A New Visage: Women Superintendents in Texas




Tate, Tanya C.

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While the overall number of women superintendents has increased in recent years, representation disparities persist across educational ranks. The present study’s aim was to explore the career paths that facilitate women’s success in achieving and retaining the superintendent role for five or more years. Employing narrative inquiry through restorying, this qualitative study developed case studies revolving around three Texas superintendents who identify as White, Hispanic, and African American, respectively. Additionally, interviews were conducted with three individuals chosen by each superintendent for data triangulation. Findings captured participant experiences, career routes, challenges, strategies, and role persistence. The study also examined the tenets and assumptions of Liberal Feminism by juxtaposing identified themes within the theoretical framework. Findings indicated both traditional and nontraditional pathways to superintendency, shedding light on early leadership opportunities, commitment to education, and the power of mentorship and supportive relationships. Lack of mentorship, imposter syndrome, and broader systemic issues were commonly encountered challenges. Key success strategies included a student-centered approach, supportive leadership, continuous self-improvement, and team building. Persistence was driven by faith, dedication to academic success, unity, gratitude, and strong relationships. Lastly, I present a conceptual model, “Scaffolding a New Visage,” to represent necessary supports and structures to equip women superintendents to ascend to top leadership positions, namely, the superintendency.


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case study, feminism, interviews, qualitative, restory, superintendent



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies