards, and is one of the most significant responsibilities of this group of elected officials. In a climate of increased accountability with the never-ending struggle to acquire adequate financial resources, hiring a superintendent who is visionary, courageous, and encompasses the vast skill set needed to lead in the 21st century is more critical than ever. Hiring women to lead districts under these critical circumstances often frightens school board members tremendously (Vaughn, 2008). For school boards to merely entertain the idea of hiring an African American woman to lead in this capacity would require a level of trust, respect, and admiration (Vaughn, 2008). Consequently, African American women are seriously underrepresented in the superintendency in Texas. The majority of teachers in Texas schools are women, yet very few of them manage to occupy the top school executive position. Although the number of women superintendents doubled in the 1990s, from 6.6 percent to 13.2 percent, men (87 percent) continue to dominate the superintendency (Glass, 2000). Alston (2005) stated “there are nearly 15,000 superintendents nationally, yet only 2,000 are women” (p. 676). This 2,000 represents only 7.5 percent of superintendents. A recent review of the official records from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) Data Request identified five African American women as superintendents in public schools in Texas during the 2012-2013 school year. African American women superintendents occupy a mere .003 percent of these top leadership posts.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 This study examined this lack of representation by analyzing obstacles and recommending strategies for overcoming barriers. Narrative inquiry qualitative method with storytelling design allowed African America women to tell their own stories (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000). Five women superintendents participated because there were only five African American women practicing as superintendents in Texas at the time of the study. Pseudonyms (Barrett, Dalton, Eason, Hilliard, and Freeman) are used to protect the identity of the participants who will be called Barrett, Dalton, Eason, Hilliard and Freeman). Through their voices, we hear powerful stories of strong and courageous women who overcame significant barriers to reach the highest administrative level in Texas school districts. Their stories can prepare other African American women as they aspire to become a superintendent in Texas. Barriers to Success The stories revealed seven barriers that were impediments to African American women seeking superintendent positions: non-minority populated school districts; search firm influence; school boards’ bias; race and gender issuues; relocation issues; and applicant fear. Non-minority or low-minority populated school districts. The African American women in this study were superintendents in heavily minority populated school districts. Having applied in predominately majority districts and being constantly rejected, perceptions were African American women were better suited for leading districts with high minority students. Ms. Dalton offered, “The search firm told me that I needed to apply for positions in minority populated districts because my chances would be greater.” Another participant, Ms. Barrett reported a similar experience, “The district wanted a minority because the community and school was heavily minority populated.” Search firm influence. At some point in the search for a superintendency, Ms. Dalton used search firms to no avail. She stated: I used two different search firms when applying for a superintendent position. I never heard anything back from anyone when I applied unless I initiated contact. Maybe they did not know me well enough, or maybe the connection was not there. But, I feel the search firm was a barrier for me because I was not in the network. Dalton goes on to say, I actually had one of the largest search firms in the country tell me that they did not know what I expected, I was already superintendent of North Chicago. I was Black; I was a woman, and there was not much hope for me in that search.

School board bias. School boards tend to hire people like themselves to educate the students in their districts (Shakeshaft, 1989; Hill, 2005a). Grogan (2004) added that women of color have the best chance of being hired as superintendent if school boards are relatively diverse. Ms. Eason, found this barrier to exist when she was hired as superintendent only after a minority representative was voted on the school board.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Race and gender issues. The rules tended to change for women, and again for women of color. Ms. Eason’s story relates here frustration. We hear things that are already not true, but these things we hear are given as reasons for not to hire African American women, and people are not going to directly come out and say because she is a woman we did not hire her, or we hired him because he is a man. Laws supposedly protect us from that type of discrimination. However, the exclusionary practices that actually occur make the laws non-effective. So I say yes, race and gender are barriers to the superintendency for us [African American women and women in general]. Ms. Hilliard agreed I may be naïve, but I think the major one [barrier] has been that districts have not really been open to female superintendents, and especially African American or minority superintendents. The districts that are open for minorities to apply for those positions are generally looking for the male image. We [African American women] kind of hit a glass ceiling when we apply especially as a first-time superintendent because board members will say, well, we need someone that is experienced, and I agree. I would want that person to have experience too. Ms. Barrett concurred I think we also have to understand that, yes; there are some barriers out there. I think that very definitely being an African American woman is a double whammy. I honestly do. And I am not saying that as an excuse either because I am an African American woman that has achieved superintendency, but I do think it is a double whammy. I think that we would be disillusioned if we perceived that others perceived us as being on equal footing. Everybody knows we know there are barriers that exist because of the color of our skin and our gender. There still are, and very much so, barriers out there because of our race and gender and there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It might be subtle, but it is there. And, if you study it close enough, you will see that it is there. I see the looks. I see the shifting; I saw and experienced a whole lot of things. Oh yes, these barriers were there for me. Relocation Issues. The majority of women in this study had families that were rooted in these communities, and it was difficult for them to pack up everything and leave. Although all participants believed their hiring chances would improve if they were willing to search statewide for a superintendent position, Ms. Dalton one of two remaining applicants in a search, withdrew her name because it was too far for her to drive. She offered: I had a good chance of acquiring a position as superintendent, but the location was too far for me to drive. I could not move. My children are in school here and my husband works here [an adjacent town]. This is home. It would be practically impossible for me to live there and come home on the weekends. My life is not built that way. Similarly, Barrett added: One of the other barriers is my reluctance to relocate. I’m really pretty much bound to this general vicinity and because I am, there’s not a whole heck of a lot of superintendent jobs around here One other barrier that I will have is that I won’t just work anywhere just to get a promotion. I have to work somewhere 30

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 where I’m going to be compatible, and where work is going to make a significant impact. Applicant fear. According to Superintendent Hillard “I worked in the district for over 20 years before I finally had the courage to apply.” Hillard spent 20 years as a principal before she entered central office as superintendent. Her 20 years were spent back and forth between the high school and elementary school. After more than 20 years in this district, she had the opportunity to be promoted to the superintendent position. A promotion to the superintendency was somewhat different from actually going through an application process for a superintendent position. A “promotion” to the superintendency means a person has been “chosen” to occupy that position and usually will not face any opposition; however, in Texas there is a twenty-one day wait period, and the board votes on that position. Hillard did not apply for vacancies in the superintendent position because she had the fear of being rejected at some point in the application process. She wanted a promotion and after several short, unsuccessful superintendents, the Board promoted Hillard. Hillard stated: I think because I was from this area and was accepted by the whole community, I did not encounter any hurdles. If I had tried to secure another superintendent job, I’m quite sure there would have been an issue. But, because I went to high school here, my parents were here, and I worked here over 20 years before becoming a superintendent, the transition was smooth. Everyone knew me. I had taught or worked with two generations before becoming superintendent, and had worked closely with board members and their children previously. I didn’t have those barriers that probably another superintendent applicant would have had. The trust was built before I was named superintendent, and is still here. Recommendations for Overcoming Barriers Build Positive Relationships Relationships are powerful (Pavan, 1999). Not having a relationship with community members, employees and especially board members could easily destroy a woman’s, and especially an African American woman’s, chance of gaining a superintendent’s position. The women in this study exhibited a strong open-door policy that allowed people to feel comfortable around them. Strong community connections worked well for them. They were able to connect with the community and gain its support. Know Yourself African American women must know why they are leading, embrace the differences and challenges, and overcome the fear that settles in their minds and hearts. This strength can be found in a spiritual foundation that all of these African American women possess. Spirituality was viewed as the faith they rely on to lead and be accepted, to overcome rejection, and better accept failure. These dedicated women are committed to the hard work of the superintendency. Their love for children stretches the ethics of care well beyond the school day.


