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Open Access Dissertation

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Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

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Month Degree Awarded


Subject Categories

Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration | Other Educational Administration and Supervision | Urban Education


Scholars have not added much to the literature with regards to the small numbers of women and people of color in the superintendent’s role, particularly in New England. Even though women make up the overwhelming majority of teachers, somehow White males continue to hold the majority of superintendencies. This study is significant because it brings greatly needed attention to the career paths that superintendents take, and why White males and females are more successful in obtaining superintendencies. Through personal and confidential interviews, with semi-structured questions, of 12 White and Black, male and female superintendents, data was collected. The themes that emerged were, “Hookups” “Shot callers,” “Schooling,” “New Jacks” and “Hustling.” These themes spoke to the power of the networks and systems from which Whites continue to benefit. Whites are most likely to be in the position to hire superintendents (school boards, search firms, etc.) and typically hire Whites for these superintendent positions. This information is also valuable to administrators of color, who aspire to become superintendents. Also, I believe this study is of importance to school boards and search firms that seek to sincerely hire from a truly diverse field of applicants. Particularly, this study can help inform potential policy changes to ensure educators who aspire to be superintendents have real opportunities to pursue and obtain those posts.