The percentage of women in the superintendency remained stagnant over 80 years of the last century and has only increased slightly, to just fewer than 14% of the public school superintendents in the U.S. today. In other words, the glass ceiling still exists. The persistent reasons for lack of change are gender prejudice and gender structuring'¬ ;frequently referred to as sexism. The selection and promotion process for the school district CEO is conducted by school boards and search groups, the majority of whom are white men who tend to select other white men to carry on the heritage of the school superintendency. Why do these low numbers still exist and what can be done to promote change? These and other questions are addressed in Women in the Superintendency: Leadership Denied. This book presents the essential ethic for women's leadership, identifies the ideologies from which challenges to women's leadership emanate, provides case studies to illustrate gender prejudice and gender structuring, and finishes with ways for women to strengthen their leadership to reduce the "discarding" effect. This book will be of interest to school leaders, boards of education, and superintendents as well as educational leadership preparatory programs and women's studies programs.
Dana and Bourisaw have written a wise and lively examination of women's experiences in school leadership. It is well-grounded in current research, revealing many vivid examples of the peculiar ways that school leadership and gender intersect and sometimes collide. Women in the Superintendency: Discarded Leadership has the potential to stimulate self-recognition and honest conversations among talented women educators. Ultimately, it may provoke them to demolish many of the barriers described - with eyes wide open. This book might scare those who wish school leadership to remain the nearly-exclusive province of men. -- Jackie M. Blount, Ph.D., professor, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Iowa State University Through the stories of 25 present and former female school leaders and text from research based literature, the authors of this book engage readers in an exploration of what it means to aspire toward and work in positions most often filled by men. The book is a passionate, compelling narrative that draws readers into its pages. -- C. Cryss Brunner, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Educational Policy and Administration and co-director of the UCEA Center for the Study of the Compelling real life experiences help us empathize with the women superintendents in this book as they deal with the formidable challenges of this position. -- Margaret Grogan, professor and chair, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, University of Missouri-Columbia Through one poignant anecdote after another, complemented by compelling data, the authors bring to the front of the bus, issues and concerns too often unrecognized or uncared for. Similar to institutional racism which can permeate an organization without any one person being guilty of a particular discriminatory act, the nature, role and career stability of female superintendents are shaped and influenced by underlying cultural values not fully understood or recognized. This book will cause many of us to reexamine our beliefs and behaviors. -- Paul J. Hagerty, Ph.D., superintendent (retired), Seminole County (FL) Public Schools. Dr. Hagerty was Superintendent of the Year in both Missouri and F The authors, through this book, have provided a great service to the educational leadership profession. Gender differences are always before us because being a female or male is the ontological touchstone that influences all of our relationships, personal and professional. The fact that people can overcome these influences is a testament to our shared humanity. This book helps us understand the magnitude of gender bias and how we can overcome this barrier in order to create a future that will recognize and safeguard the value and benefits of gender differences in the practice of educational leadership. -- Ronald W. Rebore, Ph.D., professor and associate dean, Graduate School of Saint Louis University Women in the Superintendency is a much needed spotlight on challenges, barriers and gender prejudice...The authors...give a well-prepared, researched and careful presentation with suggestions that come from personal experiences. -- Cleveland Hammonds, retired superintendent, St. Louis, MO; Birmingham, AL; Durham, NC; and Inkster, MI Dana and consultant Bourisaw describe their research and experience-based understanding of how women get positions as district superintendents, how they lead as superintendents and how they handle dismissal. Using narratives adapted from those in the trenches they describe social justice in the past 100 years of effort, challenges faced by women superintendents, sociocultural, political and religious ideologies, power and control, teaching and leadership, emerging leadership challenges, negotiation, dilemmas and discarded leadership, needed support, and lessons learned. Reference and Research Book News Dana and Bourisaw provide a multifaceted discussion of many of the issues that confront women school superintendents. ... Recommended. CHOICE This could be useful to an array of readers: educators aspiring to leadership positions as well as current superintendents, board of education members, superintendent search consultants and educational administration professors. School Administrator The authors...give detailed profiles of women superintendents as a whole and minority women superintendents and administrators in particular. What emerges from their analysis is a clearer picture of women standing before a long-understudied professional crossroads. Education Week