Choices and Circumstances: North Carolina Women Not Pursuing the Public School Superintendency

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Title: Choices and Circumstances: North Carolina Women Not Pursuing the Public School Superintendency
Author: Faulconer, Johna Lee
Advisors: Kenneth H. Brinson, Jnr., Committee Chair
Peter Hessling, Committee Member
Abstract: Consistent with national trends, women in North Carolina are under-represented in superintendent positions. This qualitative study explored the factors influencing women employed in the North Carolina public school system who held both a doctoral degree and a superintendent's certification not to pursue the public school superintendency. Through electronic interviews, 49 women shared the context affecting their decisions. The women in this study held both a doctorate in the field of education and a superintendent's license and all reported that they were not interested in the pursuit of the superintendency. The prevailing tone of the interviews was one of negativity toward the position of superintendent. Participants shared that their goals did not align with their perceptions of the superintendency. Even those participants who thought about seeking the position cited that their aspirations had changed. A number of participants cited that the superintendency created a dissonance between work and lifestyle pursuits and that they valued a more balanced role of home and work than the superintendency offered. Though the reasons were varied and the circumstances diverse, the following emerged as common factors participants were not interested in pursuing the superintendency: (a) lifestyle issues; (b) age; (c) politics; (d) too removed from children; and (e) not a career goal. The findings of this study indicated that no one factor influenced the decision of these women not to pursue the North Carolina public school superintendency. Rather, a multitude of factors influenced the study participants' decisions not to seek the superintendency. The contextual situations of each participant affected her decisions. Based upon the findings and conclusions of this study, general recommendations were suggested to the following groups: (a) parents; (b) women; (c) superintendents; (d) school districts; (e) boards of education; (f) universities; and (g) professional associations.
Date: 2003-04-30
Degree: EdD
Discipline: Educational Administration and Supervision

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