Dr. Elizabeth Sullivan

The leadership stories of two women public school administrators
School: 
The University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Degree: 
PhD
Date/Year: 
2000
Adviser: 
Bryant, Miles T.
Pages: 
129
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Abstract: 

This study tells the story of three women educational leaders from their perspective. A high school principal and an associate superintendent served as informants. In the postmodern, feminist tradition, the researcher's story emerged as the third story. Leadership research, based primarily on male subjects, provided models and theories of leadership conspicuously devoid of the growing female experience in educational administration. To try to understand women in leadership, research has examined their characteristics, career paths, success and failures or juxtaposed females against males. The resulting statistically constructed women has created a non existent stereotype. This research shattered the statistically created stereotype by illustrating two women's unique experiences and distinctly different paths to leadership. Neither woman perceived barriers or glass ceilings as major issues in their career advancement. Examining their stories through the lens of gender-based leadership theory proved limiting. This study surfaced more questions than answers. Are gender based leadership theories valid? What are the relationships between women administrators and how does the quality of these relationships affect leadership? Does the Queen Bee syndrome exist? How do marriage, children and a spouse impact leadership? Further research about the actual experiences of women educational leaders is needed to examine the impact of gender on current leadership theory and practice.

 
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