Page 1 - Volume 7 - Issue 1 - DBU Journal of K-12 Educational Research


PROGRAM FEATURES • Degree completion in four years while working full-time • Direct application to current K-12 issues and trends • Lifelong relationships through the cohort model • Research that will impact your school or district • Three weekend classes per semester • Summer Symposiums in Austin and Washington, D.C. • Tuition competitively priced and financial aid available For more information, contact: Dr. Neil Dugger I (214) 333-5202 I I Dallas Baptist University I College of Education I 3000 Mountain Creek Parkway, Dallas, TX 75211 EdD IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP K-12 Equipping Servant Leaders for the 21st Century The EdD in Educational Leadership K-12 program emphasizes a practical approach to leadership development utilizing the servant leadership model. This degree program is for individuals who wish to have a transformational impact on their K-12 setting through their ability to integrate faith and learning. The program is both academically rigorous and practical in design. EARN YOUR DOCTORATE AT DBU

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 1

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS GREETINGS FROM THE DIRECTOR..................................................................................................................................3 A WORD FROM THE EDITOR................................................................................................................................................4 PERSPECTIVES OF COLLEGE PROFESSORS, BUSINESS MANAGERS, AND MILITARY RECRUITERS ON SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SKILLS STUDENTS NEED FOR POST-SECONDARY READINESS........................................................................................6 Stephanie M. Wolf, EdD WOMEN NAVIGATING THE LABYRINTH: A DELPHI STUDY ..........................................................................12 Lisa Hackel Pedevilla, EdD PERSONALIZED LEARNING AFTER COVID-19: EFFECTS ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT..........................................................................................................................................20 Erin Trantham, EdD THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH TEACHER ATTRITION AND THE IMPACT ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT.................................................................................................26 Bryan Calvert, EdD A PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY ON REDUCING ATTRITION IN SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS.................................................................................................31 Stephanie Denise Leach, EdD A CASE STUDY OF TEACHER INDUCTION AND THE PERCEIVED EFFECTS IN A K-12 CHARTER SCHOOL.............................................................................................37 Stephanie Colwell, EdD THE IMPACT OF PRINCIPAL SUPPORT ON TEACHER ATTRITION IN CHARTER SCHOOLS..............................................................................................................................44 Vonda Hayes, EdD FAST-GROWTH DISTRICTS: DISTRICT LEADERS USE OF STAKEHOLDER PERCEPTIONS AND EXPECTATIONS IN DECISION-MAKING..........................................................................................................................................................50 Mariah Lynn Bailey,EdD JOURNAL OF K-12 EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 3 Journal of K-12 Educational Research 2024, VOL. 7, ISSUE 1 We are very proud to showcase the outstanding dissertations from the past year in the seventh edition of the Journal of Educational Research K-12. This Journal is a product of the EdD in Educational Leadership K-12 program at Dallas Baptist University, which has been designed to develop transformational servant leaders who will serve our schools with excellence. This Journal is intended to further the research in K-12 education, and to share this research with educational leaders in north Texas and beyond. In the past eight years, DBU has produced over 200 new Doctors of Education, and they are serving in 88 different schools districts and systems in a wide variety of roles. As superintendents, assistant superintendents, directors, principals, assistant principals, and teachers, they are making a significant impact on the students and faculties they serve. As servant leaders, they understand their role to work collaboratively with all stakeholders in producing productive citizens who will impact the world in a positive way. The EdD K-12 program is designed as a hybrid program that can be completed in four years or less, in a cohort model. Students are in class three weekends per semester, and one-week seminars in the summers – including a travel seminar to Washington, DC. Our professors all have extensive experiences in school, and the degree is focused on the practitioner. Remarkably, 85% of the students graduate within four years, and the drop-out rate is less than 10%. Fifty percent of the students are promoted while in the program. As one graduate put it, “Being a part of the DBU family is the most impactful decision I ever made for myself personally and professionally. The network of educators that I now have across the state that share the DBU name has become one of my greatest resources. When you choose DBU, you choose relationships, mentors, and an experience unsurpassed by any other university that will deeply prepare you for the plethora of opportunities that will be awaiting you upon graduation.” Please read the important research contained in this Journal, and feel free to share it with everyone in your circle of influence. Furthermore, if you know of someone who needs to complete their doctoral degree, send their email address to me at Have a blessed day! Neil Dugger, EdD Director, EdD in Educational Leadership K-12 (214) 333-5202 Neil Dugger, EdD GREETINGS FROM THE DIRECTOR

