Four Attitudes of Successful Women

Our recent study, titled “Female Superintendents: Breaking Barriers and Challenging Life Styles,” included several recommendations from women who have attained a superintendency and what they consider a satisfactory home and family life as well.

•  Resolve. Develop determination and an iron will. Recognize that women often have to fight harder, wait longer and survive more scrutiny to become a superintendent. Resolve to be one of those who meets the challenge and succeeds.

•  Balance. Balance your personal and professional life. Dual roles often come at a cost. Make time for family, self and work. Decide what’s important or essential, and then learn to say “no” more often to whatever is not. 

•  Negotiate. Understand that anything is negotiable. Achieving the superintendency will certainly affect personal relationships and lifestyle. Consider negotiating boundaries or asking for creative alternatives. 

•  Cultivate support. Ask for and expect other family members to share household duties. Instead of doing a “double day” — working at the job and at home — devise a way to divvy up household chores and responsibilities. Use teamwork strategies learned in leadership training to help make this work.

The full study appeared in The Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin’s Winter 2009 issue (Vol. 75-2). It can be accessed online at

— Mary Lynne Derrington and Gene Sharratt