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.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Conclusion African American women have a better chance of acquiring a superintendent position in the school district where they grew up and worked for an extensive period of time. This was the case for all but one of the women in this study. In addition, African American women have a stronger chance of acquiring a superintendent position in a small school district with mainly minority populations. This conclusion is consistent with Jackson’s (2006) research. Also, the importance of African American women to build positive relationships in the community with all stakeholders and establish a reputation of fairness, loyalty and trust are paramount. The African American women superintendents in this study defied the odds. They recommended encouraging other African American women, in Hillard’s words, to “go for it.” They surmounted these barriers. Through our lens we can afford to do no less. African American women and women in general should continue the fight for social justice.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 References Alston, J.A. (2005). Tempered radicals and servant leaders: Black females persevering in the superintendency. Educational Administration Quarterly, 41(4), 675-688. Brunner, C. C., & Grogan, M. (2007). Women leading school systems: Uncommon roads to fulfillment. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Education. Clandinin, D., & Connelly, F. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, Inc. Glass, T.E. (2000, June). Where are all the women superintendents? [Electronic version]. American Association of School Administrators, The School Administrator Web Edition. Retrieved September 27, 2006, from http://www.aasa.org/publications/saarticledetail.efm?ItemNumber=4046&snItemNumber Glass, T., Bjork, L., & Brunner, C. (2000). The study of the American superintendency: 2000. Arlington, VA: American Association of School Administrators. Grogan, M.L. (2004). U.S. women top executive leaders in education: Building communities of learners. Retrieved July 29, 2005, from University of Missouri-Columbia Web site: http://web.hku.hk/-cel2004/Proceedings/016-MargaretGrogam.doc. Grogan, M., & Brunner, C.C. (2005, February). Women leading systems. [Electronic version]. American Association of School Administrators. Retrieved July 19, 2005. From http://www.sa.org/publications/sa/2005_02/grogan.htm Hill, R. (2005a, November). Hard lesson for minorities seeking top school job. The Austin American Statesman. Retrieved March 23, 2006, from http://www.statesman.com Jackson, R. L. (2006). Breaking the hiring barrier. American School Board Journal. 193(6), 2426. Pavan, B.N. (1999). The first years: What should a female superintendent know beforehand: In C.C. Brunner (Ed.) Sacred dreams: Women and the superintendency (pp. 105-123). Albany N.Y.: State University of New York Press. Robicheau, J., Haar, J., & Raskin, C. (2008, October). The superintendency: Challenges faced by aspiring women leaders. Paper presented at the Women in Leadership Conference, Lincoln, NE. Shakeshaft, C., Brown, G., Irby, B.J., Grogan, M., & Ballenger, J. (2007). Increasing equity in educational leadership. In S.Klein, C.Dwyer, L.Fox, D.Grayson, C.Kramarae, D. Pollard, & B. Richardson (Eds.). Handbook for achieving gender equity through education (pp. 103-129). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Vaughn, D. (2008). The barriers voiced by African American women superintendents in Texas (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMNo. 3324004). Washington, Y. C., Miller, S. K., & Rene, J. R. (2007). Their work, identity, and entry to the profession. Journal of Women in Educational Leadership, 5(4), 263-83.

Dr. Diana Vaughn is currently serving as Federal Programs Director for Athens ISD. Dr. Vance Vaughn is an Associate Professor with The University of Texas at Tyler in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. vvaughn@uttyler.edu .


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 21st Century Leadership and Learning A Case for Action Research and Online Programs Dr. Steve Jenkins Dr. LuAnna Stephens

Abstract This study examines the components of a successful online program at Lamar University that focuses on the implementation of action research project in Educational Leadership. The authors present strong literature support for the innovation required in the online learning environment. Keywords: educational leadership, online degree programs, action research

Introduction into the Brave New World Walk onto most college campuses and you enter lecture halls and classrooms with the desks arranged in row after row. At the front of the room, you find an elevated platform where the distinguished professor delivers his or her lecture to students who often passively sit and get, and you return to an 18th, 19th, or 20th century concept of instruction. In his insightful analysis of the fate of American colleges and universities, Richard DeMillo, Director of the Center for 21st Century Universities, concluded, “American universities are faculty-centered . . . facultycentered universities turn their attention inward toward the needs of professors and their profession, they become protective, rigid, and inevitably irrelevant” (DeMillo, 2011, p. 21). Ian Jukes and technology leaders have warned our educational establishments to avoid: “TTWWADI – That’s The Way We’ve Always Done It,” (Kelly, McCain and Jukes, 2009, p. 10). In this paper, the authors describe their experiences trying to design a 21st century online graduate program that can serve as an experimental laboratory of learning and leadership. The 21st century students are not connected to these traditional classrooms and can no longer be viewed as the repositories of all the needed knowledge that students must master to succeed in today’s world. University Programs must change or become extinct as institutions of higher learning! The authors suggest if John Dewey were alive today, he would see online education as a new way to provide for laboratories of learning. Dewey certainly recognized the evolution of our educational environments. In his classic work, Democracy and Education, he wrote, “Since growth is the characteristic of life, education is all one with growing; it has no end beyond itself. The criterion of the value of school education is the extent in which it creates a desire for