4 Dallas Baptist University is proud to present the seventh issue of the Journal of K-12 Educational Research. The articles in this issue are presented by a selection of recent graduates of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership K-12, a practitioner’s degree which highlights skills needed to lead districts and campuses in North Texas and beyond. Each article is a summary of the data gathered for their individual research projects, and each provides answers to questions of local interest. Our students search for immediate, site-based solutions that could be easily applied to a variety of contexts. This edition contains four timely articles about an issue on the minds of many educational leaders – how to support and retain teachers. Dr. Bryan Calvert studied the costs of teacher attrition. Dr. Stephanie Colwell and Dr. Vonda Hayes studied teacher support, and Dr. Stephanie Leach studied effective practices to keep special education teachers. Julie Buckler Leslie, EdD A WORD FROM THE EDITOR Journal of K-12 Educational Research 2024, VOL. 7, ISSUE 1 Additionally, this edition includes an article by Dr. Stephanie Wolf in which she interviewed college professors, industry leaders, and military recruiters on the social and emotional skills high school graduates need to be college and career ready. Dr. Lisa Pedevilla studied women and the unique challenges they face in navigating their way to the superintendency and other top leadership positions. Dr. Erin Trantham studied the effects of personalized learning on student achievement after the COVID-19 pandemic. This edition also includes a study by Dr. Mariah Bailey about fastgrowth districts and how they can leverage stakeholder perceptions and expectations in decision making. DBU’s EdD K-12 program is based on the Biblical servant leader model of putting the needs of others first. Students explore problems that have immediate concern in their districts and are encouraged to share their findings with those districts. The articles included in this issue and the final dissertations upon which they were based have the potential to empower educational leaders and classroom educators and to make a positive difference for students throughout the North Texas region and beyond. Julie Buckler Leslie, EdD Director of Research in Educational Leadership K-12 (214) 333-5466

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 5 JOURNAL OF K-12 EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH PUBLISHING INFORMATION EDITOR Julie Buckler Leslie, EdD ASSISTANT EDITOR Sally S. Scoggins, EdD ART DIRECTOR Kadra Fant LAYOUT Rachel Rolfe

6 PERSPECTIVES OF COLLEGE PROFESSORS, BUSINESS MANAGERS, AND MILITARY RECRUITERS ON SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SKILLS STUDENTS NEED FOR POST-SECONDARY READINESS Stephanie M. Wolf, EdD Introduction Upon graduation from high school, many students pursue their choice of going to college, starting a career, or enlisting in the military. High school’s narrow focus on academic education could cause many students to be ill-prepared with the non-academic skills, or social and emotional learning skills, needed for postsecondary readiness. While academic achievement is necessary for post-secondary success, it is only part of the equation. Studies have shown that social, emotional, and behavioral skills are just as essential as academic preparedness for students to succeed after graduation (ASPEN Institute, 2019; Bobek et al., 2015; Conley, 2008). Non-academic, behavioral, and soft skills are also known as social and emotional learning (SEL) skills (Frey et al., 2019; Hubbard, 2018; Zins & Elias, 2007). To succeed in college, students need specific social and emotional skills (Bobek et al., 2015; Conley, 2008). Research shows the younger generation entering the workforce lacks the knowledge and application of social and emotional skills desired by employers and needed to be successful in their chosen field (Tulgan, 2015). While it varies by school, there is a growing desire and understanding of the importance of developing the whole child by incorporating social and emotional learning into curriculum frameworks and instructional practices. If schools want to honestly say their students have college, career, or military readiness (CCMR), they must help students develop SEL skills that will allow students to succeed in the post-secondary path they choose. Introduction to the Problem The purpose of the study was to determine the SEL skills high school graduates need for post-secondary readiness based on the perspectives of college professors, business managers, and military recruiters, who are the ultimate recipients of high school graduates. The addition of SEL skills that align with CCMR outcomes will strengthen the impact of high school SEL programs and the affective development of students. Educators, parents, and students need to have a clear understanding of the SEL skills they need to be prepared to go to college, start a career, or enlist in the military. Literature Review The current study includes a literature review of college readiness, career readiness, military readiness, social and emotional learning, and school-based social and emotional learning. A review of the history of SEL finds that social and emotional development is essential to every stage of human development (Waters & Sroufe, 1983). Research suggests there is a desire for schools to better develop the needs of the whole child by cultivating social and emotional skills in students (ASPEN Institute, 2019). Employers have expressed that there is a widening gap in employer expectations and the lacking SEL skills in today’s young workforce (Tulgan, 2015). College Readiness College readiness goes beyond college eligibility and admission. Conley (2008) developed a college readiness model that includes “four facets of college readiness: key Journal of K-12 Educational Research 2024, VOL. 7, ISSUE 1

