Date of Award

Summer 8-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Don Schillinger


The purpose of this study was to ascertain which personal characteristics and professional skills differentiate female superintendents from school board presidents during the hiring process of a new superintendent. Input from practicing Louisiana public school superintendents and school board presidents was obtained in this quantitative study. This study’s significance was to identify personal characteristics and professional skills identified by current female superintendents to have been significant factors in their selection to the superintendency. Current research and literature reviewed and a reliable survey instrument obtained the desired information from the sample. The components of the survey were divided into two categories: personal characteristics and professional skills. The content or specific items for the survey were identified through the current literature. A factor analysis was performed on the survey to identify correlated items and group them into factors. As a result, four significant constructs were derived from the surveys.

Based on the population, the researcher distributed a survey with 14 personal characteristics and 22 professional skills. Three research questions were formulated for the study. The level of significance established for this study was .05.

Study findings showed the only personal characteristic with a significant difference was “Excellent and diverse societal skills.” The results were a positive sign that superintendents and school board presidents tend to agree and understand the characteristics that encompass today’s traits needed for a successful hire in the selection process of new superintendents.

It was also concluded that superintendents valued the professional skill of “high student advocacy,” “clearly focused work,” and “high academic goals” significantly higher than public school board presidents. Both hypotheses for this study were rejected.

The emerging views of leadership and the glass ceiling theoretical framework contribute to the need for attention to be placed on the personal characteristics and professional skills attributed needed when hiring a new superintendent. This research will help aspiring female superintendents identify the personal characteristics and professional skills of successful female superintendents. Using such information from the study for recruiting, selecting, and retaining female superintendents will be important for Louisiana.