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 continued growth and supplies means for making the desire effective in fact,” (Dewey, 1924, p. 62) Nearly fifty years ago, professor and social commentator Marshall McLuhan wrote the Medium is the Massage. The extensive growth of online graduate programs has demonstrated that the messages, like the massages, are indeed delivered by multi-media that McLuhan may never have imagined. In 1967, McLuhan wrote, “Today’s child is bewildered when he enters the 19th century environment that still characterizes the educational establishment where information is scarce but ordered and structured by fragments, classified patterns, subjects, and schedules, (McLuhan and Fiore, 1967).” The 21st century trend will continue toward an extensive expansion of online education. The Sloan Consortium reports, "The rate of growth in online enrollments remains extremely robust," said study co-author Jeff Seaman, Co-Director of the Babson Survey Research Group. "This is somewhat surprising given that overall higher education enrollments actually declined during this period," (Sloan Consortium, 2013) Many technology enthusiasts have concluded that we are experiencing the intersection of two generations, the Digital Natives (most of our students) and the Digital Immigrants (many of the current faculty), (Prensky, 2012). The implications of this intersection should encourage universities to engage in courageous conversations exploring how change occurs in the 21st century classroom to take advantage of the emerging technology tools. These tools can enrich and improve the flow of information and interaction with students as programs prepare them for citizenship and servant leadership in our global village. Through the use of innovative technology tools, universities now have the ability to create virtual classrooms that are available to all students connecting to institutions of higher education. Dewey recognized the power of changing technologies. In What I Believe, he wrote, “Experience now owns as a part of itself scientific methods of discovery and test; it is marked by ability to create techniques and technologies – that is, arts which arrange and utilize all sorts of conditions and energies, physical and human. These new possessions give experience and its potentialities a radically new meaning. It is a commonplace that since the seventeenth century science has revolutionized our beliefs about outer nature, and it also beginning to revolutionize those about man,” (Dewey, 1930, p. 23). Clearly technology has created the virtual classroom of learning that is accessible 24/7/365. Online educational leaders must find a way to make the 24/7/365 classrooms laboratories of learning and leadership. Scholars have often given John Dewey credit for establishing the famous Lab School at the University of Chicago. More recent research has identified Alice Chipman Dewey, the wife of John Dewey, as the day to day director of the Lab School where Dewey’s educational theories were given real-life application. Ella Flagg Young, a student of Dewey at the University of Chicago, earned her doctoral degree, and went on to serve as Supervisor of the Lab School and then served as the first woman Superintendent of Chicago


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Public Schools, (Fischer, 2012). The Dewey’s and several progressive, pragmatic women served as leaders in the evolving experimental school movement. How can graduate programs find ways to replicate the power of the Laboratory Schools? Educational Leadership programs have found that with action research projects, graduate students are working with scholar practitioners to design, implement and evaluate educational laboratories focusing on leading and learning. Such programs become our 21st century models of Lab Schools. This link between course content and field-based practice is recognized as a critical component of effective school leadership programs (Darling-Hammond, Myerson, LaPointe, and Orr, 2010). The Darling-Hammond team emphasized the need to integrate best practices with rigorous welldesigned action research. Again, Dewey recognized the power of connecting learning and experience. In his 1924 Democracy and Education, he wrote, “The inclination to learn from life itself and to make the conditions of life such that all will learn in the process of living is the finest product of schooling,” (Dewey, 1924, p. 60). Thus, action research initiatives must be integrated into Educational Leadership programs. The Unique Design Recent scholarship in Educational Leadership has urged university graduate programs to move from traditional quantitative research-based courses to applied research that demonstrates the integration of leadership knowledge and skills with actual practice. Educational leadership and principal preparation programs should incorporate instruction in the action research process as a model to improve instruction and student learning in learner-centered leadership (Alford, Ballenger & Austin, 2006; Ringler, 2007). The Darling-Hammond team recently identified the following critical collaboration in action research to highlight exemplary leadership, principal preparation programs: 

Durable partnerships between districts and universities facilitate the development and implementation of a consistent and coherent program of professional development, (p. 188, Darling-Hammond, Myerson, LaPointe, and Orr, 2010).

Although some features, such as internships, have been shown by prior research and this study to produce powerful learning, that is only the case if they are well implemented and are mutually reinforcing with other program elements in the knowledge and skills they convey. Similarly, courses, no matter how appropriate their topic, are more powerful if they are wrapped around reinforcing clinical experiences that illustrate the principles under study and employ field-based inquiries, action research, cases, and other tools that connect theory and practice, (pp. 188 – 189, Darling-Hammond, Myerson, LaPointe, and Orr, 2010).


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 In the traditional delivery of graduate programs, universities often offer 12 distinct courses that typically include both an introductory and capstone course. Research courses are basically an introduction to research and statistics with no actual research being conducted. In many graduate programs, students can begin their programs in August, January, or June and there is no set time (beginning, middle, or end) when the research course is taken. Student course evaluations and interviews informed the authors that although the traditional research course was demanding, students saw no practical use for the information and skills in relation to their professional pursuits, nor did they identify usefulness of the course after graduation. In addition, many of the students commented that they had already forgotten most of what was learned – or memorized – for the weekly quizzes and final exam in the research course. The authors wanted to develop an action research course that would increase knowledge and skills and provide ample opportunities to apply what is being learned in the action research course. What better example of combining theory and practice to ensure that graduate students utilize the knowledge and skills acquired in the 24/7 classroom to experiment with practical applications in making their campus cultures into laboratories of learning and leadership. Additional Internship and Action Research Seminar A midway internship/action research class is designed to reinforce the leadership knowledge and skills being developed in the students’ internships and action research projects. Students write draft action research reports, review and analyze reports from others, and reflect on the entire experience. In this model, students not only possess the needed knowledge and experience for a seminar but also become experts on their own intern learning and research findings. By designing a midway internship/action research course, professors can raise the expectations of the overall internship. A Next Step The authors have helped supervise several hundred students interning and conducting action research in hundreds of districts and schools across Texas and more than 20 other states. This has provided an opportunity to collect a substantial amount of data on the internship, research in leadership, and school improvement. The storage, analysis, and dissemination of the collected data will be the responsibility of faculty and staff in the College of Education, and the university has recently entered into a partnership with another Learning Management System, TK 20, and hired additional staff to support the collection and analysis of the research data. The Educational Leadership Department has established a Clearinghouse for Action Research and School Improvement (CARSI) as a repository for the Action Research Projects. The Clearinghouse is designed to fulfill various outreach, or learning laboratory experiences: facilitate faculty and student publications, dissemination of the action research and school improvement results to practicing school administrators, support for students during their internships and research projects, serve as a vast and varied source of data for doctoral 39