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 7 cognitive strategies, key content knowledge, academic behaviors, and contextual skills and knowledge” (p. 24). The four facets of college readiness include nonacademic skills like the ability to transcend siloed learning, problem solving, analysis, persistence, selfmanagement, self-control, and an understanding of the college system, structure, and culture (Conley, 2008). Career Readiness Career readiness is defined by The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE, 2021) as “a foundation from which to demonstrate requisite core competencies that broadly prepare the college-educated for success in the workplace and lifelong career management” (p. 1). Career readiness skills ensure a successful entrance into the workforce. Graduates need a clear understanding of the skills necessary to launch and develop a successful career. NACE defined eight career readiness competencies: career and self-development, communication, critical thinking, equity and inclusion, leadership, professionalism, teamwork, and technology (NACE, 2021). Military Readiness The Department of Defense defines military readiness as “the ability of military forces to fight and meet demands of assigned missions,” which refers to the readiness of the military as a whole and not readiness at the individual level (Herrera, 2020, p. 3). More recently, several branches of the U.S. Military started considering non-cognitive skills as part of their recruitment process and began administering the Tailored Adaptive Personality Assessment System (TAPAS) created by Drasgow Consulting (Brading, 2020; Drasgow Consulting Group, 2022; Stark et al., 2014). The TAPAS comprises 22 factors that make up five dimensions of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience (Stark et al., 2014). Social and Emotional Learning Evidence suggests a growing need for an educational approach that balances academic instruction and SEL instruction to prepare students to thrive in school, their careers, and life (Greene, 2019). CASEL defines SEL as “the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible decisions” (CASEL, n.d.b). CASEL developed the CASEL 5 core social and emotional skills of self-awareness, self-management, relationship building, responsible decision-making, and social awareness (CASEL, n.d.a). Research Design The current study aimed to identify the intersecting skills needed for SEL and CCMR. The study included 15 college professors, business managers, and military recruiters from Ellis, Dallas, and Tarrant Counties located in the North Texas region of Texas who teach, hire, train, supervise, or recruit recent high school graduates. The participants engaged in semi-structured interviews, which garnered the qualitative data used for the current study. An inductive approach was used to analyze the qualitative data from the interviews to develop themes and parent codes representing the study’s research findings. Summary of Findings and Interpretation of Results The study’s findings indicated that social and emotional skills are critical to post-secondary readiness. Most participants mentioned that schools could do more to develop SEL skills in students before they graduate. Central themes emerged from the study and were grouped into four groups: College Readiness, Career Readiness, Military Readiness, and Cross-cutting SEL Skills. Figure 1 visually represents the themes that emerged in the current study for each research question. While some participants’ thoughts and stories expressed SEL strengths in recent high school graduates, most SEL references by participants were considered weaknesses or limitations. When considering the Cross-cutting SEL Skills, most participants thought Relationship Building and Social Awareness were an area of strength in recent high school graduates. Participants expressed that most graduates are willing to put themselves out there in social situations, even if uncomfortable. Many participants believed graduates are very comfortable building relationships

8 teaching recent high school graduates in freshmen college courses. College professor participants mentioned many SEL skills that were unique to college readiness. Independence was important to college professors because many first-year college students struggle with their newfound independence and the abrupt lack of supervision to keep them on track. Students must find an internal drive to succeed and be highly self-motivated to go to class, study, and complete coursework with minimal punitive consequences. Learning was another theme that was unique to college readiness. College professors expressed the importance of students approaching learning with curiosity and wonder. Students need to make deep connections in their learning and look for the interconnectedness between courses and their chosen career areas. College professors stated that recent high school graduates struggle with the depth of learning in college and find that factuallevel learning will not produce good results or grades. Participants also mentioned the need for first-year college students to learn effective study and notetaking skills. through social media or other electronic means; however, graduates often struggle with building meaningful relationships in person. Social Awareness was another area of strength referenced by participants. Several participants mentioned that graduates genuinely care for others, are concerned about what is happening in the world, and want to contribute to making the world a better place. Communication Skills, Growth Mindset, Resilience, Responsibility, and Self-Awareness Cross-cutting SEL Skills were referenced as areas of weakness or needed growth. Surprisingly, participants from all post-secondary entities indicated strategically designed efforts that they or their organizations take to bridge the gap in these areas of weakness. These intentional efforts to build SEL skills in these areas of weakness suggest the significance of SEL skills in relation to success. Research Question 1 (RQ1) What social and emotional skills do college educators perceive high school students need for college readiness? RQ1 examined what SEL skills college professors believe high school students need for college readiness. College professors gleaned from their personal experiences Figure 1 Research Question Aligned Themes Stephanie M. Wolf, EdD

