Jsl Vol 18-N6

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The Journal of School Leadership is broadening the conversation about schools and leadership and is currently accepting manuscripts. We welcome manuscripts based on cutting-edge research from a wide variety of theoretical perspectives and methodological orientations. The editorial team is particularly interested in working with international authors, authors from traditionally marginalized populations, and in work that is relevant to practitioners around the world. Growing numbers of educators and professors look to the six bimonthly issues to: deal with problems directly related to contemporary school leadership practice teach courses on school leadership and policy use as a quality reference in writing articles about school leadership and improvement.

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Guest Editor’s Introduction: Women in Educational Leadership: An Examination on the Perspectives of Race and Gender

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Gaetane Jean-Marie

Guest Editor’s Introduction: Women in Educational Leadership: An Examination on the Perspectives of Race and Gender

The underrepresentation of women in educational leadership continues to be a matter of concern, particularly because the teaching force is largely dominated by women. This special issue of the Journal of School Leadership is a review of articles on the intersection of gender, race, and educational leadership in different educational contexts. Authors in this issue offer empirical studies and provide a broad overview of the characteristics and experiences of women principals and superintendent in educational leadership. A common thread of the articles is the working world of women administrators whose experiences create a female culture (Shakeshaft, 1989). Another major theme is the relationship of social context and the underrepresentation of women in educational leadership. A primary objective of this special issue is to review and highlight what we have learned and are learning about gender, race, and educational leadership and to provide perspectives about the evolving role of women in educational leadership.

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Gender and Perceptions: Females as Secondary Principals

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Kathleen Nogay

Robert J. Beebe

Gender and Perceptions: Females as Secondary Principals

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of teachers and supervisors toward the principal leadership behaviors of female secondary principals in Ohio. Principal self-perceptions were also included to complete the study. The literature shows that women continue to be underrepresented in a field in which the majority of professionals are women; therefore the reasons for underrepresentation warrant investigation. Although women are beginning to move into such ranks more frequently, line administrative positions continue to be dominated by males, and few women hold the positions of high school principal and school district superintendent, positions which continue to be particularly resistant to the advancement of females.

Random selected school districts in Ohio were involved in this investigation, the participants of which completed a copy of Philip Hallinger’s Principal Instructional Management Rating Scale (PIMRS), a scale which afforded the opportunity to compare the perceptions of superordinates, principals, and subordinates. The results indicated significant differences between principal gender and the responses of others on most of the subscales of the PIMRS. The mean subscale results were much higher for female principals than for male principals as well. The conclusions of this study indicate that there is significant difference in perceptions of principal leadership behavior regarding gender. Principals also judge their own leadership behavior significantly different based on gender.

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Feminine Faces of Leadership: Beyond Structural-Functionalism?

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Hope-Arlene Fennell

Feminine Faces of Leadership: Beyond Structural-Functionalism?

ABSTRACT: Leadership continues to be a central focus for research in educational administration. Until recently, many studies about leadership have been based largely on the experiences of white males and interpreted based on the structural-functionalist perspective. In this paper the writer explores the phenomenon of leadership through the eyes and experiences of six women leaders who are school principals. The findings are from a recently completed phenomenological study of six women principals’ lived experiences with leadership.

Leadership has always been a central focus for research in educational administration. Until recently, much of what has been studied and taught about leadership has been based largely on the experiences of white males (Shakeshaft, 1989; Glazer, 1991; Blackmore, 1989; Capper, 1993), and interpreted from structural-functionalist perspectives (Burrell and Morgan, 1979; Watkins, 1989). Shakeshaft (1989) and Gosetti and Rusch (1995) both make cases for studying leadership through women’s eyes and experiences, and through more than one perspective or lens. Gosetti and Rusch contend that “Multiple lenses help us focus in more than one way on how we view a concept like leadership and increase our chances of bringing embedded notions into view” (p. 14). Considering leadership from more than one perspective provides a realistic picture of the various views held by individuals working within the schools. Shakeshaft (1989) contends that studying leadership from the perspective of women and their experiences is an initial step in an attempt to bring about a transformation of leadership theory. Glazer (1991) supports Shakeshaft’s contention, stating that “Changing the lens in how we study the professions is the first step in their transformation” (p. 338). She views such changes as the first step in moving women’s experiences beyond classrooms and into principals’ other administrative positions.

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The Short Tenure of a Woman Superintendent: A Clash of Gender and Politics

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Margaret Grogan

The Short Tenure of a Woman Superintendent: A Clash of Gender and Politics

ABSTRACT: This article reports the two-year tenure of a woman superintendent in a small southern city. Placed against the background of local community politics and school district politics it shows that women in the superintendency still face issues of gender stereotyping that influence the way they are perceived as leaders of school systems. A feminist poststructuralist framework is used to understand how the various subject positions available to women collide with the discourse of the superintendency. It is recommended that women leaders resist the images that have been traditionally reserved for them and begin to reinvent the superintendency on their own terms.

When you are in the middle of a story it isn’t a story at all, but only a confusion; a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood; like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard powerless to stop it. It’s only afterwards that it becomes anything. Like a story at all. When you are telling it, to yourself or someone else.

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Invisible, Limited, and Emerging Discourse: Research Practices That Restrict and/or Increase Access for Women and Persons of Color to the Superintendency

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C. Cryss Brunner

Invisible, Limited, and Emerging Discourse: Research Practices That Restrict and/or Increase Access for Women and Persons of Color to the Superintendency

ABSTRACT: The intent of this article is to provide some evidence that decisions about the use of data are critical and can result in discourse that is inaccurate about and unsupportive of women and persons of color. Evidence is gathered through an examination of the published data used in The Study of the American School Superintendency (Glass, Bjork, & Brunner, 2000) published and funded by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA). In sum, the article illustrates how choices about which and how much data to publish can result in the reification of the status quo and/or generation of a tremendously powerful new discourse that establishes the inclusive norms for a new genre of superintendency.

It is well documented that constructions of gender and race have been particularly effective in limiting superintendency access for women and persons of color (Bell & Chase, 1993; Blount, 1998; Brunner, 1999; Grogan, 1996; Shakeshaft, 1989; Skrla; 2000; Tallerico, 2000). In fact, around 13% of the representative sample in the American Association of School Administrators’ (AASA) 10-year study of the superintendency (Glass, Bjork, & Brunner, 2000) were women and around 5% were persons of color. While the percentages of women and persons of color in the superintendency increased slightly in the past decade, the numbers across the entire 20th century remained low and fairly stable (Blount, 1998). Even as concerns are voiced about shortages of school administrator (including superintendency) candidates (Anthony, Roe, & Young, 2000; Houston, 1998; McAdams, 1998), the underrepresentation of women and persons of color in these positions remains significant.

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