Gender dynamics: An exploratory study of the role and relationship of high school assistant principals and their principals

Theresa Cerza Cuddy, Fordham University

Abstract

This study explored whether gender is a factor that impacts high school assistant principals' job responsibilities, relationships with their principals, and their influence on the decision-making process. Four urban high schools and eight administrators were used in configurations of the four possible gender combinations—M/m, M/f, F/m, F/f (upper case letters designated principals and lower case represented assistants). Data were obtained from observations, documents, and interviews. The specific tasks studied were budget, personnel, facilities, security, and school-wide communication. Findings showed: (1) Gender was not a factor in facilitating or impeding competence in managing the required job tasks. All assistants, regardless of gender and gender combination, performed all the required tasks. (2) Gender did increase and change job duties in that female assistants chose to increase their work loads by becoming involved with curriculum and instructional tasks in addition to their prescribed duties. (3) Gender was a factor in improving or impairing the relationship between assistants and their principals. Same-sex pairs (M/m, F/f) described their relationships as “good” or “very good.” Mixed-set pairs (M/f, F/m) reported areas of conflict with their assistants' treatment of staff. Principal M/f complained about his assistant's hostile manner and Principal F/m disapproved of her assistant's “bad guy” tactics. (4) Gender does not facilitate or impede decision making. Principals in all gender combinations said they relied upon using consensus to make decisions, but relied more heavily upon their assistants when consensus was not possible. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration

Recommended Citation

Cuddy, Theresa Cerza, "Gender dynamics: An exploratory study of the role and relationship of high school assistant principals and their principals" (2001). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3021697.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3021697

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