Running head: Barriers Women and Minority Superintendents face in Mississippi
What are the barriers women and minority Superintendents face Mississippi?
Tommy B. Molden
University of Southern Mississippi
The position of school superintendent was created during the late 1830; by 1850, 13 large city school systems already employed an administrator in the capacity. By most accounts, the very first district superintendents were appointed in Buffalo, New York, and Louisville, Kentucky (Grieder, Pierce, & Jordan, 1969). By 1900, most city school districts had established this position. The need for school ...view middle of the document...
Normative role expectations for local school district superintendents have evolved over the past 150 years, incrementally becoming more extensive, complex, and demanding. By the 1980s, 82% of the states had promulgated laws or policies that required officeholders to complete a prescribed program of graduate study and subsequently obtain a state-issued license (or certificate) to practice. All but three states specified courses that had to be completed, and somewhat surprisingly, only 25 states identified “classroom teaching experience“as a license requirement (Baptist, 1989). More recently, Feistritzer (2003) reported that although 41 states continue to report preparation and licensing for superintendents, more than half of these states (54%) issue either waivers or emergency certificates to individuals who do not meet the prescribed qualifications. In addition, 15 of the 41 states (37%) allow or sanction alternative routes to licensure. Overall, the trend has been toward rescinding requirements for this key position, as evidenced by radical policy decisions such as in Tennessee, in which the only remaining requirement for being a superintendent is a bachelor’s degree (Kowalski & Glass, 2002).
Nearly all superintendents previously worked as building principals and majorities are former assistant principals. Therefore the ladder from the classroom to the superintendency often begins as an assistant principal or as a high school department chair (Glass, 2000). Those responsible for superintendent preparation recognize that doing the same thing in the same way will not produce different results. They also acknowledge that producing different outcomes will require reconfiguring superintendent preparation and reconnecting the academic and practice arms of the profession. Although most scholars and practitioners agree that knowledge and practice are central to successful skill transfer, pre-service professional in work settings (Tan, 1989). Although national commission reports, professional associations, and research findings concur that the acquisitions of professional knowledge in the work-embedded setting is the cornerstone of rebuilding professional rebuilding preparation programs, illustrating how these several dimensions are complimentary is useful (Bjork, Kowalski, and Brown-Ferrigno, 2005). People who work with superintendents on a regular basis or hear them speak at meetings and conferences know they are dedicated educators whose primary objective is to improve the educational experiences of the students in their districts (Sharp, Malone & Walter).
Planning for the Superintendency
The process of planning is extremely important for those who do not have social or political advantages for reaching the superintendency. White males, for example have often benefited from being sponsored by the “good ole boys” network (Hord and Estes, 1993) and they still constitute the vast majority of school superintendents, 87% of all superintendents in...