Women in the Superintendency in New Hampshire: A Grounded Theory Study of Resilience

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Southern New Hampshire University
Though women comprise the majority of the education workforce in the United States, relatively few serve in the role of school superintendent. This is problematic for two main reasons: first, whenever one gender is underrepresented in any field, there is an accompanying lack of voice and ideas; second, in a field that is reaching critical stages of leadership scarcity, the absence of women represents a loss of potential talent in the applicant pool. The purpose of this study is to focus on how women superintendents experience the process of building resilience as they attain and serve in the position of superintendent. This is accomplished by examining participantidentified obstacles, how they overcame those obstacles, and what drove them to continue doing so during their most difficult times. Using constructivist grounded theory methodology, 12 New Hampshire women superintendents were interviewed, using iterative coding throughout the analysis, and the resulting data analysis offers the emergence of a substantive and original theory and two models (the capacitance model and the capacitance model in context) to illustrate this phenomenon. By investigating the core of resilience, this study informs us about strategies and mindsets that potentially open the gates to other women considering this role, increasing gender equity in the superintendency and in the education professional overall.
Educational Leadership, constructivist grounded theory