Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Felicia Blacher-Wilson


The lack of female representation and gender imbalance in the superintendent position nationwide has been a focus of scholars for many years. Researchers have demonstrated that females have the experiences, preparations, and expertise necessary but are not securing the superintendent position at the same rate as their male counterparts, causing a disproportionate representation in the superintendent position nationwide. The purpose of this study was to examine the perspectives of female superintendents on the challenges, preparation, and experiences important for females to succeed in attaining a superintendent position in a large southwestern state. The social cognitive career theory was used to analyze the perspective of the participants. Using a qualitative method, data from 10 currently or previous serving female superintendents in a large southwestern state were collected for this study. Two research questions guided the study. The first question included obtaining information about the preparations and experiences important to prepare females to be successful in attaining the superintendent position. The second was to obtain information about the challenges to attaining the superintendent position for aspiring females. The results of these analyses indicated that activities like networking, group activities, mock interviews, professional learning, and creating a network of supportive advocates were imperative when trying to attain a superintendent position. Aspiring females and districts may develop positive social change from the results of this study by leveling the playing field to the superintendent position, by removing the expectation of the high school principalship, and by addressing gender inequities in the position.