Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education


Women are underrepresented in a variety of fields, including educational leadership. Upon assuming leadership roles, women often struggle to effectively lead due to a pervasive context of sexism and genderism in the workplace. Schools are not immune to this phenomenon. Since women comprise approximately 50% of the population, it seems logical that they should assume a comparable percentage of leadership roles in education, but this is not the case. Beyond parity, it is important that there are not only more women leaders in educational administration but also that those women in leadership roles are supported within a context that enables them to thrive. It is important that educators develop an awareness of what is working and contributing to the effectiveness of these principals. Society will benefit from more equitable representation and experience of women leaders in schools. For the purposes of this study, I selected effective women principals in Colorado using the School Performance Framework implemented by Denver Public Schools, which rates schools on a color scale aligned to performance. This study considers student growth and achievement, parent and community engagement, teacher retention and closing gaps for marginalized student populations. I utilized a strengths-based approach to identify women principals who had a green or blue rating on the School Performance Framework for the 2017-2018 school year. Then, utilizing qualitative research methodology, I interviewed these women principals to ascertain their self-perceptions as to what makes them effective in their leadership practice. The study considers what contributes to a women principal's effectiveness, as reported in their own words. I coded the interviews and identify trends. The study's results and findings are beneficial to women leaders as well as all educators and leaders interested in fostering a less sexist, more equitable society where leaders can flourish and our students can thrive.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.