Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Leslie R. Bloom


Social scientists have referred to secretaries as invisible and government agencies have described the job classification as non-regulated. One segment of this job classification, public school secretary, could very well be described as nonexistent. However, anyone who has ever visited a public school has probably met the school secretary. She has been described as the woman in the principal's office and frequently has been charged with running the school. Yet, as a group, these public school employees have been ignored by the leaders in educational research and policy study.;In this study I reached out to the school secretaries of Iowa and offered them an opportunity to discuss their views regarding their roles in our public schools. I have reported demographic information and personal perceptions of 147 public school secretaries, 99.31% of whom were women. These women represented the smallest and largest school districts in the state of Iowa. I provided members of this large group with an opportunity to raise their voices. I interviewed and corresponded with eighteen volunteers and of that group, I focused more closely on six women who work in settings that represent a majority of the schools in Iowa. Through their stories and personal narratives, a picture of this woman, the public school secretary, has emerged.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Pamela Sue Nystrom



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

168 pages