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Briarcliff Workshop Helps Women Become Educational Leaders

Jazz Conboy, general counsel of the New York state Council of School Superintendents, speaks to women at the leadership retreat.
Jazz Conboy, general counsel of the New York state Council of School Superintendents, speaks to women at the leadership retreat. Photo Credit: Contributed

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. -- Women in education are underrepresented in leadership positions nationally, according to a leadership conference held earlier this month in Briarcliff Manor.

Fortune 500 companies have just 4.6 percent of women CEOs. And while the statistics are more robust, with 27 percent of leadership positions in education being held by women, women comprise 76 percent of classroom teachers.

Increasing these numbers was the focus of a conference 75 women in education attended at the Edith Macy Conference Center.

The Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES Center for Educational Leadership and New York state Council of School Superintendents presented the conference.

It was an opportunity to explore what it takes for women to reach leadership positions and to stay there.

“There is clearly a need for this conversation,” said Lynn Allen, assistant superintendent of PNW BOCES.

“Women need to help other women succeed,”  Jazz Conboy, general counsel for the Council of School Superintendents, said in an address.

Support and encouragement are key factors in getting women to pursue leadership positions, she said.

Conboy condemned the Queen Bee syndrome, where women in authority are harsher on their female subordinates than they are on men.

Quoting Madeleine Albright, she said, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

Conboy urged participants to adopt more of the Righteous Woman approach, where alliances are fostered to actively support one another.

“We want to make sure women know that they will have support when they step forward into leadership positions," said Deborah O’Connell, assistant superintendent for the Croton-Harmon school district.

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