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Madwomen in the arena: a female majority cohort of rural Arizona superintendents

Estes-Chilton, Jennifer Leigh (2021) Madwomen in the arena: a female majority cohort of rural Arizona superintendents. Doctoral thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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The study’s objective was to generate a composite description of the lived experience of women serving as rural Arizona public school district superintendents with special attention to ways this experience was impacted by the time in their tenures when they comprised a majority of local superintendents. Context includes 2020 data documenting a ten-year lull in progress toward equity in the representation of women in the superintendency. Research questions sought to identify any perceived impact upon participants of working with a proximal cohort of female superintendents along with participants' access and success strategies, their perceptions of gender and equity, and the role of the setting. Transcribed interview narratives comprise the data of the phenomenological reduction within the bounds of the guiding research questions. A hermeneutic phenomenological approach informs the research methodology where findings are the themes and consensus within the response data. Arising themes were individualism and misassumption of a continued positive trajectory. Participants rejected impact of gender upon their careers, strategies, or leadership approaches. The participants mentor and contribute to the future of educational leadership but were skeptical of sponsorship. Rationale regarding under-representation focused on access barriers, including self-imposed barriers, consistent with the body of research literature. As potential remedy to inequity or stagnation, responses focused on anti-bias training for hiring governing boards and mindful action by serving superintendents. Readers may find further meaning interpreting the composite description of the experience. Keywords: superintendent, female, underrepresentation, group, cohort, barriers

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: barriers; cohort; female; group; superintendent; underrepresentation; Women superintendents; Arizona
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Education > Educational Leadership
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2022 18:14
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2022 18:14
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5755

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