Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Charol Shakeshaft


This qualitative study used a phenomenological approach to determine the reasons why women leave the superintendency. This study not only illustrated the different ways a woman can leave the position of superintendent but also the reasons she would choose to leave. These reasons can be either positive or negative, but they rarely are the sole cause for why a woman leaves the position. This interview study of 20 female participants who served as superintendent in the Commonwealth of Virginia identified four main themes as to why a woman chose to leave the superintendency. These included: (a) it wasn’t the job I thought it would be; (b) the struggles with family; (c) taking care of herself; and (d) I’m not the right fit for the community. The study also identified the routes women take to leave the superintendency which include retirement, leaving for another superintendency, movement into another position within PK-12, opportunity in higher education, working as an educational consultant, or moving into a position outside of education.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

March 2013