Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Journal o/Women in Educational Leadership, Vol. 4, No. 2-April 2006 ISSN: 1541-6224


©2003 Pro>Active Publications


The public school superintendency is the most powerful position in U.S. schools. Yet research has shown that women who hold the position have difficulty talking about power (Brunner, 2000). I designed a mixed methods study to investigate how women school superintendents viewed their uses of power. A survey was sent to all women superintendents practicing in four Midwestern states during the 2000-2001 school year and nine women in the sample participated in interviews. Results of quantitative data analysis revealed that there were significant differences in participants' age and years of experience in the superintendency and how they perceived their uses of power. The interviews revealed that women spoke of how their power increased when they shared or gave power away. Consistent with previous research, this study also found that women had some difficulty defining and conceptualizing power in their roles as superintendents.