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 candidates, and most of all a repository of action research projects exploring all types of issues, topics and questions facing school and public policy leaders. Often, students participating in the online program have opportunities for more interaction and engagement with lead faculty, site and field supervisors, and Instructional Associates than oncampus students. Texas Education Agency (TEA) evaluators visited and reviewed this online Educational Leadership program, and noted that the innovative online degree program “is to be commended for providing a comprehensive, research-based instructional program. It is technically appropriate for distance learning” (Texas Education Agency Executive Summary, 2010). Such commendations by Texas Education Agency demonstrate that online can maintain and sometimes surpass the quality of on-campus programs. Conclusion William Bowen, former President of Princeton University, recently urged leaders in higher education to recognize “how the intelligent harnessing of information technology through the medium of online learning might positively alter aspects of university life as we know it, (Bowen, 2013, p. 44). Universities are experiencing the transformation of going beyond the traditional institution of higher learning where students live on campus and travel from surrounding communities to attend courses held in brick-and-mortar classrooms to an institution where students carry their classrooms with them on their Smart Phones, laptops, iPods and iPads, and engage and interact with faculty, peers and support staff 24/7 for 365 days a year. Today’s 21st century students are connected to the classroom with a click of their mouse or other media that bring up the latest messages and lectures from the faculty; they participate in interactive chat rooms and discussion boards; and they connect with peers and faculty members through an evergrowing number of social networks. Growing universities have learned to design and deliver classroom instruction serving students anywhere in the world! What we offer to our students connected to the virtual classrooms must also be provided as learner-centered environments for our on-campus students. We can change how we develop and deliver instruction! In his earlier edition of Democracy and Education, Dewey wrote, “The best type of teaching bears in mind the desirability of affecting interconnection,” (Dewey, 1916, p. 249). Dewey would be ready to embrace the exciting experiences of the digital generation as he connected with them to enrich their laboratories of learning and leadership.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 References Alford, B., Ballenger, J., & Austin, S.F. (2006). Knowledge base: Use of action research to improve schools. Educational Leadership Review, 7(1), 49 – 55. Bowen, W. (2013). Higher education in the digital age. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Darling-Hammond, L., Meyerson, D., LaPointe, M., and Orr, T. (2010). Preparing principals for a changing world: Lessons from effective school leadership programs. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. DeMillo, R. (2011). Abelard to Apple: The fate of American colleges and universities. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education: an introduction to the philosophy of education. New York, NY: Free Press. Dewey, J. (1924). Democracy and education. New York: Macmillan Company. Dewey, J. (1930). What I believe. In Hickman, L. and Alexander, T., Eds., The essential Dewey, Volume I, Pragmatism, Education, Democracy. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Fischer, C. (June, 2012). Feminist-Pragmatism. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, retrieved at http://www.iep.utm.edu/fem-prag/ Kelly, F., McCain, T. and Jukes, I. (2009). Teaching the digital generation: No more cookiecutter schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. McLuhan, M. and Fiore, Q. (1968). The medium is the massage: An inventory of effects. New York, NY: Bantam Press. Prensky, M. (2012). From digital natives to digital wisdom: Hopeful essays for 21st century learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Ringler, M. (2007). Action research an effective instructional leadership skill for future public school leaders. AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice, 4(1), 27 – 42. The Sloan Consortium (2013). Changing course: Ten years tracking online education in the United States, retrieved at http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/changing_course_2012 Texas Education Agency (2010). Principal certification program report: Executive Summary. Austin, Texas. 41

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Dr. Steve Jenkins is an Associate Professor with Lamar University in the Department of Educational Leadership. msjenkins@lamar.edu Dr. Lu Anna Stephens, is also an Associate Professor with Lamar University in the Department of Educational Leadership. She is past president and a member of Texas Council of Women School Executives since 1986. Luanna.stephens@lamar.edu


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Life of Educational Administration Dr. Laura Trujillo-Jenks Keywords: new administrator, campus administrator, educational administration

Like almost anything in life, there are the good, the bad, and the ugly times. In educational administration, the good, the bad, and the ugly will look differently to each person, and those differences will make an educational administrator strong and knowledgeable. Through my experiences at the campus level, my good, bad, and ugly times gave insight into campus administration. Sharing some of these experiences are what I do when teaching principalship courses to aspiring campus leaders and what I’d like to share here. What I Have Learned When I began my career in education as a teacher, I thought that teaching was all I ever wanted to do. I wanted to teach, and I had the opportunity to do so as both a special education and general education teacher at the elementary and middle school levels. The teaching positions I held were at different schools in different states, and as a military wife, I had the chance to work in several public and Department of Defense schools. Working at different campuses and different school districts helped me understand how each school has its own personality. The personalities were evident in leadership styles, teacher personalities, campus organizations, and expectations for student success. The Good The good can be something that stays truly good throughout an experience for an administrator, or the experience can start off as not so good, but end up very good. During my third year of teaching, my assistant principal encouraged me to get my master’s degree in educational administration, which I did, but I didn’t pursue an administrative position until I thought I was a credible and masterful teacher. After seven years of teaching, I pursued an administrative position and was hired to work with 33 teachers and seven teacher aides at a high school with over 200 teachers. I had much to learn, since I had never taught at the high school level. I was nervous, excited, scared, and determined. Nevertheless, my principal told me that the other assistant principals had met with him, and they believed that I needed to take over the special education responsibilities. Hence, I became the special education coordinator and the assistant principal for students with special needs. My duties and responsibilities were overwhelming since I was only on campus for 4 days a week working an 80% contract. I was still a full-time doctoral student who attended classes all day on Mondays, a full-time parent, and I was essentially working in a full-time position while getting part-time pay! When I realized that some on the administrative team, including other females, did not support my doctoral studies I then understood that the extra duties that came my way were an effort to discourage me from reaching that goal. Nevertheless, I took my new position seriously, and although I thought I would collapse from exhaustion, I embraced the challenge. In doing so, I learned more than I believed possible about 43

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 student discipline, the hearing process, the grievance process, curriculum, and all things that matter to high school students and faculty. Throughout this administrative experience I was fortunate to have the support of my principal and those staff members who were assigned to me, which helped me focus on exceeding expectations as I performed my job. I thank God for my time in this position, because it helped me in my future work, prepared me to take on other administrative positions successfully, and gave me the knowledge and experience that I still share with my graduate students today. Who would have ever thought this would be a good time? It proved, however, to be one of my best administrative experiences. This good helped me learn to    

see a new administrative position as an opportunity to learn; love the job you are in now and learn all that you can!; have a support system in place to help you remember what is important; and suck it up and move on! Or, take everything in stride, especially things you can’t change, and show that you can accomplish any task that is given to you.

Ultimately, have fun! Find all of the positives or good in a new position first, because those positives will help you when you have to work through the negatives, or the bad times in your career. The Bad As a young administrator, the bad occurred when my inflated self-perceived and self-important bubble was burst after earning an administrative position. I applied for the special education director position within my district. Because the superintendent was a family friend and because of my cockiness and my grand delusions of my importance, I expected that I would be given the directorship. Things seemed to be going in my favor when I reached the highest interview level; however, the job went to a seasoned principal who was being reassigned. Because I had so much support from the special education staff throughout the district, I thought I had enough clout to make an appointment with the superintendent and give him “what for!” Amazingly, the superintendent met with me. To this day I will respect him for giving me the time and platform to speak to him. During the meeting, I calmly and bluntly explained to him why I thought I deserved the special education directorship and how I thought the wrong person was chosen. I also showed my 5 and 10-year plans for the program! At that point, the superintendent plainly told me that I may have the credentials and experience to take the position, but because of my youth, I would not be taken seriously. He commended my 5- and 10-year plans but stated clearly that the selection of the special education director had been made and that was that. Undaunted, I foolishly continued to argue my case. However, I conceded and left when I realized that I would hurt my chances of any future promotions. In fact, I did hurt my chances for immediate promotions, and I was blacklisted for about two years. I was finally promoted, but the two years of not being able to advance really humbled me and helped me mature into an administrator who could accurately assess my self-importance. What I learned from my black-listed, over-inflated ego experience was


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014   

there will always be others who could be perceived as a better fit for a position; being a strong self-advocate is good, but expecting that self-importance will be recognized as a good quality can be bad and misguided; and being passed over for a promotion isn’t always bad.

