In Search of African-American Women Superintendents in Texas: O' Where Art Thou?




Baker, LaTanya L.

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There have been several dissertations published regarding the lack of women superintendents (Reed & Patterson, 2007). However, when trying to explore African-American women superintendents, there is very little research to examine, especially on Texas African-American women superintendents. The purpose of this qualitative, narrative study was to examine perceptions of three individuals well-respected in their field: African-American women superintendents of different experiences and school districts (urban, rural, and suburban districts) in Texas. This study examined their perceptions of: (a) how African-American women ascended to the superintendency, and (b) what factors contributed to the resiliency of African-American women being successful in attaining the superintendency.

This study sought to determine how the participants ascended to the superintendency so women aspiring to become the chief instructional leader of a public school district will have valuable information and strategies so that they too may successfully ascend to the superintendency. This study also aimed to bridge the gap in the educational leadership literature regarding the recruitment and resiliency of African-American women superintendents in Texas public schools. The analysis of the interviews revealed the following themes: using traditional pathways; being the first African-American appointed as public school superintendents for their districts; being hired by school board members' make-up of majority Anglo males; having support systems such as family and friends, mentors, professional organizations, spirituality; and having perseverance played an intricate role towards their ascension to the superintendency.


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African-American, ascension, resiliency, superintendents, under-representation, women



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies