Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Journal a/Women in Educational Leadership, Vol. 3, No.3-July 2005 ISSN: 1541-6224


© 2003 Pro>Active Publications


We examined the reported experiences of 12 successful female educational leaders as stories of resiliency development through overcoming or coming back from adversity. Specifically, the reported experiences of these women were examined to determine: When did adversity evidence itself in the lives of these leaders? Were any of the adversity experiences common among the women in terms of when they occurred and the contexts or settings in which they occurred? What strategies did these women use in overcoming or coming back from these adversity experiences? Do the reported experiences of these twelve successful female educational leaders align with the literature on resiliency in children, adversity and failure in leadership development, and barriers to success as gender issues? In presenting this information, a brief overview of the literature on leadership and resiliency is offered to establish the perspectives that motivated this study. Next, a description of the methods used to gather and analyze the data for addressing the question posed is presented. A cameo sketch of each of the 12 women is provided; the sketches are followed by data displays that respond to the questions posed here. In closing, a summary of the findings and an interpretation of what they mean in terms of personal and professional development for educational leaders generally and for female educational leaders are posed.