Most importantly, I learned to have humility and not to take myself too seriously. This bad event was nothing compared to the ugly events that came later in my career. The Ugly There may be many ugly moments that new administrators will work through, but the ugliest is when the death of a student or beloved teacher occurs. Unfortunately, I have been at campuses during both occasions. I learned that the ugly can happen in an unexpected time, manner, and place. At one high school where I loved working, we experienced a student’s death each year for a fiveyear span. We had two suicides, a murder-suicide, a drunk student who hit his head while falling from a moving car, an inexperienced driver who crashed late one night, and a terminally ill student who died from a brain tumor. A happy environment of a new campus was darkened each year with these tragedies. Worried educators became afraid to get close to the students. Many students jokingly called the high school “cursed” and “haunted”; It was clear that the students were trying to hide their fears by making light of the ugly events that plagued their high school. Another ugly moment in any administrator’s life is when a teacher dies. After living through student deaths, we faced the sorrow of losing two very adored teachers. Both deaths were due to car accidents, one that involved a drunk driver and another that involved an unfocused truck driver. Their colleagues, the students, the parents, and the community loved both teachers, because they were excellent master teachers who were respected and trusted. I also adored both of these teachers. They had natural teaching abilities. They knew how to reach each and every student in their classes, and they both genuinely cared about teaching and helping students succeed. Losing them was a great loss from every angle. These ugly times can’t be avoided, unfortunately, and the only thing that an administrator can do is lead everyone through the grief. I tried my best to be strong and to help everyone else live through their grief by remembering the beloved students and teachers. I also made sure to allow myself to grieve. At night I was able to cry and let go of my sadness to accept their deaths. With time, we were all able to get through the ugly times. From this ugly experience I learned   

death is natural, yet it will disrupt an educational environment for an undetermined period; everyone grieves differently and at different times; and to cherish those you work with and appreciate the present.

The ugly times were hard to live through, but they brought our campus family closer together and that made the ugly times good.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Now What? Now, as I teach graduate courses that focus on educational administration, I excitedly think about the “good ‘ole days” when I was on a campus helping make positive changes and finding positive changes in myself. I also recall the mistakes that I made and tell my students proudly about them, asking them to learn from me. Of course, the full picture of the past is easier to view in the present and lamentations of what could have been do creep into my mind. Nevertheless, the good, the bad, and the ugly times helped create the educator I am today, and for that I am forever thankful.

Dr. Laura Trujillo-Jenks, is an assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Texas Woman’s University, She is the lead author on three published books: Sex, Lies, Bullies, and Social Media in Schools: Practical Case Studies for Educators on Handling New Types of Issue; Survival Guide for New Teachers: How to Become a Professional, Effective, and Successful Teacher; Survival Guide for New Campus Administrators: How to Become a Professional, Effective, and Successful Administrator. ltrujillojenks@twu.edu


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Open Letter to Women Professionals Dear Women Professionals, In the world of leadership research you can read from a plethora of valuable opinions, insights and advice, but let’s have a conversation about what works no matter what your style and where you are in your leadership story. We are at different points on the same leadership trajectory, but where did your story begin? And how is it progressing? Did parents and teachers see your leadership potential blossoming early in childhood . . . through elementary school . . . and/or into college? Or were you identified later, by your principal or other school administrator. It is a privilege for principals to encourage and support teachers as emerging campus leaders. By the same token, superintendents are always on the alert for those principals who stand out for further responsibilities and advancement. On a committee, team, or board, in a department, or campus . . . anywhere people band together someone will float to the top as the leader. Cream always rises to the top! Smart administrators are always ready to take the cream to the next level because they know building leadership capacity is the key to organizational vitality and growth. Maria Tussing (2013) wrote that leaders are found in all areas of life. These leaders inspire others while working with others to accomplish a shared task. Having a sense of humor, enjoying challenges, and maintaining a positive attitude mark these as leaders who recognize the value of the organization’s human capital. Think like a leader (Welch, 2013). When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. It’s about making the people who work for you smarter, bigger, and bolder. Nothing you do matters more than how you nurture and support your educational family and team. You will win your share of attention from the higher ups, but only as much as your team is winning. Your success as a leader will come not from what you do but from the reflected glory of your team. This is very hard. It requires a whole new mindset. You are no longer thinking “How can I stand out?” but “How can I help my people do their jobs better?” The good news is that you were promoted because someone above you believed you have the stuff to make the leap from a star player to successful coach. Your effectiveness and success comes from the team’s performance. Through it all never forget---when you are a leader, it’s not about you anymore; it is about them (Welch, 2013). Become a student of leadership. The more credit you give away, the more comes back to you. From my heart to yours, Dr. Lu


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014

Leadership Legacy… A look to the future

The people of the state of Texas deserve the highest of expectations and delivery from both male and female administrators. It is our responsibility to see that our students have the best leadership possible. Remember, “It is all about the kids.” Dr. Margret Montgomery-Sheffield


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014

Lean In Through Texas Council of Women School Executives Dr. Cheryl Kelsey Dr. Patti Birney

