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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Dennis Brennan

First Committee Member

Antonio Serna

Second Committee Member

Delores McNair

Third Committee Member

Chet Jensen


There exists a discrepancy with the number of females in the California superintendency being twenty-three percent, whereas seventy five percent of all educators are female. This study examined the demographics of the typical female superintendent in California as well as the perceived perceptions of these females in attaining the position. This study examined barriers to the superintendency and successful strategies utilized by females in attaining the public school superintendency. Data for this study were collected through a survey of the perception of barriers and perceptions of successful strategies. All two hundred forty nine California female superintendents were mailed surveys, one hundred twelve responded. The barriers perceived by the respondents to be statistically significant were: demands of family, lack of ability to relocate, and exclusion from the Good Old Boy Network . The successful strategies perceived were: increasing visibility in professional circles, obtaining a doctorate degree, formulating and adhering to a plan of action, preparing an effective resume, developing a strong self concept, obtaining family support, learning coping skills, strategically preparing for district level experience, increasing flexibility to relocate, and pursing opportunities for advancement within the structure. The outcomes from the survey results suggest that females need to take strategic steps in networking, planning for demands of family responsibilities, considering relocating in order to attain the position, and securing a stable career path. University programs need to consider adequately preparing females for the unique barriers that they may encounter while attempting to secure a superintendent position. Future studies comparing barriers for men in comparison to women and/or examining the perceptions of minority superintendents independently should be considered.





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