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 9 Research Question 2 (RQ2) What social and emotional skills do business managers perceive high school students need for career readiness? The second research question examined what SEL skills business managers think high school students need for career readiness. Business managers drew from their personal experiences hiring, training, or supervising recent high school graduates who work for them. Business managers feel like graduates tend to have good selfawareness, but they need to know how to align their areas of strengths and weaknesses with their desired place of employment or career field. Social awareness was also referenced as an area of strength. Many business managers stated that their recent high school graduates keep them aware of current events and happenings in the community. Business managers expressed that graduates have strong technology skills and social media competence that helps them be more socially aware and accepting. The Commitment and Manageability themes were generally referenced as an area of weakness. Business managers expressed that graduates who join the workforce need to be coachable, mature, and have basic customer service skills. Business managers stated that some customer service skills have to be taught or are acquired over time, but basic skills like handshaking, eye contact, smiling, attentiveness, and positivity should already be proficient from the onset. The most referenced SEL skill by business managers was Initiative and Work Ethic. Business managers place high importance on recent high school graduates having good time management skills, being organized, putting forth a good effort, and being self-disciplined. Business managers stated that they expect employees to show up on time according to the schedule, meet deadlines, and fulfill commitments. Research Question 3 (RQ3) What social and emotional skills do military recruiters perceive high school students need for military readiness? The third research question examined what SEL skills military recruiters think high school students need for military readiness. Military recruiters had experience recruiting and partnering with recent high school graduates to enlist them in the military. Military recruiters stated that recent high school graduates seem to care for the world and want to make the world a better place for all. Other military readiness SEL skills referenced by military recruiters were considered areas of weakness. A distinct culture, a structured hierarchal system, and heightened pressure and stress are part of the military setting. Military recruiters stated the need for graduates to control their emotions, lean on purpose and goals, have grit and a willingness to learn, and understand their every decision’s immense impact on others. Business recruits made many references to the followership skills needed to succeed in the military. Graduates need to be willing to submit to their leaders and trainers, be open to learning new ways of doing things, and not let their ego affect their actions. All military recruiters stated that successfully completing boot camp is dependent on mental strength, positivity, resilience, and optimism. Having a team attitude and building positive relationships helps recruits thrive in boot camp. Military recruiters considered boot camp as having an essential role in building the needed SEL skills in new enlistees. Many recruiters reference specific things they do with potential enlistees to prepare them for success in the military, like making a budget, physical fitness, and building relationships and a sense of community among those going through the enlistment process at the same time. Research Question 4 (RQ4) What social and emotional learning skills should be included in a college, career, and military readiness framework for educators? The fourth research question aimed to consolidate the research findings from RQ1, RQ2, and RQ3 into one comprehensive CCMR SEL Framework. Data analysis for RQ4 also resulted in Cross-cutting SEL Skills, which are the SEL skills needed for post-secondary readiness in all three areas. The Cross-cutting SEL skills were Communication Skills, Growth Mindset, Relationship Building, Resilience, Responsibility, Self-Awareness, and Social Awareness. Despite the need for some improvement, the main area of strength agreed upon by all participants was Social Awareness. Participants believed recent high school graduates had respect for diversity, openness to

