After teaching shifted from men's to women's work in the second half of the nineteenth century, women pushed into newly created realms of educational leadership. They earned appointments to principalships and, buoyed by the growing woman's suffrage movement, they began winning elected superintendencies and school board positions. However, fearing that women might overtake men in running the schools, a multifaceted backlash movement emerged to rein in women's advancements. A tightly organized national network of influential male educators sought to centralize power, standardize and mechanize practices, and otherwise push women out of leadership positions while simultaneously making teaching an increasingly servile profession. Ella Flagg Young, Chicago's superintendent of schools who had long advocated for expanding women's public service, staunchly resisted this disempowerment of teachers. Instead, through her leadership, she vividly illustrated how schools might work if freedom, individuality, and community were truly honored.