Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Ronald D. Valenti

Second Supervisor

Betty Rosa


Despite recent gains, women continue to be underrepresented in the position of school superintendent. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to examine the perceptions of female superintendents as they proceeded through the recruitment and selection process for a superintendency in an urban school district. This was accomplished through interviews of four women that served as superintendents in Council of Greater City Schools member districts. Person Organization Fit Theory (POF) (Cable & Judge, 1997) was used as a frame to study the ways in which women participants determined their fit for a superintendency. Findings indicated that POF theory did not adequately explain how female superintendents determined their fit for a superintendent vacancy in a particular school district. Findings also suggested internal and external candidates for the superintendency determine fit for the position differently. Gatekeeping Theory (Lewin, 1951) was used as a frame to examine the participant’s perceptions about their recruiters and the recruitment and selection process. Findings indicate that while the selection process is standard amongst the national recruiters and recruiters are still the gatekeepers of the process, the recruitment process has changed significantly. Both theories provided insight to help explain why there are a disproportionately low number of female superintendents in comparison to male superintendents in American school districts

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