Book Review

Women Leading School Systems: Uncommon Roads to Fulfillment

by C. Cryss Brunner and Margaret Grogan, Rowman and Littlefield Education, Lanham, Md., 2007, 177 pp., $26.95 softcover

Authors Cryss -Brunner and -Margaret -Grogan, professors at the University of Minnesota and the University of Missouri-Columbia respectively, apply their considerable knowledge about women in the superintendency to this crafted study, Women Leading School Systems: Uncommon Roads to Fulfillment.

Until now, those of us who are students of the history of the superintendency in the United States have been given access to an incomplete picture. The voices of those who have taken the reins of large and small school districts and/or who have served in deputy, associate and assistant superintendent capacities have simply not been heard.

Most importantly, Brunner and Grogan perform due diligence to this work by sharing the values, visions, stories and perspectives of several subgroups of women. They look at the characteristics of women who have chosen to pursue the superintendency by contrasting those in the pipeline against those who are not. They also profile those women who have taken on the challenge of the superintendency and take a special look at women of color.

With extensive use of tables and figures, the authors provide in-depth insight into this uncommon group of women who demonstrate that the most difficult problems in public education are not insurmountable. We learn the subjects of this study have not chosen to just lead school systems but to be leaders and role models for their families and communities. All of this happens against extraordinary societal, political and institutional challenges.

All aspiring school system leaders and those presently in those roles need to know these women.

Reviewed by Perry Berkowitz, chair of education leadership and counseling department, College of Saint Rose, Albany, N.Y.