Women Take on Superintendent Role
Regardless of gender, running a school district has its challenges.
"I think that the challenges for females and males in this role are enormous," Bunceton superintendent Mary Lynn Battle said.
Battle has been the superintendent in Bunceton for three years. She said one of those challenges is that teachers and administrators have to look at students through different lenses.
"When you assume the role of a building level administrator, an instructional leader, you take that lens and make it a little more wide angle," Battle said.
It's not uncommon for female educators to move up to administrative positions.
"They have also moved up the ranks through curriculum and instruction types of positions," MU education professor Margeret Grogan said. "Men have usually moved into the superintendcy through being coaches, being high school principles or being like assistant superintendent for personnel."
A new book that Grogan co-authored says that in the national picture, less than one-fifth of superintendents are women. But in missouri women fill almost a quarter of the positions.
Grogan also found the job tends to be more satisfying for women.Almost three-quarters of women find the job highly fulfilling compared to just more than half of men.
"It is the greatest calling in our society to help prepare students and to be examples and role models to students," Battle said.
Grogan said it's a common misconception to think women don't want to be in upper level administrative positions. Her research shows two-fifths of women filling various superintendent roles aspire to higher office.