Three school leaders buck the trend

May 09, 2003 12:00 am

By CLAIRE ST. JOHN

Walk into almost any classroom in Tuolumne County, and chances are, a woman will be teaching.

The same goes for secretary positions, food service jobs and aide positions.

But when it comes to heading the schools, men are more often at the helm.

Only three of 12 — or 25 percent — of Tuolumne County school superintendents are women.

But those numbers are better than nationwide, a new study shows. Across the United States, only 10 percent of superintendent positions are held by women.

The study by a Texas A & M professor, titled "Sexism, Silence and Solutions: Women Superintendents Speak Up and Speak Out," details how most women are slighted for these top jobs, and how difficult it can be for those who are hired.

‘You do the job'

Diane Dotson, superintendent of Jamestown School District, had little trouble getting her position — the board came looking for her.

She served as principal of Jamestown for several years before taking a job at the county Office of Education as assistant superintendent. When Jamestown asked her to come back, she did.

"The staff and the community felt really comfortable with her because she had been here so long and everyone really admired and respected her," said Marty Minners, who served as interim superintendent for a year and a half.

That Dotson is a woman never crossed Minners' mind.

"In education, you do the job," he said.

Diana Page, superintendent of Soulsbyville School District, has been doing the job for 10 years, making her the most senior superintendent in the county.

She has been a Soulsbyville teacher, principal or superintendent for 30 years, and said the community's long knowledge of her helped her ascent.

"I think if I had come into the school from the outside, it would have been different," Page said. "Because I was here as a teacher for 15 years and enjoyed a wonderful communication and reputation with the community and the kids, it made it easy for me to step into a leadership role."