Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Elaine Walker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Daniel Gutmore, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jan Furman, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Marilyn E. Birnbaum, Ed.D.


intersectionality, superintendents, female, leadership development, educational leadership


The purpose of this study was to explore, through the lived experiences of 8 women who achieved the superintendency in New Jersey, the intersectionality of gender, social norms, and race and how these women developed as leaders. The study was designed to identify perceived barriers to career ascension in education administration and the successful strategies that female superintendents in New Jersey utilized to overcome those barriers. The study explored strategies that future leaders might utilize to address leadership development and career ascendency for women who aspire to the superintendency. For this study, a narrative research design was best suited to examine and understand the female superintendents’ personal reflections of events and the meaning that they derived through their experiences, from their perspectives. Themes were developed inductively using categorical content analysis to focus on specific content themes within the narrative.

Although women have dominated the workforce in public education, limited access to senior leadership ranks remains. As evidenced by the literature, it is wise to investigate the progression of leadership development to identify and develop future female leaders in education.