Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



Journal of Women in Educational Leadership, VoL 6, No. 4-October 2008 ISSN: 1541-6224


Copyright © 2008 Pro>Active Publications. Used by permission.


This article presents and analyzes the findings of two recent studies related to female school superintendents and their respective experiences with the "professional victim syndrome" and the consequences of their career decisions. Those findings are synthesized with research and literature related to leadership skills and dispositions to identify conceptual patterns of significance for current and aspiring female superintendents. The strategies utilized by female superintendents to cope with the trials and tribulations of contemporary educational leadership as reported in both studies are also reviewed. Suggestions for leadership preparation programs are recommended to promote greater personal and professional success in the superintendency.

This research report presents the findings of two recent studies that both utilized the mixed-methods research design to collect information from more than 500 superintendents, including more than 150 female superintendents, in Georgia and New York in 2006. The results of both studies reinforce and extend the findings of other contemporary research about female superintendents and provide important recommendations for aspiring and practicing superintendents to consider in order to cope and succeed. The recommendations of both of these recent research studies related to superintendent preparation programs are included for consideration by members of boards of education, administrators at local, state and regional educational organizations and certification agencies as well as professors at colleges and universities engaged in leadership programs.