Date of Award

Spring 1998

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Augenstein, John J.

Second Advisor

Fuller, Howard

Third Advisor

Cepelka, Angeline


This multiple case study investigated the career paths of minority superintendents who were members of the Council of Great City Schools during the 1997-1998 school year. In the Council of Great City Schools over half of the members are people of color. The research questions considered in this study included the following: (1) What were the career paths of the minority superintendents? (2) Were there barriers to career advancement? If so, what were they? (3) What strategies did these superintendents use to advance their careers? After the population under study was identified, each was asked to complete an informational survey. Data from the survey was analyzed and a profile of each respondent was developed. Four respondents were selected to take part in the case study phase of the project, which involved an in depth interview with each of these individuals. An examination of the case studies revealed that these superintendents took non-traditional career paths. All were leading large urban school districts. The greater majority maintained that they had been discriminated against due to their race/ethnicity, their gender or both. The participants maintained that these behaviors are more subtle and difficult to prove in the 1990's. Barriers to career advancement included the "good old boy" network, socialization succession and being excluded from consideration for certain top level positions. Strategies that may enhance one's chances of acquiring a superintendency include having a mentor, a sponsor and having a network of colleagues for support. Special training programs, such as the Urban Superintendent Program at Harvard University, were also seen as beneficial to attaining this goal.



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