Date of Award

Spring 1990

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Purpose. 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. Procedure. Subjects were drawn from urban and suburban public school districts in southeastern Wisconsin, having served in their designated positions for no more than six years. Investigative components included a Background Information Survey with a yield of 69% (N=90) and 31 in-depth interviews. Findings. 1. Some 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 -- usually white males -- were key actors in their socialization and in introducing the idea of going into administration since many of the women appeared to be role-bound as teachers. 4. The role of assistant principal was perceived as the least favored position, usually described as "lousy", "dead-end", or "negative." 5. Within the selection process experience, having a connection with central office was viewed as key to obtaining an interview, which was considered the biggest hurdle. 6. The strongest hurdle to going into administration was having a family, causing a delay in becoming an administrator. Conclusions. 1. The climate for the socialization of these women has been positive. 2. A significant number of newly appointed middle school assistant principals points to an opening toward more secondary opportunities for women. 3. The preponderance of Black women placed in urban minority schools continues to affect egalitarian representation throughout American schools. 4. Dissatisfaction with the role of the assistant principal could either affect innovations in school leadership or attrition of females from educational administration. 5. Women need to understand the dynamics of being role-bound so that they can learn to image themselves more readily as administrators...



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