Monday, October 24, 2011

Male School Administration-Where did you go?

After connecting with some great school leaders across the nation via Twitter (and with some encouragement), I am very excited to post my first blog.  Here we go:

First, let me state that this is not intended to offend any school administrator, leader, or any female in a leadership position, for that matter.  But am I the only one blown away by how few male administrators there are?  Or is it just my district?

I can only use my personal experience, and realistically, I am still on the "youthful" side of experience.  But numbers don't lie.  This summer, I was a finalist for a High School Assistant Principal position in my current district after completing the initial interview in January.  I do remember the first round of interviews and wondering, "Where are all the male administrators?", as I sat in the "waiting room" and did not see another male interviewee the entire time I was there.

Twenty-five of us had survived the first round of interviews in January and we now were interviewing with individual Principal's.  Out of 25 finalists, I was one of FOUR males.  Four.  When allowed the opportunity to ask, "What are you looking for in your new Assistant Principal?", I was pleased to hear "male" each time.  At least I couldn't answer that question incorrectly.

But it hit me again big time as I attended a terrific Professional Development on Friday.  Approximately 33 Principal's/AP's attended a district PD on SMART Goals.  Out of 33 current administrators, I could count the number of males on one hand.  Exactly five.  Statistically speaking, that is consistent with the interview finalist pool.

So where did all the male administrators go? 

My current admin team make-up is a male Principal, a male AP (me!), and two female AP's.  Nice balance.  But, as previously mentioned, my district is lacking in male administration.

Let's look at my previous school (different district).  I was hired by a male Principal, but both principals that followed were female (seven year span).  That school currently has a female Principal, two females Assistant Principal's, one female Dean of Students (same duties), and one male Dean.  So 80% of that admin team is female.

My wife works in a high school where both the Principal and lone Assistant Principal are both female.

Was it always this way?  I had to think back to my secondary school experience: In "junior high", I had a male Principal and male Assistant Principal.  In high school, same exact thing (I actually had two different Principal's in HS, both male).

In my graduate courses, it seemed that the classes were pretty balanced with males and females.  I even asked a buddy of mine who is in his first semester of grad school and his "cohort" is four males and five females.  It's not like males aren't pursuing degrees in administration.

So what is happening to all the male administrators?

I will say that the majority of my new Twitter connections are males (#edchat #cpchat), but I am very curious if there is a lack of male school administrators in other districts?  Other parts of the country? 

Are we becoming few and far between?  What is happening to all the male administrators?

I appreciate any responses related to this point.

Thanks for reading and please follow me @CSmithGoBlue


The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith and do not represent the school or district in which he works. 


  1. While you stated that your intention was not to offend, you did. You have not given any reasons why having male administrators is important (and there are many), and have also neglected to make clear why not having them is a bad thing. Furthermore, by juxtaposing female-led leadership teams against what you position as ideal, you are saying that having too many women in positions of leadership is a problem. I would appreciate clarification on what points you are trying to make here.

  2. Welcome to the Blogging world, Craig!
    I'm from the So Cal area and all my life as a student, and teacher, I had male administrators. My dad was a principal and my uncle was a principal. I was determined to be the first female principal in our family!
    I was fortunate to claim this title for 14 years spent as an elementary school principal. I can tell you that in California,the gender differences for principals are clear depending on the grade level.
    In this challenging economy, women are still losing ground to men in terms of job loss. This is mostly due to the teaching profession that is predominantly female, and job loss is huge right now for us.
    I think that if you concentrate on being the best admin you can be, you can mentor men and women to join you in the field. In my opinion, it shouldn't matter what the gender is, as long as that person is a committed, knowledgeable, passionate, caring leader. It's time we looked beyond this issue and welcomed the shift to women taking an equal place at the helm of schools across this country.

  3. Robyn,

    I thank you for your comment and apologize for any offense taken.

    My main point, which I should have included in my post, was that school staff should adequately represent the student body. My secondary point was a glaring decline in male school administrators in my area, which personally, is dissapointing because my educational career has been influenced by so many male role-models in the position.

    By no means did I intend to imply that female administration is a "bad thing", but rather that many males (especially at the high school level) need positive male leadership, and school administration can provide that.

    I completely respect your response.

  4. Thanks for the clarification, Craig. I'd be interested to hear more about what you see as some of the immediate effects of a lack of male role models in your school, and what that might imply for the long term. In my opinion, male students need role models more than ever before and I wonder how that's playing out in your context.

  5. Robyn,

    Through the past few years, I am seeing more and more high school male students that are being raised by single mothers, grandmothers, and this year, students in group/foster care.  These parents/guardians do a tremendous job with their students.  But, the need for positive role models is much greater now then it was ten years ago, at least in my current district.

    Male teachers definitely provide some means of serving as a male role model, but realistically, when teachers have classrooms of 35+ high schools, how often are they able to have trust building one-on-one conversations with undivided attention?

    I can speak from personal experience from someone who was raised solely by my mother that there were many times when I simply needed to speak to/spend time with adult males that I looked up to dearly.  
    My varsity athletic coaches were able to fulfill that need and I was fortunate because of it.But the students in mind do not have that opportunity.  

    Unfortunately, a handful of these students run into discipline issues for one reason or another, and I find that the time I spend one-one-one with these students and the relationship that I attempt to build is powerful.