Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education

First Advisor

Susan Korach, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Kent Seidel

Third Advisor

Linda Brookhart

Fourth Advisor

Roger E. Salters


Career pathways, Female superintendents, Labyrinth


Women represent 75 to 80 percent of the teachers across the U.S. (Glass, 1992), and the percentage of female superintendents is not in alignment with the female workforce. Research indicates that the career pathways of male and female superintendents differ. While male superintendents often have a sequential pathway to a superintendency, women tend to take more of a labyrinth type of pathway resulting in a longer, indirect path to the superintendent position (Eagly and Carli 2007). This study examined the career pathways of female superintendents, and the support needed to increase gender equity for the superintendency. This dissertation examines the career pathways of three superintendents in a Southwestern state of the United States. Standpoint theory framed the identification of female superintendents as a phenomenon, and qualitative interviews elicited the voices of the female superintendents.

The results of this study were somewhat surprising. The female superintendents had similar career pathways as male superintendents, had male mentors, were not intentional about the superintendency, and perceived themselves as innovative. The linear pathways of these female superintendents contradict earlier research, and their self identification as innovators gives them an identity that is focused around a need. This research provides insight into how to support women in their pathways toward the superintendency.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Liann Marene Hanson


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

120 p.


Educational leadership