Career development of women in public school administration at the superintendency level

Elaine Alix Farrell, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to investigate the career experiences of female superintendents in order to provide a descriptive account of their career development. Data regarding the subjects' present status, past experiences and other factors relating to their career development were gathered via questionnaires, taped interviews, and field notes. The sample consisted of nine women, seven of whom are currently serving as superintendents in the state of Connecticut. This sample frequently fell into two groups which clustered around age. The younger group was between the ages of 40 and 50 years, and the older group was 51 to 60 years. Based upon an analysis of the data the following conclusions were drawn: (1) Married women deliberately delayed their careers until their children were of school age. (2) Older women frequently presided over small districts in which they had spent entire careers. (3) Younger women were more aggressive career planners and made use of career strategies frequently mentioned in the literature. (4) Mentoring was frequently cited as a major factor in female career development. (5) Visibility and mobility were generally considered critical to successful career development. (6) Women in both groups followed a direct path to the superintendency. (7) Women currently interested in educational administration must actively pursue careers in the same manner that men do. (8) Finance and budgeting experiences were found to be critical to attaining and maintaining a superintendency.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Farrell, Elaine Alix, "Career development of women in public school administration at the superintendency level" (1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9007178.