10 Stephanie M. Wolf, EdD the thoughts and backgrounds of others, and awareness of current events. All other Cross-cutting SEL skills were considered an area for improvement or a limitation for recent high graduates. Most participants referenced the need for graduates to know how to communicate professionally with adults verbally and in writing. Participant references included the desire for graduates who are willing to learn and grow, form healthy relationships, overcome challenges, make responsible decisions, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and know how they can contribute to the whole. Conclusion Students need many skills to be ready to face the demands, challenges, responsibilities, and excitement of life after graduation. Students need more than just academic skills, knowledge, and cognitive skills for CCMR. Students need to be made aware of and have opportunities to build vital SEL skills in school. As schools strive to implement SEL programs, special consideration needs to be given to aligning SEL programs to CCMR for high school students. Most post-secondary institutions already know the importance of graduates having the SEL skills they need to be ready for college, a career, or the military. It is time for schools to do their part and provide a holistic education that better prepares students for life-long success, improves overall mental health, and promotes a well-rounded foundation. When schools make the decision to focus on and heighten the importance of the deficit SEL abilities of students, graduates will reap the benefits of being more equipped with the skills they need to thrive in college, the workforce, and the military. References ASPEN Institute. (2019). From a nation at risk to a nation at hope. ASPEN Institute. fulltext/ED606337.pdf Bobek, B., Burrus, J., Camara, W., Hanson, M. A., Casillas, A., Gambrell, J., Mattern, K., O’Connor, R., Pulvermacher, R., Way, J., & Zhao, R. (2015). Beyond academics: A holistic framework for enhancing education and workplace success. American College Testing, Inc. documents/ACT_RR2015-4.pdf Brading, T. (2020, January 6). New entrance test to increase soldier quality, reduce attrition. U.S. Army, Army News Service. entrance_test_to_increase_soldier_quality_reduce attrition CASEL. (n.d.a). Core SEL competencies. Retrieved June 13, 2019, from CASEL. (n.d.b). What is SEL? Retrieved March 5, 2021, from Conley, D. T. (2008). Rethinking college readiness. New Directions for Higher Education, 2008(144), 24–26. https:/ Drasgow Consulting Group. (2022). Assessments. https:/ Frey, N., Fisher, D., & Smith, D. (2019). All learning is social and emotional: Helping students develop essential skills for the classroom and beyond. Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. Greene, J. (2019). The moral and religious roots of social and emotional learning. American Enterprise Institute - AEI. the-moral-and-religious-roots-of-social-and-emotional learning/ Herrera, G. J. (2020). The fundamentals of military readiness. Congressional Research Service. Hubbard, B. (2018). Developing life skills in children: A road map for communicating with parents. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, 19(3). https://doi org/10.33423/jhetp.v19i3.2115 NACE. (2021). Competencies for a career-ready workforce. resources/nace-career-readiness-competencies-revised apr-2021.pdf Stark, S., Chernyshenko, O., Drasgow, F., Nye, C., White, L., Heffner, T., & Farmer, W. (2014). From able to TAPAS: A new generation of personality tests to support military selection and classification decisions. Military Psychology, 26, 153–164. mil0000044 Tulgan, B. (2015). Bridging the soft skills gap: How to teach the missing basics to today’s young talent. Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint. Waters, E., & Sroufe, L. A. (1983). Social competence as a developmental construct. Developmental Review, 3, 79–97.

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 11 About the Author Dr. Stephanie Wolf serves as the Division Director of Systemwide Integration for the Office of Special Populations and Monitoring at the Texas Education Agency. Other previous administrative experience includes Director of Student Services, Special Education Manager, and Assistant Principal at Life School. She holders a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Texas A&M Commerce, a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Dallas Baptist University, and a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership K-12 from Dallas Baptist University. She can be reached at Zins, J. E., & Elias, M. J. (2007). Social and emotional learning: Promoting the development of all students. Journal of Education and Psychological Consultation, 17, 233–255.

12 WOMEN NAVIGATING THE LABYRINTH: A DELPHI STUDY Lisa Hackel Pedevilla, EdD Journal of K-12 Educational Research 2024, VOL. 7, ISSUE 1 Introduction Women comprise nearly half of the population in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, 2020). However, women are not equally represented in leadership positions across numerous fields: politics, business, the health industry, law, and education. Women show the desire to be in leadership, as evidenced by their college enrollment and graduation rates. Since the 1980s, women have surpassed men in college enrollment. And, since the 1990s, women have surpassed men in the percentage of college degrees earned (Bryant, 2022). In the field of education, women account for 77% of teachers in America and men account for 23% (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2019). However, the representation significantly differs in the role of the superintendent. Only 26% of superintendents are women, and 74% are men (American Association of School Administrators [AASA], 2020; Tienken & Domenech, 2021). The purpose of the current study was to identify and better understand the barriers women face as they pursue the role of superintendent and the supports that assist them to overcome those barriers. Summary of Study For the current study, the researcher conducted a Delphi study for the purpose of obtaining a consensus among Texas superintendents regarding the most common barriers women face on their path to the superintendency and the most effective supports that help women overcome the barriers. The participants, or expert panel, consisted of PK–12 public school superintendents who 1) serve or have served in the role, 2) hold a Texas superintendent certification, and 3) hold membership in Texas Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, Texas Association of Rural Schools, Texas Association of School Administrators, Texas Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, or Texas Council of Women School Executives. Respondent-driven, snowball, and purposive sampling methods were used (Creswell & Baez, 2021). The researcher selected the Delphi method to have expert superintendents serving in the field provide a list of ranked barriers women face when pursuing the role of superintendent and a list of ranked supports that assist them in overcoming those barriers. The current study included the four characteristics of a Delphi: participant anonymity, controlled feedback, iterative process, and statistical aggregation of group responses (Skinner et al., 2015, p. 33; Skulmoski et al., 2007, pp. 2–3). The expert panelists participated in three iterative rounds. The distribution of surveys occurred through Google using a Google Form. A thematic analysis process was applied to study the narrative data from the expert panelists in Round 1 and the open-ended questions in Round 2. The Likert-type scale questions used in Round 2 were created based on the coding and synthesis of the Round 1 comments, responses, and scholarly literature (Green, 2014). Since two of the barriers were close, bias/ cultural norms and lack of mentors, Round 3 was sent to prioritize the two. Round 3 confirmed the close findings of Round 2. The coding, categorizing, and synthesizing of data addressed the current study’s research questions. Literature Review Summary Women dominate the field of education, yet they fill a small amount of PK–12 school districts’ superintendent