Abstract This study combines a brief review of Sheryl Sandberg’s, “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead (2013)” from which JTWSE designed survey research for the TCWSE members. The data from the survey provides important insight and understanding into the experiences and beliefs of Texas women school executives. In Sheryl Sandberg’s best- selling book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead (2013), she examines women’s progress in achieving leadership roles and offers solutions to empower women to achieve their full potential. Sandberg, as the chief operating officer of Facebook, ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, is well qualified to encourage women to not hold back by using data, research and anecdotes as an inspiring call to action for women. According to Sandberg (2013), there are things women can do to overcome gender stereotypes, corporate structures, and sexism that may undermine a woman’s ambition. Women must “lean in” to their career rather than sitting demurely at meetings, not applying for promotions, or easing up when their children come along (Sandberg, 2013). She advises women to speak up, negotiate their salaries, ask for promotions, and look for a partner willing to help with childrearing, plan their careers, and set boundaries so as to have a life outside of work (Sandberg, 2013). With a focus on the mission of the Texas Council of Women School Executives (TCWSE), a qualitative survey was developed based on key points in Sandberg’s book as a way to promote renewal, mentoring, and career advancement support. Survey questions were designed to identify the thoughts and behaviors of successful female school executives in Texas. Responses were anonymous and based on lived experiences of being an educational leader. Of the 110 respondents, 18% were superintendents, 45% were central office administrators, 25% were campus administrators, 18% were university professors,10% were teachers, 2% were business leaders, 10% were educational consultants, 6% were Educational Service Center or Texas Education Agency professionals, and 6% were other. The majority of the women (74%) that responded to the survey had 20 or more years’ experience in schools and shared their experiences in order to help others achieve their potential. Though women have made great strides, qualified women are underrepresented in school administration in Texas, even though they fill the majority of elementary and secondary teaching positions. To better understand the career paths and perceptions of gender factors that affect advancement in school executives, recurrent themes were derived within the context of each 49

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 survey question responded to by the members of the TCWSE. The major themes that emerged included (a) awareness of gender roles, (b) promote yourself, (c) take the risk, (d) build connections (e) good enough instead of perfect, (f) empower yourself and (g) conquer fear. The first survey question, “Why is "ambitious" often considered a derogatory word when used to describe a woman, but complimentary when used to describe a man?” elicited the most responses regarding societal clues for traditional gender roles being prevalent. Responses on the survey included: “women were to be at home, not seen as having careers and men were to be the bread winners,” “historically women were to be housewives not professional women,” “society views the role of women as passive,” and “women were supposed to be quiet and sit in the background. If they are ambitious they are not fulfilling their role.” The terms arrogant, aggressive, threatening, outspoken, unladylike, bossy, vicious, and driven were adjectives used by TCWSE members to describe how the word “ambitious” might be considered derogatory when used to describe a woman. Society expects men to be ambitious but expects women, according to a TCWSE member, “to be nurturing and lacking in the killer instinct that is a traditional characteristic of ambition.” Another member stated, “Traditionally women have been expected to take non-supervisory roles. Being ambitious means taking leadership roles away from men. This gives women more power than men. Men are expected to be in power.” Deviating from the social norm and acting too confident or assertive when pursuing goals can result in a phenomenon described as the Goldilocks syndrome. That's the situation women too often find themselves in when they are not too feminine or not too masculine nor are they “just right” (McGregor, 2013). The second survey question was asked in two parts, “Do others consider you ambitious?” and “How do you view yourself?” TCWSE members viewed themselves as being ambitious with 28 “yes” and 5 “no” responses plus different variations of answers such as I consider myself to be “driven,” or “passionate,” or I am “goal oriented,” a “servant-leader,” or a “champion for what is ethical.” However, the responses were not as direct, almost as if they needed to be quantified with a feminine characteristic, when answering the question, “Do others considered you to be ambitious?” For example, perceived gender norms of women not advocating on their own behalf were evident in the members’ comments such as, “any ambition I have serves the greater good,” or “I fight for the underdog,” or “I am committed to doing the best for me and my family,” or “I am driven to succeed in order to help others.” These comments are a reflection of our society in which women are expected to put others before themselves or they may be seen as self-serving. According to Sandberg (2013) until women are willing to promote themselves and find their own voice they will continue to sacrifice being successful for being liked. The difference in the way women view themselves and how they believe others view them is influenced by external forces (Trujillo-Jenks, 2013). A female administrator may be identified by others as being kind and caring when comforting a kindergartener in the morning. That evening during a school board meeting she may be described as being cold-hearted and decisive when dealing with a budget short-fall. This same female administrator, who earlier in the day had conformed to traditional attributes of nurturing and caretaking, has now violated a stereotypical expectation of women and yet by behaving in the very same manner in the same situation, a man


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 would have lived up to the stereotypical expectations of men being financiers, and authoritarians. The results were that the public liked him and they disliked her (Sandberg, 2013). The majority of responses from TCWSE members for the next survey question, “How have you approached risk-taking in your life?” supported Sandberg’s (2013) argument for taking risks as being important to career progression. Survey comments such as, “take the risk, if it doesn’t work, try again!” or “Just do it!” or “Jump in feet first” seemed to be the norm. One member stated, “When I applied for and was hired in this position, my first administrative position, it was risky. I moved from the comfort of a library where I had worked and grown and been a campus leader to a position I didn’t know anything about. That was a huge risk for me. But I was ready to take the leap into something new and challenging.” Being a risk-taker has been demonstrated to be a positive attribute that can be used to increase the number of women in leadership roles in education. One respondent stated, “I make sure the decision to pursue the risk is aligned to my goal and take the risk even when I think it just might kill me.” A common theme was the amount of preparation prior to taking the risk. One survey respondent stated, “When taking any risk, I try to gather as much data as possible so I am better prepared than my colleagues,” and another commented, “I try to examine all aspects of issues before addressing them. Once I have a clear direction, I am not hesitant to move forward with it. I am not afraid to make mistakes as long as I know the course I have taken is the correct one for the situation. In addition to planning, one member also relied on her faith and include this comment, “With faith in God and His plans for me, I’m able to confidently be a risk taker.” The basis for the next survey question was a chapter in Sandberg’s (2013) book titled, “Are you my Mentor?” The title refers to a children's book called Are You My Mother? (Eastman,1960). In this story, a little bird searches for his mother, asking different objects and animals that question. Sandberg says she dreads hearing that equally mournful "will you be my mentor?" question from women. She is not against mentoring but believes we are teaching women to be too dependent on others. Sandberg (2013) notes that "searching for a mentor has become the professional equivalent of waiting for Prince Charming. Now young women are told that if they can just find the right mentor, they will be pushed up the ladder and whisked away to the corner office to live happily ever after”(p. 66). When TCWSE members were asked, “How has mentorship worked from your experience?” their responses were as varied as their experiences. Comments from members that had not experienced a strong connection with a mentor wrote: “It has been difficult for me to find a mentor that truly believes in mentoring,” “Not good. Most of my mentors are anti-mentors,” “Unfortunately, professionally I have not had a solid mentor,” “Beautifully for many, horribly for me,” and “Not very well in regard to women mentoring women.” Other members, having experienced a positive relationship with a mentor, wrote: “My mentor was inspiring and helpful. She pushed me in the right areas and played to my strengths to help me be successful and confident,” “It is with the help and inspiration of mentors that brought me to the level of a central administrator,” and “Without the mentorship, I’m not sure I would have achieved what I have in my career.”


