Recent data from The ILO Group show women make up fewer than a third of superintendents in the nation’s largest 500 school districts.
The ILO Group sampled the 500 most populous school districts in the country, according to The National Center for Education Statistics. Of those, 246 districts (49 percent) underwent a leadership change between March 2020 and September 2022, which included 94 female superintendents leaving their position. Sixty-two of those female superintendents (66 percent) were replaced by men.
Notably concerning, research from the Council of Great City Schools found the average female superintendent’s salary continues to lag that of their male counterparts by $20,000 to $30,000.
Additional findings of interest include:
- As of September 2022, there were 150 (30 percent) female superintendents and 350 (70 percent) male superintendents in the largest 500 districts.
- No meaningful progress has been made in closing the gender gap since March 2018. As of March 1, 2018, there were 145 (29 percent) female superintendents in the largest 500 districts; as of March 1, 2022, there were 149 (30 percent) female superintendents.
- Societal factors such as stereotypes about the capabilities of women and definitions of leadership predicated on traits associated with men as well as structures under the control of school systems skewing pipelines in favor of men and bias in the hiring process contribute to the issue.
The ILO Group report suggests the following possible solutions:
- Prioritize gender equity in recruitment and selection.
- Be transparent.
- Support families and wellbeing.
- Be financially fair.
- Intentionally foster support systems.
Additional strategies can be found in the HRX article Increasing the Number of Women Leaders in Schools. More findings from the ILO Group are available in the full report The Superintendent Research Project: Assessing Persisting Gender Disparities in K-12 Education Leadership.
The TASB/TASA Superintendent Salary Survey collects superintendent base pay, benefits, and allowances. While demographic data is not collected, it is the most comprehensive superintendent salary survey in Texas and will provide member districts with accurate market data and the ability to run custom reports.
Invitations to participate in the 2023-2024 survey will be emailed to TASB HR Services salary survey contacts on July 18th. Your participation helps all school districts pay competitive salaries.
Sarah James joined HR Services in 2019. Prior to that, she worked at a Central Texas school district for 11 years. She is responsible for managing web content, HR Services articles, HRX newsletter, social media accounts, and marketing efforts.
James has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Concordia University Texas in Austin.
Email Sarah if you have a story idea for the HRX.
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