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 13 century, the labyrinth faces the altar (Morrison, 2012). Members of a congregation and monks walked this pavement labyrinth for contemplation of how Christ is the path to salvation (Knox, 2020). Scholars reported one of the labyrinth’s purpose serves as a symbol of a human’s journey from sin to redemption (Morrison, 2012). Figure 1 shows the Chartres Cathedral path. Barriers and Challenges Studies report that women face two types of barriers when pursuing educational leadership positions: external and internal (Kowalski & Stouder, 1999; McGee, 2010; Shakeshaft, 1989). Women faced more exterior, visible barriers in the past, but today they face more internal, invisible barriers (Derrington & Sharratt, 2009a; 2009b; Kowalski & Stouder, 1999). Women have been directed into societal roles through years of socialization, which has led to internal barriers (Garn & Brown, 2008; Superville, 2017). Internal barriers are less likely to be visible. On the other hand, supports exist to assist women in overcoming the barriers. Figure 1 The Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth Note. From The Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth FAQ’s. Labyrinthos Archive by J. Saward, 2017. positions (Snyder & Dillow, 2012). While gains have been made in the number of women serving as superintendent, more gains should be made. Metaphors and the Labyrinth A metaphor elucidates the “meaning of intangible things by comparing them to tangible things” and conveys order from chaos (Brunner, 2000, p. 5). Metaphors have been coined for the disproportion of women serving in top leadership positions: glass ceiling (Hymowitz & Schellhardt, 1986), glass cliff (Ryan et al., 2016), glass escalator (Williams, 1992), concrete ceiling (Norman et al., 2018), and glass obstacle course (De Welde & Laursen, 2011). Other metaphors exist that do not center around glass: the labyrinth, the jungle gym, the motherhood penalty, and the maternal wall. The metaphors listed describe barriers women face when vying for advancement. A metaphor growing in popularity and modernized for today’s work culture is the labyrinth. In Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders, Eagly and Carli (2007) suggested that the labyrinth, which more appropriately represents today’s more complex and circuitous career paths for women, should replace the outdated glass ceiling. The need for the new term shows that the path to high-level leadership for women follows a winding course and requires them to understand the intricacies of the career path puzzle. Morgan (2008) purported the labyrinth metaphor encourages women because the inside of the labyrinth, even with its tortuous path, reveals a visible and attainable goal. Eagly and Carli (2007, 2009) credited women with the ability to see the barriers they face in today’s work environment and the ability to overcome them. Davis (2010) studied women superintendents in North Carolina and discovered her participants strategically navigated their way through a labyrinth to achieve their career aspirations. When they encountered detours, they utilized strategies to successfully continue their journey to their desired destination. Today, pilgrims travel to experience a popular labyrinth, the Chartres Labyrinth (Saward, 2017). Built in France in the Chartres Cathedral during approximately the 13th

