From barriers to challenges: The Black and White female experience in educational administration

Maureen Alice Boss Polczynski, Marquette University


The purpose of this study was to explore the barriers which selected Black and white female elementary and secondary assistant principals and principals experienced in the anticipatory and encounter stages of their administrative socialization. Findings. (1) Issues recognized as barriers in previous studies were re-defined as "challenges" or "hurdles". (2) Barriers based on gender and race affected these subjects diversely and, seemingly, to a lesser degree than prior studies. (3) Mentors were key actors in their socialization and in introducing the idea of going into administration. (4) The role of assistant principal was perceived as the least favored position. (5) Within the selection process experience, having a connection with central office was viewed as key to obtaining an interview. (6) The strongest hurdle to going into administration was having a family. Conclusions. (1) The climate for socialization has been positive. (2) A significant number of newly appointed middle school assistant principals points to more secondary opportunities for women. (3) The preponderance of Black women in urban minority schools continues to affect egalitarian representation. (4) Dissatisfaction with the role of the assistant principal could affect innovations in school leadership or attrition of females from administration. (5) Women need to understand the dynamics of being role-bound so that they can learn to image themselves as administrators. Recommendations. (1) This study should be replicated with males or religious and lay administrators in private schools. (2) More attention needs to be paid to the re-definition of secondary administrators' role responsibilities. (3) Selection and promotion trends should be chronicled so that current information would be readily available to aspirants. (4) The educational philosophies of women should be compare to that of men to help determine whether schooling would be any different under their leadership. (5) The dynamics of urban placement of Black administrators, as well as the suburban minority recruitment process should be investigated within the same study. (6) The link of gender of building administrators with school effectiveness should be investigated. (7) Studies should be undertaken to explore Black female administrators' choice of school district/school and its interaction with minority administrator recruitment policies of suburban districts. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)

Recommended Citation

Polczynski, Maureen Alice Boss, "From barriers to challenges: The Black and White female experience in educational administration" (1990). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9101422.