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Vol. 10, No. 1 = No. 10 (2002 Winter)

Can you be an effective principal when you don't smoke, swing a club, or ride a Harley?

  • Jacqueline E. Jacobs
June 19, 2017


Perhaps, the day will come when men and women administrators will learn with, and from each other, without having to consider whether it earns (or costs them) "brownie point" with the superintendent.

The increasing desire for essential leadership skills that promote collaboration, consensus building, and empowerment of others has resulted in more opportunities for women (Logan, 1998) in educational administration. According to Patterson (1994), there "exists a world view in which gender and racial equity issues are no longer considered to be a problem" (p. 2). And, Logan (1998) suggests, "although problems still persist and much remains to be done to remove gender filters in the workplace, conditions are favorable for advancing gender equity" (p. 4). Yet, at the most basic levels of interaction, administrators may not exhibit collaboration, consensus building and supportive empowerment when interacting with each other. Consider this: if you don't smoke cigars, play golf, or ride a motorcycle, how effective can you be as an administrator? Even when you know something about being a good principal and educational leader, if you don't participate in the social activities supported by the superintendent you can't help but wonder if your teachers and students would be better off if you did. Patterson (1994) reminds us "we live in a society in which white men define and legitimate the dominant culture" (p. 3). This is a tale of how true that still is.