Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)


School of Education

Degree Name



Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Melanie Carter

Second Advisor

Dr. Trevor Turner

Third Advisor

Dr. Ganga Persaud


This study chronicled the perceptions of African-American female superintendents about their career ascendancy. This study identified factors that impact career ascendancy patterns as identified by African-American female superintendents. These factors included personal factors, educational factors, career factors, sociopolitical factors, and mentoring. The study created a linkage between African-American female administrators and the factors involved in the ascension to the superintendency. The research design selected for this study was a qualitative, descriptive design to identify the experiences and perspectives of African-American female superintendents. The Robison (1992) interview guide and Winthrop 2001 interview guide were the primary instruments. The researcher found that there are some important elements in the ascendancy pattern of African-American females to the superintendency: African-American female superintendents persevered through problems that related to their gender and race, educational factors, occupational factors, and sociopolitical factors. The conclusions drawn from the findings suggest that African-American female superintendents were more likely to be between the ages of 50-59, married, Protestant, hold a terminal degree, and were more likely to be appointed rather than elected to a district with 1,001 to 3,000 students. African-American female superintendents were more likely to choose a male mentor over a female mentor, who as it appears, was largely influential for the success of the African-American female superintendent. The majority of African-American female superintendents viewed their leadership role as a service. The majority of African-American female superintendents spoke about the role of private life versus career. This is consistent with traditional gender socialization. Many African American female superintendents perceive it difficult to ascend in the superintendency if they are confronted with the problem of mobility.

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