ERIC Number: ED401633
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Feb
The Interim Superintendency: A Case Study of Decisions and Decision Making Activity.
Fenwick, Leslie T.
Higher turnover rates, decreased tenure, diminished job appeal, a shrinking pool of candidates, longer superintendent searches, and school districts' economic stresses and political and social cultures contribute to increases in the incidence of interim superintendent appointments and tenures. Because of these dynamics, more interim superintendents are serving longer terms and are faced with leading school districts through flux and change. This paper presents findings of a study that examined the nature and types of decisions made by the interim superintendent and how the decisions were shaped and/or determined by the district's environmental context. The research design utilized two methods. A first-ever survey of the nation's 50 State Departments of Education produced a 65 percent response rate. A case study of a midwestern district gathered data through observation, interviews, and document review. The survey data show a rise in both appointments and tenures for interim superintendents over the 10-year span from 1981/82 to 1991/92. Case-study findings show that the interim superintendent ranked high in the administrative change function and low in the administrative maintenance function. The superintendent had moved from a placeholder to a decision-maker role. A conclusion is that in districts experiencing crisis, an interim superintendent will likely act with all the requisite powers of a permanent superintendent. (LMI)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Educational Research Association (19th, Cambridge, MA, February 21-24, 1996).