Although almost 75 percent of elementary and secondary teachers are women and the number of women qualified to be public school superintendents is increasing, women still make up only 10 percent of all superintendents nationwide. When applying for superintendent positions, women have been asked questions regarding how their husbands feel about the job and about relocating. According to Elizabeth Morie, associate professor at James Madison University and former Lexington, Va. superintendent, women still have difficulty seeing themselves as principals and need encouragement to seek the job of superintendent. Morie’s research confirms two other studies which found that male teachers move into administration from the classroom earlier than women and are more likely to skip several steps, such as going from middle school principal to superintendent. Patricia Dignan, superintendent of Falls Church, Va. schools, said that once women move into higher positions, they still face greater scrutiny than men and have a harder time establishing credibility.
Morie indicated that girls need to see more women in top positions in order to envision higher possibilities for themselves. The younger I think they see those role models, the less they are inhibited,” Morie said. Jackie DeFazio, president of the American Association of University Women and a high school principal, agreed. She said that it is very important that kids see us modeling what the possibilities are — that not only for us, but in their minds, women can do any kind of job.”