Latina superintendents : a phenomenological study of superintendent-board relations
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This study considered how being Latina, and all the variables inherent in gender and ethnicity intersect when a Latina is a public school district superintendent in Texas; specifically, how a Latina superintendent effectuates meaningful and productive superintendent-board relations. The study employed a phenomenological approach, and utilized semi-structured interviews, collection of artifacts, researcher observations, and a board of education member survey. Through the interpretivist paradigm, elements of gender role theory permeated the study. The notion of the glass ceiling as a barrier that women seeking executive level positions, such as the superintendency, emerged from the discourse of the study. Findings suggest that where professional skills, knowledge, and abilities are concerned there is no gender difference; however, the ability for women to be equally considered for executive level positions, such as the superintendency, suggests that disparity in practice continues to exist. Women are challenged to be equally considered for the superintendency. While women carry a presumably different challenge to balance work and family, the findings suggest that those who have attained the superintendency were able to thrive amidst this challenge. The study also suggests that the three Latina superintendent study participants’ practices in developing and maintaining effective superintendent-board relations sustained prior research in this regard. Where superintendents are strategic and purposeful in their efforts to develop and maintain effective superintendent-board relations, they thrive. In contrast, where superintendents are not strategic and purposeful in their efforts to develop and maintain effective superintendent-board relations, the superintendent’s tenure is abbreviated.
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