Exploring the Personal Journeys of Women Leaders Serving in K-12 Christian Schools
Edwards, Mika B.
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This phenomenological qualitative research examined the factors that influenced seventeen women leaders in K-12 Christian schools and the pathways that lead to their achievement. The research was designed to analyze the pivotal components of their journeys to further understand and enhance training for future women educational leaders. The framework of the research was in response to the underrepresentation of women in leadership counter to those serving as teachers. The participants were acquired through the snowball sampling technique with data collected via online interviews and a discussion board forum. The data was triangulated, coded, and analyzed to result in seven themes. The themes represent consistent components shared in the narratives of the participants regarding their personal journeys to Christian education leadership positions. The themes were both intrinsic and extrinsic in nature. The themes encompassed motivations such as personal desire to serve, a calling from the Lord, a commitment to live in obedience to the Lord’s guidance and valuing the experience as a teacher. The remaining themes represented external influences within the accrediting agency, as well as spiritual and professional mentors who spoke words of encouragement as well as modeled servant leadership behaviors. Suggestions for further research are to include a deeper look into the mentor relationships and whether they are organic in nature or structured. In addition, research could expand to Christian leaders within secular schools. The conclusions of the study supported the literature on both external and internal sources of encouragement for women Christian education leaders. The underrepresentation of Christian educational leadership is not due to obstacles within the Christian educational realm but rather due to a direct correlation of guidance from the Lord.