Dr. Amy Burkman & Dr. Derek Lester - Published in NFEAS JOURNAL, 31(1) 2013-2014 - Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Editor-in-Chief, NATIONAL FORUM JOURNALS (Founded 1982) - www.nationalforum.com
NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL
VOLUME 31, NUMBER 1, 2013
Superintendent Salary Study: Is There Gender
Equity in Texas?
American Public University System
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Crucial In Texas public schools approximately 17% of superintendents are
women (TEA, 2011), which is slightly below the national average of 24%
(Kowalski, McCord, Petersen, Young,&Ellerson, 2010) but which is still up
from the early 21st centuries average of 12% (Dianis, 2000; Shakeshaft, 2000;
Dana &Bourisaw, 2006a). While this is a positive sign that the glass ceiling is
cracking, there is still a discrepancy between practice and national averages.
One important factor in the perceptions of success is the equity of pay between
genders. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a significant
difference in the salaries of women superintendents in Texas and their male
counterparts. While national studies show no gender discrepancy, Texas has
lagged behind in number of superintendents and the hypothesis was that they
lagged behind in salary equity as well; however, the findings of this study
indicate that there is no discrepancy in the salary between men and women in
traditional K-12 organizations in Texas. In a few regions, findings show that
women actually make higher salaries than male counterparts.
he glass ceiling in educational leadership is cracking with
approximately 24% of the superintendents in the United States
being women (Kowalski, McCord, Petersen, Young,&Ellerson,
2010), which is up from the early 21st centuries average of
approximately 12% (Dianis, 2000; Shakeshaft, 2000; Dana
&Bourisaw, 2006a). With the number of women superintendents in
the United States growing from 21% in 2006 (Glass &Franceschini) to
24% in 2010 (Kowalski, et. al.), the fissures in the glass ceiling are
growing at staggering rates. Although fissures are weakening the
structure of male-dominated leadership, research is necessary to
increase cultural awareness and to bring awareness to the continued
struggles of women to gain access to high level positions within
education. According to Dana and Bourisaw (2006b), perceptions, not
reality, determine the leadership opportunities and success for women
in leadership. Attention to women’s retention in the superintendency is
as important to improving women’s numerical representation and
integration into the role of superintendent as understanding how
women attain the leadership position (Tallerico, 1999). An important
factor in retention is the equity of pay, which has historically been a
problem, but recent studies have shown to have equaled out (Meier&
Historical Aspects of Female Leadership
Women have always been an active part of the educational
system. Prior to the suffrage movement, women held approximately
30% of district level superintendent positions. While the women’s
suffrage movement increased the availability of educational training to
women, it also caused a whiplash of executive decisions that
decreased the opportunities for women to take leadership positions
(Blount, 1999; Dana &Bourisaw, 2006a). This whiplash reduced the
number of women superintendents to 11% of the total by the 1930s.
Very little changed for almost three decades.
40NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL
By the 1960s, two major workplace issues still existed; access
to equity of benefits and access to leadership positions (Dana
&Bourisaw, 2006a). Blount’s (1998) research showed that
women have not enjoyed easy access to the local district
superintendency…In 1910 women served in 327 out of 5,284
local school districts. By 1970 women superintended only 73
out of 10,431 local districts, producing a steady decline in
representation from 6.19% to only .70%. (p. 183)
While approximately 24% of superintendents in the United States are
women over 65% of the workforce in education are women
(Kowalski, et. al., 2010; Shakeshaft, 2000).
Glass &Franceschini’s (2006) Superintendent Study shows that
55% of women in the superintendency are in small rural districts, 35%
in suburban districts and only 9% are in urban districts. Growe and
Montgomery (2002) previously found the majority of female
superintendents either started in or occupied positions in small districts
with few central administration officers and declining enrollment. This
imbalance effects perceptions of women in the superintendency and
has impact on the salary structure for women.
Finding a superintendency job presents the greatest challenge
to women, although they are the majority gender entering
superintendent preparatory programs (Bjork, 2000). Kamler (1999)
presented evidence that search consultants historically do not select
women. Seven reasons were identified as part of this research:
1. The ratio of male vs. female applicants is still disproportionate;
2. Women are more satisfied holding highly visible, responsible
3. Women rarely have secondary leadership experience;
4. Men typically have more superintendency experience;
5. Few consultants search for women applicants;
6. Women lack an interest in the superintendency due to an
avoidance of failure;
7. Boards perceive women as weak.
These identified reasons, as well as a lack of women working as
search consultants, stymie the access women have to superintendent
positions. Dana and Bourisaw (2006a) verified that ―all too frequently,
women leaders are viewed through the lens of male leadership and
face confounding biases toward them‖ (p. 67).
