'The Road Less Traveled': The Female's Journey to the State Superintendency Open Access
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A number of studies have emerged over the past several decades attempting to pinpoint potential factors for occupational inequity and inequality for prospective and current female educational leaders. Although women are increasingly obtaining leadership positions in the field, one position remains elusive to the aspiring female educational leader: the superintendency (Bilken & Brannigan, 1980; Brunner & Björk, 2001; Brunner & Grogan, 2007; Dana & Bourisaw, 2006; Mertz, 2006; Shakeshaft, 1987). Overcoming societal perceptions, handling hardships associated with attaining and maintaining one's position, and building powerful, meaningful relationships are some of the foci of previous research; however, there seems to be a piece missing from the current available literature. While one may evaluate the struggles females have faced in attaining district-level superintendent positions, research detailing the female's journey to the state superintendency remains incredibly limited to nonexistent. Through a postmodern-feminist lens, this qualitative study employs Harter and Monsour's (1992) Self-in-Relationship (SIR) interview protocol, in addition to open-ended interview questions, to explore a conceptual framework blending perceptions, reality, and relationships that potentially impact females on the journey to and in service within the state superintendency. From a constructivist, Grounded Theory approach, the study investigates a glaring gap in the current available literature in an effort to answer the overarching question: Do female superintendents perceive gender as playing a role in fulfilling one's duties at the state level?