Date of Award

Fall 9-30-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


David Reid, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Grace May, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Alexandra Freidus, Ph.D.


School Leadership, Gender, Stereotypes, Female Leadership, Effective Leadership Practices


The purpose of this study was to deeply explore the perceived leadership styles of male and female building administrators, and to identify the ways in which gender may influence how teachers perceive the overall effectiveness of their building’s leadership. The significance of the study is that it looks beyond the intricacies of what it takes to become an effective leader; it considers those leadership skills and practices specifically through the lens of gender and teacher perceptions. For this study, a phenomenological qualitative approach was utilized, guided by two research questions:

  1. What characteristics/traits/ attributes, if any, do teachers perceive to be more specific to female building leaders than male building leaders?

  2. To what extent do stereotypes of females in leadership positions impact teachers’ perceptions of the overall effectiveness of their building leader?

Participants of the study included pre-K through eighth grade teachers who were employed by public school districts throughout the state of New Jersey. Trends were developed inductively, focusing on common themes throughout the content. While the majority of participants did not perceive gender to impact overall leadership effectiveness, the disparity among those who did perceive differences was considerable. This data answered the two research questions by explaining the ways in which administrative gender impacts teacher perceptions of effective leadership, and offered suggestions as to why those perceptions exist. Additionally, potential strategies that could better support current and aspiring female leaders overcome societal stereotypes that impact their leadership are discussed.