Despite the fact that the pool from which most school leaders come is made up of a majority of women, most school leaders are men. Notwithstanding extensive research regarding this issue, the number of women principals in secondary schools and in the office of the superintendent remains low. The barriers, for those women not hired, identified by the reviewed literature can be classified as issues of job structure, age, and career paths. Because these issues are ones connected to women's family and domestic responsibilities, a simple solution for increasing the number of women school leaders has remained elusive. However, one barrier, a lack of mentors, has not been as widely explored. The impact a mentor has is undeniable and having a role model serves to make positions of school leadership more achievable. Further, having a woman mentor not only identifies the barriers, but also allows an aspiring women school leader assistance in their navigation. The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore the concept and practice of women-to-women mentoring through the perceptions of women school leaders who were seated secondary school principals, assistant principals, and superintendents, and are or were mentored by other women school leaders. Specific questions included: 1) How do study participants perceive the concept and practice of mentoring? 2) What are the lived experiences of women who have been mentored by women school leaders? 3) Why and how are or are not study participants supporting, through mentoring, other women who aspire to school leadership? This qualitative study, used interviews, observations, and documents/artifacts to gather data regarding the concept and practice of women-to-women mentoring. A phenomenological approach, including bracketing and reduction, was used to bring forth the prominent themes. Findings emphasized and illustrated original learning in the areas of: 1) mentor theory, 2) the practice of mentoring school leaders, 3) women-to-women mentoring, 4) the specific needs of women school leaders, 5) the gender of the mentor, 6) benefits to mentoring for women, 7) misuses of mentoring, and 8) a seated woman leaders choice to mentor.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. April 2015. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisor: C. Cryss Brunner. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 281 pages.
Beyond The Barriers: Women-To-Women Mentoring In/To Secondary School And Central Office Leadership.
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