Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Anthony Colella

Committee Member

Anthony Dede

Committee Member

Christopher Hynes

Committee Member

Mary McKay


African American women, School administrators, Women school administrators, United States


The purpose of this study was to chronicle the journeys often females of color to the office of the superintendent, to document how they use the power of the office and to record their perceptions, as superintendent, of the office( s) they hold or have held. It provides an in-depth look at the females as people and as leaders. One premise of this study is that access to education and equity in employment opportunity are key factors in determining who may serve in the nation's highest offices. Half of the respondents are the products of legally enforced segregation in their elementary school experiences and some were fully educated under a system of segregation. In spite of the inequity of education in the "separate but equal" schools, all of these women not only gained an education, but also achieved education at its highest level, the doctorate. Among other things, they identify familial support, a belief in a higher power and the ability to persevere as facilitators in reaching the highest teaching job in education The office of superintendent is much more than a profession to all of the women in this study; it is more of a mission. Most of the women expressed the desire to become academic leaders before they became superintendents. They prided themselves in having sat in many seats and used that knowledge to guide them in making decisions. Those who admittedly sought the superintendency as a primary goal surrounded themselves with others who had the technical knowledge that they lacked. When in office, they generally forged strong alliances and managed ''power with" others, in contrast to the traditional model of top-down leadership, or the use of "power over" others. the superintendents interviewed believed strongly in what they were doing and all indicated that in spite of the challenges and the strife, they planned to All of remain and complete their mission. The ways in which they all wish to be remembered can be restated as individuals who served others and served them well.