Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Teresa Jordan

Number of Pages



Current data show that approximately 65--75% of the teaching force is women, yet only 12--13% of today's public school superintendents are women. The purpose of this study was to examine the leadership styles, behaviors, and attitudes of diverse women superintendents. Nine tenets of effective leadership, taken from extant research, evolved from the WILD (Women in Leadership Development) Project, a study of women in executive leadership positions across multiple fields and disciplines (Wolverton, et al., 2003). The nine tenets were: (1) Effective leaders are passionate about their organizations. (2) Effective leaders are reflective. (3) Effective leaders are competent. (4) Effective leaders are great communicators. (5) Effective leaders understand the role that culture plays in shaping the way they lead. (6) Effective leaders understand the physical and emotional stamina, energy, and resilience needed to persevere in the long run. (7) Effective leaders are focused yet forward thinKing (8) Effective leaders value and respect individuality. (9) Effective leaders possess credibility; This study explored how diverse women superintendents defined, experienced, and instilled in others the nine tenets of effective leadership. In-depth interviews were conducted and cross case analyses presented for both participants and leadership tenets. The study presented three major findings. First, it confirmed previous findings of the broader literature on leadership relative to how leaders define and experience the nine tenets. The women in this study rated passionate, competent, focused yet forward thinking, and possessing credibility as the most critical tenets. This study also confirmed previous findings regarding the professional and personal obstacles that executive women leaders face, such as the good old boys club, the glass ceiling, domestic responsibilities, and a lack of mentors/role models but, that these women had overcome. The second major finding was that these five women superintendents consciously created opportunities for others to develop leadership skills. Third, they maintained incredible stamina, focus, and professionalism while realizing power in collaboration.


Attitudes; Diverse; Effective; Leadership; Leadership; Nine; Superintendents; Tenets; Toward; Women; Women Administrators

Controlled Subject

School management and organization; Women's studies

File Format


File Size

3799.04 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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