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Other comments by TCWSE members support Sandberg’s (2013) theory of the relationship being more important than the label of “mentor.” Often, collegial relations are more reciprocal than they appear, especially in the same educational system. One colleague may receive more guidance, but they all benefit from the information. Survey responses from members benefiting from this type of connection wrote: “I like to say having friends who are colleagues is mentoring,” “I learn from unofficial mentors all of the time. I learn from colleagues just by listening to them discuss their challenges and their success,” and “I’m not sure I’ve ever had an official mentor. I have been lucky to have wonderful models of leadership.” Sandberg (2013) blasts the myth of "having it all," or even "doing it all," and points to a poster on the wall at Facebook as a good motto: "Done is better than perfect." This motto is the basis of the next survey question, “What perfectionist attitudes have you dropped in order to find contentment?” Responses on ways to find contentment from 11 members of TCWSE addressed the expectations for a clean house and included: “At home I quit thinking that everything has to be perfect and clean,” “I only sweep and mop every other week,” “I stopped focusing on the house but I learned too late,” and “My house may not always be spic and span.” Other members found themselves adopting the attitude of “good enough instead of perfect,” or “I do the best I can and move on,” or “the best getting better attitude.” Not all TCWSE members agreed with Sandberg (2013) and her theory of “done is better than perfect.” One member stated, “In all honesty, I am not sure how you measure it. I think truly-if one is planning to do something, especially in education, then they need to commit fully and do it well. To just get it done is really just mediocrity. When is a leader ever known for being mediocre?” “Another member agreed by stating, “We are role models in everything we do, that is why we have to do it all and do it well.” The next survey question focused on the negative connotations of the term "feminist" and asked, “Is TCWSE a feminist organization? If so, how might we positively change or reframe our image?” Of the 47 responses, 30 members stated TCWSE was not a feminist organization. Responses included: “I don’t think it is a feminist organization, I have not heard or seen any bashing of men or claims that women are better than men or don’t need men. Our focus is on empowering women who choose to lead and encouraging them on that journey,” “No. I don’t consider TCWSE “feminist” in any way. We do not encourage each other to live counter to men, but seek to work together to accomplish the best outcomes from which everyone, man or woman, can benefit,” and “ It’s an organization for women, but that doesn’t make it a feminist organization.” Sandberg (2013) proudly calls herself a feminist and defines a feminist as “someone who believes in social, political, and economic equality of the sexes” (p.158). Although fewer in number, there were members that believed TCWSE was a feminist organization and included the following responses in their surveys: “I think that TCWSE is a feminist organization. In the early years, when I was part of NOW, I remember being a bit defensive. One of my supervisors reminded me that I could change more minds by being more positive, less defensive. He was correct. I feel that TCWSE provides a positive network,” “It is a feminist organization. I don’t apologize,” and “Yes, but we need to make sure that others don’t see this as anti-men.”


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 The final survey questions were, "What would you do if you weren't afraid?" and “What are (were) your fears while building a career in school leadership?” Sandberg (2013) believes fear is at the root of many barriers women face, including the fear of not being liked, making the wrong choice, overreaching, being judged, failure, and the worst fear of all is that of being a bad mother, wife, or daughter. TCWSE members commented on the difficulties of being able to balance life as “mom” and as a “superintendent.” Caring for a family became the priority over the desire for a more influential and visible leadership role in education. Sandberg (2013) acknowledges the difficulties of being a working mother trying to juggle family responsibilities with a demanding job. She advises women to choose a spouse who will split the responsibilities at the home equally and is willing “to sit at the table…the kitchen table” (p.120). One of the more controversial points in Sandberg’s book (2013) is that society is not the only thing holding women back. Sandberg (2013) states that women are holding themselves back because of their own fear of failure. Men are more likely to judge their own performance as better than it is, while women are likely to judge their performance as worse than reality (Sandberg, 2013). The following survey responses by TCWSE members demonstrate how fear has undermined their self-confidence and ambition at times: “I would have been a principal or central administrator or superintendent long before now. I did not know I could do it. That was fear! If it had not been for my mentor as an AP, I never would have gone further in administration,” “I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to make the necessary decisions that are needed on a daily basis,” “That secretly I suck and everybody has or will figure it out. It’s only a matter of time,” “I might make a mistake and not be smart enough,” and “ I am afraid of not succeeding on the scale that I and others expect of me-not living up to very high expectations.” As professional women, we have a choice to focus on our own self-defeating internal responses to fear, advocate for ourselves, and take that risk. This survey is limited in that it is self-reported data from one organization in one state. The extent to which the self-reported behavior regarding leadership of female school executives in Texas translates to the actual leadership behaviors in question is unknown. In spite of such limits, it does reveal subtle gender factors related to women achieving educational leadership roles. Further discussion and research is needed on the career paths and the perceptions of gender factors that affect advancement of female leaders in schools.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 References Eastman, P.D. (1960). Are you my mother? Random House Books for Young Readers McGregor, J. (2013). Women leaders and the goldilocks syndrome: Not too harsh, not too soft. The Washington Post, July 9. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-leadership/wp/2013/07/09/women-leaders-andthe-goldilocks-syndrome--not-too-harsh-not-too-soft/ Sandberg, S. (2013). Lean in. Women, work, and the will to lead. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Trujillo-Jenks, L. (2013). The chameleon identity. Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume II, Issue 1. Retrieved from http://www.tcwse.org/jtwse/vol2/trujillo.pdf

Authors: Dr. Cheryl Kelsey is an Assistant Professor with Texas A & M San Antonio, teaching graduate courses in Educational Administration. cheryl.kelsey@tamus.edu

Dr. Patti Birney is Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction with East Central ISD and adjunct with Texas A & M San Antonio, teaching courses in Educational Administration. patricia.birney@ecisd.net


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014

Divas and Diamonds

Dynamic and Daring Invincible, Irresistible Vivacious, Visionary, Vigilant, Vibrant Authoritative, Active, Angelic, Authors Strong, Seasoned, Sharing, Stunning & Dimensional, Dreamers, Doers Imaginative, Inspirational Alive, Awe-inspiring, Authentic Magical, Majestic, Matrons, One in a million‌.Only one you! Natural Dazzling, Designer Shining, Sparkling‌..SENSATIONAL!

Dr. Sharon Ross is Superintendent with Mexia ISD. sross@mexiaisd.net


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 To Our Texas Council Women School Executives At the Crossroads: What is the Future of TCWSE? Dr. Elizabeth A. Clark TCWSE President, 2001-2002

It dawned on me at the conclusion of last year’s conference and in preparation of our 30th year anniversary that Texas Council of Women School Executives (TCWSE) might well be at the crossroads of deciding its future. Every organization experiences a time when critical steps must be taken to move to the next level or it can simply maintain the status quo and eventually decline. I am of the opinion that we, as an organization, have reached that juncture. The remaining portion of this article will be to step back, take a historical view of why we exist, and then look forward to what should be our purpose and niche for the future. It will also discuss what we need to do as an organization for female school executives and leaders to evolve to a new level of professionalism.