14 Lisa Hackel Pedevilla, EdD Supports and Conditions of Equity Two types of supports exist to assist women in overcoming barriers: formal and informal (Higginbottom & Robinson, 2019). Institutions and professional organizations provide services labeled as formal supports, while a person’s social network and personal community provide informal supports. Scholarly literature is limited around the topic of supports for women, and more research needs to be conducted on how to best support women in the field of educational administration (Higginbottom & Robinson, 2019; Murrell et al., 2008). Despite preparation and qualifications, women continue to face barriers when they pursue the role of superintendent. As the labyrinth metaphor suggests, women do find success when pursuing the role of superintendent, often through a winding path. Often these paths to the role hold scattered supports that give help, lift, encouragement, sponsorship, and guidance. Summary of Findings and Interpretation of Results The current study’s intentions were to rank the most common barriers women face when pursuing the role of superintendent as well as the supports that assist women in overcoming the barriers. Fifty PK–12 public school superintendents in the state of Texas were invited to participate in a Delphi expert panel. Twenty-nine returned the informed consent. Of the 29 who consented, 26 completed the Round 1 open-ended survey resulting in an 89.6% response rate. Twenty-four completed the Round 2 survey resulting in a 92.3% response rate, and 18 completed Round 3 with a 62.2% response rate. The participants contributed insight into the most common barriers and supports by ranking and rating a list provided by the scholarly literature on barriers and support for women gaining the superintendency and the expert panelists in Round 1. The expert panel’s responses resulted in a prioritized list of barriers and supports that women encounter on their path to the role of superintendent. Through the expert panel’s responses and the review of literature, the following findings to the research questions can assist women in overcoming barriers and augmenting supports. Research Question 1 and Results Research Question 1 (RQ1) What is the consensus among an expert panel of superintendents about the barriers women encounter on their path to obtaining a superintendent position? RQ1 examined barriers women encounter on their journey to the role of superintendent. After inductive coding, a list of barriers was generated in Round 1. The expert panelists ranked the barriers in Round 2 according to most common to least common based on experience. After a frequency table and weighted mean were calculated, two of the barrier themes appeared to be close to one another: Lack of Mentors and Sponsors as well as Bias and Cultural Norms. Round 3 supported the Round 2 findings. Iterative survey rounds gathered input from the expert panelists regarding the topic of barriers. Transcripts were coded for the qualitative data and descriptive statistics of frequency table and weighted mean were calculated for the quantitative data. Results are shown in Figure 2. Research shows that women’s lack of self-confidence and lack of self-efficacy results in a barrier to moving into executive positions, such as the role of superintendent (Dobie & Hummell, 2001; McGee, 2010; Muñoz et al., 2014). Charles-Lynch (2017) said women tend to lose confidence rather than lack confidence (p. 62). The expert panelists in the current study found Lack of Confidence and Insecurity as the most common barrier. An educational leader lacking confidence implies it is the educator’s fault. Are we blaming the victim? Is it the woman’s fault? Why do women lack confidence? They have demonstrated they have the desire to become superintendent. They surpass men in the number of advanced degrees and certifications. Women in Texas hold 64% of superintendent certifications, while men hold 36% (Texas Education Agency, 2022). Women have surpassed men in the percentage of college enrollment and all degrees: bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees (National Center for Education Statistics, 2022). Despite investing time and money in advanced degrees and earning superintendent certifications, some do not apply for the position. Why do some women who have prepared to

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 15 Research Question 2 and Results Research Question 2 (RQ2) What is the consensus among an expert panel of superintendents about the supports women encounter on their path to obtaining a superintendent position? RQ2 examined supports women use to remove barriers on the journey to the role of superintendent. After inductive coding, a list of supports was generated in Round 1. The expert panelists ranked the supports in Round 2 according to most effective to least effective based on experience. After a frequency table and weighted mean were calculated, a prioritized list resulted. Iterative survey rounds gathered input from the expert panelists. Transcripts were coded for the qualitative data and descriptive statistics of frequency table and weighted mean were calculated for the quantitative data regarding the topic of supports. Results are shown in Figure 3. Women have made progress and the number of women serving in the role of superintendent has steadily increased since the 1980s. Since 2010, the Figure 2 Prioritized List of Barriers Women Face and the Codes of Each Barrier serve as superintendent not apply for the role? The current study showed bias exists and is strong, especially from school board members. Being aware of bias and cultural norms that have endured over time should be examined. Some of the panelists feel bias exists that impacts them. Some of the women participants mentioned the rich tradition of the family structure in our country. Research shows that equal division of chores and household labor can have a positive effect on relationships (Geiger, 2016). All families should examine the home duties and share the work equally. Sharing the duties of a home and family will benefit couples and women. One of the female participants in the current study reported that the perception that the woman is not the primary contributor in a family and thus does not need to make as much money as a man is a barrier for women. One female participant reported she had been told that she “makes pretty good money for a woman.” Another reported, “Driven women are often seen poorly whereas driven men are seen positively.” Bias and longstanding cultural norms are still impeding women.

