Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




John Johnson


Working mothers who are school leaders face challenges as they attempt to manage competing time demands and personal and professional responsibilities. A need exists for existing school leaders, as well as women aspiring to school leadership, to understand the coping strategies used by mothers who are also school principals. To that end, the purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine the experiences of mothers who are school principals. Strategies used to navigate multiple roles were examined through a role conflict lens. Three overarching research questions guided this study to focus on how female principals with children accommodate their dual roles as principal and mother, what feelings are generated by the experience of managing dual roles as principal and mother, and how female principals with children respond to the demands of their roles. A purposive sample of 6 principals who are working mothers participated in in-depth interviews. Each interview was recorded, transcribed verbatim, and coded to identify major themes and subthemes. The findings revealed that these mothers were impacted by the conflicting demands of motherhood and school leadership. Overwhelming responsibilities led to emotional pressures and lack of self-care for these women. This research makes an important contribution to the field of educational leadership by strengthening school leadership, facilitating a more sustainable female workforce, and increasing support for and dialogue among other women experiencing these phenomena. Current female school leaders may be compelled to serve as mentors, as the findings suggest that networking and support activities may help to combat feelings of isolation in the workplace and increase self-fulfillment.