Past History When TCWSE was first conceived, it was a conference modeled after a national event for female school executives. The intent of Margret Montgomery was to bring women together to forge a path, that if taken, would allow more women to be mentored, coached, and even convinced to pursue upper administrative positions, most especially, the superintendent position. A cadre of highly regarded and influential people gathered in Tyler, Texas at the University of Texas at Tyler on September 22, 1984 to organize, become inspired, collectively rally around a common vision, and then to depart with some clarity about next steps. The timing was ripe, the vision was catching, the need was apparent, and the leadership emerged. As a result, TCWSE became a reality. Since then, many outstanding women have passed through TCWSE as members, board members, officers, presenters, and supporters. Some have stayed current, others have retired from work and no longer affiliate themselves with TCWSE, and still others have migrated to different organizations to find the professional networking and support they need. We now find ourselves at the crossroads with declining numbers, less visibility and influence, and possibly less reason to exist than what was originally conceived. There are several questions that we might pose as we stand at this crossroad and think about the future. These questions are: what brought us to this point? And, how do we reinvent ourselves for a future that is still emerging? In the book, Educational Leadership at 2050: Conjectures, Challenges, and Promises (Berry, 2012), a strong case has been made that we are continuing to prepare educational leaders for a 56

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 future that no longer exist. James Berry (2012) states that, “there is a growing clarity that building educational administration programs around a structure(s) that creates the conditions for learning is a more important foundation for leadership than managerial efficiency, bureaucratic expediency, and student and adult accountability. Unless educational administration programs address the core technology of education—teaching and learning—there will continue to be questions about a curriculum that is grounded in the dated ideas and principles of industrial management” ( 2012, , p. x). I maintain that TCWSE better be grounded in the core technology of how to improve the conditions for teaching and learning today and in the future. Thus, every conference, every event, and every discussion at the board table needs to focus on preparing leaders for the future reality of transforming schools into true learning organizations where strong cultures of professional collaboration and continuous improvement thrive. In other words, we need to refocus, reconnect, and reenergize around the reality of the 21st Century educational needs and requirements necessary for those who lead and work with children. Future Perspective As we look to the future and the need to focus on the core technology of teaching and learning, authors of the book Educational Leadership 2050 (Berry, 2012) call for pedagogically centered leadership. When I first read that description, I was intrigued. I wanted to know more. What exactly did this mean and how could we embrace that? We have used the terms instructional leader, student-centered environments, and results-orientation, but never pedagogically centered. I have also been reading another book by John Hatti that I believe supports this concept of pedagogical centered leadership. In Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning (2012), Hatte has compiled the biggest ever collection of evidence-based research to actually identify and delineate what works in schools to improve learning. As a former adjunct professor and a current developer of principals and teachers in a school district, I often ask groups of educators if they can name the ten most impactful strategies on student learning. What I find most disheartening is that most don’t have full knowledge and comprehension of this body of research. This is in essence at the center of our academic problem. It also emphasizes to me that as leaders, we certainly need to focus and give full attention to increasing the knowledge base of our core technology—teaching and learning. Next Steps As a professional organization, we need to take bold, strategic steps to reinvent ourselves as an organization with a purpose of developing, coaching, and mentoring pedagogically centered leaders. In order to accomplish that task, key leaders within TCWSE need to understand that such leadership is focused on developing a set of performance-based requirements that will result in creating schools where teaching and learning is discussed, sought after, developed, nurtured, and perfected. At the helm of such organizations are leaders who not only know about learning, they also know and understand the craft of teaching as a skilled professional (Berry, 2012, p. xiii). 57

Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 Next steps for TCWSE might include the following:  Organize a think-tank of individuals who are willing to research and define what TCWSE believes are the new set of performance-based requirements for pedagogically centered leaders;  Develop a new strategic plan that would require a re-examination of vision, mission, goals, and actions;  Develop strategic partners who will help us to increase and improve visibility and influence among the ranks of educational leaders throughout the state;  Garner the support and involvement of university professors;  Use the conference as a vehicle and mechanism for deepening the knowledge base and the dialogue about the core technology of teaching and learning; and  Make a commitment to develop leaders who will have a significant impact not only in the field, but also within the organization. I am truly convinced that we are standing at the crossroads. We have two choices as I view the landscape. We can either continue down the path that will take us to a level of insignificance so that we become nothing more than a social network of educators who want to gather at an annual conference to celebrate the past and to catch up with what is happening; or, we can exhibit the courage to forge a new path that will lead us to reinvent ourselves and recast our vision as an organization committed to learning and developing pedagogically centered leaders for the 21st Century. In conclusion, this article could be construed as being critical. Rather, it is my intent to be hopeful. We have this window of opportunity to chart a new course and to fulfill the wildest imagination of our founder, Margret Montgomery. I was once told that leadership requires hindsight, insight, and foresight. This article actually addresses all three. I care deeply about TCWSE, and I celebrate the many wonderful contributions that have been made by so many gifted women bringing us to this 30th year anniversary. Many hours of volunteer work have been given to truly establish an organization where women have felt supported, gained skills, received coaching and mentoring, and then had an opportunity to serve and give back to help others. Now, we must look to the future and collectively decide what we want to become and how we will chart our course for the future. My admonition is that unless action is taken soon, we will see the vision that Margret Montgomery had 30 years ago vanish into an inconsequential yearly event with no real tangible and laudable goals. That would be tragic.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 References Berry, J. (2012) Educational Leadership at 2050: Conjectures, Challenges, and Promises. A Continuing Conversation: Educational Administration Programming as an Instrument for Educational Reform. New York: Rowman & Little field Publishers, Inc. English, W., Papa, R,. Mullen, C.A., & Creighton, T. Educational Leadership at 2050: Conjectures, Challenges, and Promises. Lanham, New York, Toronto, Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2012. Hatti, J. (2012 Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning. New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Dr. Elizabeth Clark is the Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at Birdville ISD and a lecturer at the University of Houston Clear Lake. With more than 39 years of educational experience, she was formerly Chief Academic Officer with the Katy Independent School District. While she has been very involved in many professional organizations, her primary involvement is now with Texas Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (where she has served as president), Texas Council of School Women Executives, (where she has served as president), and the Texas Association of School Administrators.


Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume III, Issue 1 2014 To Our Texas Council Women School Executives From Dr. Lu (Lu Anna Moore Stephens, PhD)

Wherever you go, I’m here Whatever you do, I’ll support you Whatever your dreams, I’ll encourage you Whenever you’re tired, I’ll boost you up Whenever you stop, I’ll listen Whenever you’re done, I’ll hug you However it all turns out, I’m proud of you

I wish everyone a Happy 30th Anniversary! I’m honored to be a member this group of bravehearted women founded by Margret Montgomery.


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.