The research addressed the problem of discrimination against women at the highest levels of leadership in secondary schools, high school principals. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its inherent and entrenched patriarchal system dominate religious practices in Utah and provide the model for Utah schools. The model is problematic for students and female teachers because it reifies the current practice of a male defined leadership paradigm. The purpose of this study was to understand women's experiences as high school principals in LDS communities where priesthood vested in all Mormon males predicts power and authority in home, churches, and social venues, including schools. Using qualitative methods and a phenomenological design, I applied a multicultural feminist lens to women's experiences in leadership positions. I used interviews, a focus group to create a venue for shared emergent data, and reflections to provide for triangulation and trustworthiness. Results of this study included realization that the LDS faith, structure, and cultural capital it generates are a driving and pervasive force for women and men who move into this climate, granting them cultural advantage through church affiliation. Lack of that social capital could imperil success in public educational administration; therefore, the principals in the study engaged political intelligence to interface with the culture: Women chose to act LDS, engage male mentors, follow male role models, and although they were feminist leaders, viewed leadership through a male prism, discounting the structural barriers and inequity in leadership practice. The power of the LDS priesthood in the culture advantages men in leadership. Priesthood power spills over from religious venues because LDS ministers as unpaid clergy are not just ministers but may be teachers, administrators, and staff of public schools. The "power from God" invades the workplace from those whose religious and public duties overlap and changes the way that women and men act and lead. I found that the dominant religious structure sets up accepted leadership models and those in leadership positions value and then transfer those practices to nonreligious social and political communities in Utah. While there is no assumption of generalizability, these concepts have transferability to similar cultures where religious values affect community, particularly those whose paradigm includes a powerful patriarchal tradition.
|Book:||Women in educational leadership: High school principals negotiating gender and patriarchy in a Mormon culture.|
|Author:||Marilyn Allphin Miller|
|Publisher:||ProQuest, UMI Dissertation Publishing|
|Number of Pages:||344|
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