16 Lisa Hackel Pedevilla, EdD growth has stalled for the representation of women in the superintendency. This slow growth implies barriers still exist and supports need to be augmented and increased. Talented women who have prepared to serve as superintendent and show a more preferred transformational leadership style are not being utilized. Limitations The current Delphi study had limitations. All the expert panelists were from Texas, and not all geographical regions in the state were equally represented. The lack of representation of superintendents from other states limited the findings of the current study, which focused on superintendents in the state of Texas. It is not recommended to generalize the findings of the current study to other states or regions in the country. Findings may differ if a more accurate representation of the geographical area was represented. Another limitation of the current study was the potential for researcher bias when selecting the expert panel (Linstone & Turoff, 2002). The researcher sought feedback from respected Texas educational organizations regarding which superintendents to invite to decrease the possibility of bias. Also, to limit bias, the researcher consulted the treatise committee on the choice and presentation of questions. Recommendations The ranked lists of barriers and supports offer guidance to school districts, hiring firms, and professional organizations as to where efforts should be prioritized to increase equity. Due to the disparity of women in the role of superintendent and the minimal progress that has ensued, especially the stall in advancement in the past 10 years, more research is needed. School board members and hiring firms should further evaluate the systems in place used to hire superintendents. Removing bias and preconceived ideas, including cultural norms and societal expectations, should be discussed. Protocols should be established to prevent subjective opinions and personal feelings from impacting a hiring outcome. Panelists shared experiences about comments said to them by school board members and during the hiring process. Female Participant 15 Figure 3 Prioritized List of Supports Women Experience and the Codes of Each Support

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 17 explained how she had been told that she makes “pretty good money for a woman.” Male Participant 11 stated that search firms are biased “in that they often include the spouse in the interview process. So, the board is interviewing a man and their female partner.” Professional organizations should continue to develop and improve their mentoring programs with a focus on reaching more women who aspire to serve in the role of superintendent. An abundance of literature exists on the topic of mentoring in educational leadership (Higginbottom & Robinson, 2019). The participants of the current study rated the lack of mentors as one of the top five barriers women face. A gap exists between the extensive knowledge of mentors and the comprehensive application of mentoring. Women who desire to advance into leadership positions experience fewer developed mentoring systems (Denneson, 2016; Lane-Washington & Wilson-Jones, 2015. Women superintendents need to further study effective mentoring and then take the time to implement the new learning. Since 74% of superintendents are men, it could be more difficult for women to find a mentor. In the current study, men and women noted the lack of mentors to be a barrier. Conclusions In summation, the field of education should continue to strive for continuous improvement in all areas, especially the area of hiring processes and biases related to selecting a superintendent. Having honest, respectful dialogue about processes and systems that may be outdated and inherent with bias should take priority. Women and men should not have allegiances or alliances. Educators should work together as one, crossing lines and reaching out to one another to do what is best for students. The role of the superintendent is critical in today’s rapidly changing society. Studies are reporting more superintendents are retiring and looking for other work (EAB, 2022). In the coming years, the need for strong, effective, caring leaders is critical to the success of public education. Supporting the many women prepared to serve in this critical role should be a priority for society. References American Association of School Administrators. (2020). The American superintendent: 2020 decennial study. http:// state-of-the-superintendency/ Bryant, J. (2022). Women continue to outnumber men in college completion. Best Colleges. https://www. complete-college-more-than-men/ Brunner, C. C. (2000). Principles of power: Women superintendents and the riddle of the heart. State University of New York Press. Charles-Lynch, E. (2017). Women’s quest to occupy executive positions in corporate America. [Doctoral dissertation, Walden University]. ProQuest Dissertation & Theses Global. Creswell, J., & Baez, J. (2021). 30 essential skills for the qualitative researcher (2nd ed.). Sage. Davis, S. A. (2010). Navigating the labyrinth: Women school superintendents in North Carolina [Unpublished doctoral dissertation] Appalacian State University. Denneson, A. (2016). The impact of mentorship on women superintendents in Minnesota. Culminating Projects in Education Administration and Leadership. 20. https:// Derrington, M., & Sharratt, G. (2009a). Female superintendents: Breaking barriers and challenging life styles. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 75(2), 8–12. Derrington, M. L., & Sharratt, G. C. (2009b). Self-imposed barriers. School Administrator, 66(8), 18–21. De Welde, K., & Laursen, S. (2011). The glass obstacle course: Informal and formal barriers for women PhD students in STEM fields. International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology, 3(3), 571-595. Dobie, D. F., & Hummel, B. (2001). Successful women superintendents in a gender-biased profession. Equity and Excellence in Education, 34(2), 22–28. https:// EAB. (2022). 2022 Voice of the superintendent survey. https:// a9d9-4fb3-96c3-167c92c3cd92#:~:text=The%20first%20 round%20of%20the,and%20perspectives%20of Eagly, A., & Carli, L. (2007). Through the labyrinth: The truth about how women become leaders. Harvard Business Press. Eagly, A. H., & Carli, L. L. (2009). Navigating the labyrinth.

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