Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Kathleen Foster, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Sue A. Rieg, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Douglas Lare, Ed.D.


The purpose of this study was to replicate a study that was completed in 1992-1993 and published in 1996 in a textbook, Highly Successful Women Administrators: The Inside Stories of How They Got There by Sandra Lee Gupton and Gloria Appelt Slick. More than 15 years have passed since the results of that study were shared. The intent of this study was to duplicate the original reason for the study, which was to investigate the topic of gender issues in order to learn more about the experiences and perceptions of today’s female administrators in education. The researcher added current quantitative and qualitative data to the literature that currently exists about women administrators, and their experiences and perceptions during career development. The survey instruments originated by the two previously mentioned authors were used to replicate this study in Pennsylvania. For 50 years, gender issues have been one focal point of research in the field of education, especially as they related to women in leadership capacities. The current study gathered information about women’s experiences in their quest to acquiring leadership positions in education. This study entailed two phases with the first being a survey of 300 selected Pennsylvania top-level administrators in the public school system. The Gupton and Slick questionnaire solicited information about women administrators’ experiences and the perceptions about their ascent to the top (Gupton & Slick, 1996). In the second phase of the study, the researcher conducted interviews utilizing the second survey, again designed by Gupton and Slick, with 25 female superintendents in Pennsylvania. The questionnaire was accompanied by a series of narrative prompts to assist the participants in telling their stories. Those superintendents who agreed to participate in the study were contacted to arrange an interview. The quantitative data were compiled, analyzed, interpreted, and then supported by qualitative accounts from superintendent interviews.