Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

David E. Bartz


This study reviewed the personal, professional, and educational characteristics of the Illinois women superintendents in 1987. A questionnaire was mailed to the twenty-two women superintendents. Eighteen of them replied.

The three specific problems addressed by the study were:

1. What are the personal, professional, and educational characteristics of Illinois women superintendents in 1987?

2. What are the special problems encountered by women superintendents?

3. What advice do the present women superintendents in Illinois offer to women aspiring to become superintendents?

The responses were based on the perceptions of the eighteen women superintendents who replied. The questionnaire results were reported in averages and percentages. Several conclusions were determined by the study. They were as follows:

1. Eleven percent of the fathers and twenty-two percent of the mothers of Illinois women superintendents have a college degree.

2. Seventy-two percent of the women superintendents were from rural, small towns.

3. Sixty-six percent of the respondents were married.

4. Fifty percent of the respondents have a doctorate degree.

5. All but two are superintendents of elementary districts.

6. Only one woman superintendent in Illinois serves a district with a student population over one thousand.

7. Sixty-one percent of the respondents developed their careers in more than one district.

8. Exactly half of the respondents were committed to a particular geographical area and half were willing to move in order to develop their careers.

9. Sixty-seven percent of the women superintendents believe the superintendency has high demands and high rewards.

10. Fifty-five percent of the respondents believe their college preparation to be only adequate.

11. There was strong agreement among the women superintendents that:

a. Women usually must be better than their male competitors to be considered for an administrative appointment.

b. Men, in general, believe men are better leaders than women.

c. Women frequently do not receive salary, title, and status to match their responsibilities.

d. Agressiveness is usually viewed as a negative trait in women.

12. The best advice for women aspiring to become superintendents in Illinois according to the eighteen respondents was:

a. Establish your career goals early and make your decisions on the basis of those goals.

b. Build your own “good ol’ boy” network--keep in contact with women and men who can help you in your career and be eager to help them.

c. Become a mentor to other women who have potential to be administrators.