Sacred Dreams

Women and the Superintendency

Edited by C. Cryss Brunner

Subjects: Education
Series: SUNY series in Women in Education
Paperback : 9780791441602, 231 pages, April 1999
Hardcover : 9780791441596, 231 pages, April 1999

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

Patricia A. Schmuck


Introduction. "Scattered All over the Road"
C. Cryss Brunner

"Crawling through the Window of a Dream" — Surveying the Terrain

C. Cryss Brunner

1. "Turning out the Ladies": Elected Women Superintendents and the Push for the Appointive System, 1900-1935
Jackie M. Blount

2. Women and the Superintendency: What Do We Really Know?
Marilyn Tallerico

"Do It Anyway" — Gaining Access

C. Cryss Brunner

3. The Role of Search Consultants in the Career Paths of Women Superintendents
Estelle Kamler and Charol Shakeshaft

4. Power, Gender, and Superintendent Seletion
C. Cryss Brunner

5. Climbing Hills and Mountains: Black Females Making It to the Superintendency
Judy A. Alston

6. Seeking and Selecting Hispanic Female Superintendents
Flora Ida Ortiz

"Small but Brilliant" — Living the Life

C. Cryss Brunner

7. The First Years: What Should a Female Superintendent Know Beforehand?
Barbara Nelson Pavan

8. Redefinition of Self: Mexican-American Women Becoming Superintendents
Sylvia E. Mendez-Morse

9. Getting inside History — Against All Odds: African-American Women School Superintendents
Barbara L. Jackson

10. Dancing in Red Shoes: Why Women Leave the Superintendency
Cynthia Beekley

"One's True Song" — Authenticating Research

C. Cryss Brunner

11. "Back Talk" from a Woman Superintendent: Just How Useful Is Research?
C. Cryss Brunner

12. A Feminist Poststructuralist Account of Collaboration: A Model for the Superintendency
Margaret Grogan

13. Thoughtful Practice: Responding with Questions from the Superintendency
Debra Jackson

Susan Chase



Offers practical advice and research results on women school superintendents, a field traditionally dominated by men.


Although women have dominated the teaching ranks at all levels of education since the turn of the century, men occupy 93 percent of superintendency jobs. Considering the nationwide concern that superintendency positions will be vacated faster than they can be filled during the next decade, it's quite possible that women are the greatest untapped pool of capable candidates. As women think about, seek, and accept superintendency assignments, they need a resource like Sacred Dreams that offers both practical advice from those who have attained this rank and research results from those who have studied the situation. Such an understanding has the potential not only to increase the number of women in the position, but also to increase their likelihood of success.

[Contributors include Judy A. Alston, Cynthia Beekley, Jackie M. Blount, C. Cryss Brunner, Susan Chase, Margaret Grogan, Barbara L. Jackson, Debra Jackson, Estelle Kamler, Sylvia E. Méndez-Morse, Flora Ida Ortiz, Barbara Nelson Pavan, Charol Shakeshaft, and Marilyn Tallerico. Also included is a foreword by Patricia A. Schmuck. ]

C. Cryss Brunner is Assistant Professor of Educational Administration at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


"Sacred Dreams makes a significant contribution to the literature on women in educational leadership, particularly serving in the superintendency, by offering personal narratives and reflections on what it means to be a woman and a superintendent. Those who are concerned about gender equity in all levels of the educational organization will find this book useful. " — Ernestine Enomoto, University of Hawaii at Manoa