Female public school superintendents are described by the U.S.
Department of Labor as working in the most gender stratified
executive position in the country (Bjork, 1999). Skrla (2000a) found
that within the context of public school superintendency the role of the
superintendency is socially constructed. Social constructs, such as the
assumption that males are more effective leaders than women, create
the apparent realities of societal roles. While studies have been done to
reflect on the experiences of superintendents, male superintendents are
the dominant participants in these studies (Marshall, 1997) creating a
skewed view of thesuperintendency. Skrla (2000a) believed that
policy initiatives will only take place if women hear and understand
women with similar experiences.
Understanding the equity of salary between men and women
can influence districts when hiring a superintendent. Women’s public
declaration of interest in the superintendent position, and their
increasing success in gaining the position will have a prevailing effect
on the next generation of women educators (Grogan, 2005). In a study
of Texas superintendents in 2000, Meier and Wilkins found that
women superintendents that replace male superintendents receive
lower salaries than their predecessors, but salary discrepancies overall
were more subtle. In actuality, the study found that women received
less compensation in only one situation. For each 1% increase in local
42NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL
funding men were paid .11% more in salary while women were only
paid .06% more. All other variables being equal, women actually
made 7.5% more than men.
In Texas public schools the probability of having a woman in
the superintendency is slightly under the national average of 24%
(Kowalski, et. al., 2010) at approximately 17% in the 2009-2010
school year (TEA, 2011). The demographics of Texas mirror those of
the country through demographics and socioeconomic status, showing
that schools across the country can successfully increase the number of
women in leadership. This statistic leads to the question of salary
equity. Does Texas have a salary equity discrepancy?
Texas women superintendents suffer through sexism and
discrimination in the daily leading of school districts (Skrla, 2000b). In
a study of former Texas superintendents, Skrla found that deep policy
initiatives are needed to overcome gender specific challenges.
Mandatory annual training for school board members needs to include
discussions of gender and the role of superintendents. Skrla also
established that school boards need to be held accountable for the
employing and evaluation of superintendents based on clearly
established priorities and goals. Finally, she showed that universities
and state education agencies need to make feminist discourse more
accessible to female leaders (2000b).
Meier and Wilkins (2002) did a study similar to the one
proposed here on superintendent salaries in Texas using salaries 19951998. While they found that ―there is some evidence of discrimination
in salaries in specific situations‖ (p. 409), there was some question as
to whether the salary difference was due to a difference in the district
size and wealth of the districts hiring women or whether there was
overt discrimination. Further research is required to determine the
reasons why there might be salary discrepancies in order to correct any
existing equity issues.
This study proposes to analyze salary based on district size and
geographic location throughout the state, which should better allow for
a comparison of districts with similar demographics and financial
Implications of Current Research
The proposed study holds particular interest due to the
potential impact on the current practices of school boards across the
country. Research in the area of salary equity and women in the
superintendency can help all women better prepare to obtain equitable
treatment in hiring practices. Brunner (2000) reveals that ―the presence
of women in the superintendency has tremendous potential to change
the specific common perceptions that have, in the past, disallowed
women the position‖ (p. 36).
Statement of the Problem
This study focuses on analyzing the salaries of superintendents
in Texas using demographic factors, such as district size and location,
in addition to gender. Because the demographics of Texas K-12
institutions represent demographic populations from a large portion of
the United States, this study could be easily generalized to the larger
population of the United States. This study operates as a pilot study
that will be extended to include first the region, then the entire
Seven questions ofdescriptivestatistics define the study
44NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL
1. What is the salary range and mean for full-time female and male
superintendents in the State of Texas?
2. What is the mean salary of women superintendents in districts with
less than 1000 students?
3. What is the mean salary of women superintendents in districts with
1001 to 5000 students?
4. What is the mean salary of women superintendents in districts with
more than 5000 students?
5. What is the mean salary of male superintendents in districts with
less than 1000 students?
