University of Tasmania

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Women in primary school leadership in Otago in the 21st century : their skills, attitudes and values

posted on 2023-05-26, 23:56 authored by Bamford, Wendy
This study collects the personal experiences of Otago female principals and examines the leadership qualities they bring to the principalship. These qualities are compared to qualities seen as essential for 2 1 st century leaders. The study also looks into the barriers and support structures women have encountered and reviews the status of women in the profession today. Based on this data the investigator presents a summary of the advice offered to aspiring leaders of primary schools. Attention is given to the influence of 'Tomorrow's Schools' and the conflicts that may exist in primary school leadership for women. An overview of the principalship is provided, presenting the desired skills and roles of a successful principal for the 21st century. Women in the principalship are examined to use women's voice to share their career paths and leadership styles focusing on relationships, communication, use of power, and leadership priorities. Their barriers and support systems are analysed and reasons as to why women are not represented in leadership roles proportional to their representativeness in the teaching profession are explored. The study also goes further to discuss what intervention strategies are effective in changing the situation and how more women can be encouraged to become primary principals of larger schools in New Zealand. A qualitative research design was employed which included grounded theory, questionnaires and interviews. Triangulation of the findings for this investigation was achieved by incorporation of questionnaires, interviews and Education Review Office reports. While the findings were specific to the principals studied, this investigation provides an opportunity to learn of their leadership strategies, struggles and successes. The women also share their visions, reflections and advice to other women who may already be leaders of schools or may be considering becoming a leader for the 21st century. A closer examination of females in leadership in primary schools reflects that they see being a principal as an integral part of who they are and not separate from them. They utilize many strategies needed for effective principalship in a time when the knowledge drive and global interconnections make this position a very demanding one. The increased awareness that this study offers leads to the improvement of the self knowledge and confidence of female school leaders to lead their schools in their own way and successfully meet the demands of the profession both personally and professionally.


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Thesis (EdD)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references

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