Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Clark, K.L. & Johnson, A.T. (2016). Surrendering to gender in education? Complacency and the woman leader. Journal of Women in Educational Leadership, 2017 doi:10. 13014/K24B2ZGC

ISSN 2379-2191


Copyright (c) 2017 Kimberly L. Clark & Ane T. Johnson


The purpose of our study was to better understand the role of gender performance for aspiring school leaders through a reflection of their journey through the administrative pipeline. The transformation of professional aspirations throughout and following the certification process and during employment was also analyzed. Also, the appealing factors of a nontraditional administrative preparation program were evaluated. Using heuristic qualitative methods, women graduates of and expedited certification for educational leadership program participated in focus groups and a select group returned for individual interviews. Coding was employed to analyze the data. Our participants entered into school leadership as a result of an external catalyst, a mentor, which inspired a process of self-empowerment that led to their pursuit of administrative certifications and positions. This process was cyclical. The nontraditional program and its appealing characteristics added to the realization of their current leadership positions. The recommendations we make in the areas of policy, research, and practice, each speak to a need for enhanced encouragement, by diverse means, of women school leaders at the national, state, and district levels.