6. What is the mean salary of male superintendents in districts with
1001 to 5000 students?
7. What is the mean salary of male superintendents in districts with
more than 5000 students?
The research questions of this study examine salary differences
between and among the 918 full time male and female superintendents
of Texas school districts. Superintendent data was gathered the Texas
Education Agency, which collects and reports superintendent salaries
annually. The demographic data collected by the state identifies the
name of the district, size of district, superintendent salary, monetary
amount of additional benefits, and superintendent name. The gender of
each superintendent was identified based on personal information
made available on each school district website.
Once the data were accessed from the public information,
districts that had a less than full time superintendent, that were charter
schools, or that served students K-8 instead of K-12 were removed to
ensure that all data met specified criteria. Districts are divided into
three categories according to student population size: Small (>1000),
medium (1001 - 5000), and large (5001+). Females of different sized
districts are compared among each other. Likewise, male
superintendents of different sized districts are compared among each
other. Finally, female and male superintendents of similarly sized
districts are compared between each other.
Following the analysis between various sized districts,
comparisons were also made between men and women in various
regions of Texas. The state identifies 20 educational service center
areas. These service center areas were grouped into regions:
Region 1-- North Central: Educational Service Areas10, 11, 9;
predominately urban and suburban districts; major cities include
Dallas, Fort Worth, and Mount Pleasant
Region 2 -- Central: Educational Service Areas13, 14, 15, 12; equal
urban, suburban and rural; major cities include Austin, Abilene, Waco
and San Angelo
Region 3 -- East: Educational Service Areas 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; equal urban,
suburban and rural; major cities include Houston, Beaumont,
Region 4 -- West: Educational Service Areas 19, 18, 17, 16;
predominately rural districts; large cities include El Paso,
Midland/Odessa, and Lubbock
Region 5 -- South: Educational Service Areas 1, 2, 3, 20; mostly rural
with one major metropolitan area (San Antonio); major cities include
San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Edinburg (see graphic 1.1)
The analyses for district size were also run based on regional areas of
46NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL
The mean salary for a superintendent in the state of Texas is $118,990
with a mean district size of 5030. The mean salary of a female
superintendent is $117,749 with a salary range of $56,840 to
$328,950. The mean salary of a male superintendent is $119,240 with
a salary range of $50,000 to $346,778 (See Tables 1 and 2).
Mean and Salary Range for Full-Time Female and Male
The mean salary of women superintendents in districts with less than
1000 students is $87, 813.
The mean salary of women superintendents in districts with 1001 to
5000 students is $115, 225.
The mean salary of women superintendents in districts with more than
5000 students is $189,304.
The mean salary of male superintendents in districts with less than
1000 students is $88,834.
The mean salary of male superintendents in districts with 1001 to 5000
students is$120, 469.
The mean salary of male superintendents in districts with more than
5000 students is $197, 771.
Mean Salary of Female Superintendents by District Size
Comparison of mean salary of superintendents in Texas.A
one-way ANOVA found no statistically significant difference between
male (M = $119,240) and female (M = $117,749) superintendents
within the State of Texas, F (1, 917) = 0.128, p = .721.
Comparison of female and male superintendents mean
salary by district size.A one-way ANOVA found no statistically
significant difference between male superintendents within small
sizeddistricts (M = $88,834) and female superintendents within small
sized districts (M = $87, 813.68), F (1, 436) = 0.356, p = 0.551.A oneway ANOVA found no statistically significant difference between
male superintendents within medium sized districts (M = $120, 469)
and female superintendents within medium sized districts (M =
$115,225), F (1, 311) = 2.455, p = 0.118.A one-way ANOVA found
no statistically significant difference between male superintendents
within large districts (Mean = $197, 771) and female superintendents
within large districts (Mean = $189,304), F (1, 168) = 0.768, p = .382.
Comparison of female superintendents mean salary by
district size.Main effects of a one-way ANOVA revealed a
statistically significant difference between females of small, medium,
48NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL
and large districts, F (2, 151) = 164.102, p = .0001. Analysis of
comparisons revealed statistically significant differences between all
three of the district sizes: Small (M = $87, 813) and medium ($115,
225) (p. > .0001), medium ($115, 225) and large (M = $189,304) (p. >
.0001), small (M = $87, 813) and large (M = $189,304) (p. > .0001).
Comparison of male superintendents mean salary by
district size.Main effects of a one-way ANOVA revealed a
statistically significant difference between males of small, medium,
and large districts, F (2, 761) = 858.079, p = .0001. Analysis of the
findings revealed statistically significant differences between all three
of the district sizes: Small (M = $88,834) and medium (M = $120,
469) (p. > .0001), medium (M = $120, 469) and large (M = $197, 771)
(p. > .0001), small (M = $88,834) and large (M = $197,771) (p. >
Comparison of superintendent mean salary by region.This
study analyzed data from 918 male and female superintendents from
five regions within Texas: North central, central, east, west, and south.
There is no statistically significant difference among the mean salary
of superintendents of the five Texas regions.
Analysis of the simple effects revealed statistically significant
differences between regions. Region 1 demonstrated a statistically
significant difference between all other regions: regions 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Analysis of the findings revealed no statistically significant difference
among two sets of regions: Regions 4 and 5 demonstrated no
statistically significant difference between each other; the same for
Regions 2 and 3. Regions 2 and 3 (a homogeneous subset with no
statistical difference) each demonstrated a statistically significant
difference between regions 4 and 5 (also a homogeneous subset). See
Table 3 for a listing of regional mean salaries.
Comparison of female and male superintendents mean
salary by region.There is no statistically significant difference among
the mean salary of male and female superintendents of the five Texas
regions. Analysis revealed a statistically significant difference
between male and female salaries within Region 3. There is no
demonstrated statistical difference between superintendent salaries of
the other four regions. There is, at times, a considerable real dollar
difference between female and male salaries.
In Region 1, male (n = 150) and female (n = 21) mean salaries
demonstrated no statistically significant difference: F (1, 169) =
2.493, p = .116. The female mean salary ($155,878) is higher than
male ($135,229) salaries.
Region 2 males (n = 212) and females (n = 45): There is NO
statistically significant difference: F (1, 255) = 1.761, p = .186.
The male salary mean ($123,256) is higher than female salary
Region 3 males (n = 113) and females (n = 37): There is a
statistically significant difference: F (1, 148) = 12.057, p = .001.
The male salary mean ($130, 051) is higher than the female salary
Region 4 males (n = 131) and females (n = 15): While there is NO
statistically significant difference: F (1, 144) = 1.860, p = .175.
The male salary mean ($103,750) is lower than the female salary
mean ($118, 197).
Region 5 males (n = 158) and females (n = 36): While there is NO
statistically significant difference: F (1, 192) = 3.854, p = .051.
The male salary mean ($103, 785) is lower than the female salary
The mean salary of males in Region 2 demonstrated a
statistically significant difference over the mean female salary, and by
a margin of 27% higher salary than females. However, females have a
higher average mean salary than males in Regions 1, 4, and 5. See
Table 3 for the side-by-side regional comparison of male to female
salary and percentage difference.
50NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL
Salary Difference by Region
Analysis results revealed no statistically significant difference
between the salaries of males and females employed by similarly sized
school districts. There was found statistically significant differences
among the salaries of superintendents employed in districts of
different sized student populations. Also, analysis results that
compared salary differences among five Texas regions found females
have a higher average mean salary than males in Regions 1, 4, and 5.
The implication of this data is that competitively paid female
superintendents are grouped into Region 1—North Central, Region 4 - West and Region 5 –South. These findings also suggest these regions
compensate female superintendents competitively.
Future studies include a look at national salary trends and
further analysis of rural versus urban superintendent salaries with
additional variables. A look at national salary trends based on regional
attributes could help pinpoint areas of need in terms of gender
equality. Additional attention needs to be given to the gender
stratification of rural school districts (if any) and the search process for
The implications of this study are positive: gender alone does
not impact superintendent salary in the State of Texas. With salary
being equivalent across groups, the new question is why does Texas
have only 17% female superintendents, approximately 3% less than
the national average? This question brings to mind even more
Are women in the superintendency more likely to work in large
urban and suburban districts than rural?
Does the lack of rural female superintendents negatively impact
the availability of jobs for women entering the superintendency?
What other variables impact the salary negotiation process?
The lack of gender bias shown in the research shows positive growth
in narrowing the leadership gap but there are still miles to go before
true equality is evidenced in educational leadership.
52NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL
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