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ERIC Number: ED545959
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 213
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-6615-7
North Carolina Superintendent Turnover
Wheeler, John J.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
In 1922, Ellwood Cubberley characterized the superintendency by stating, "No profession offers such large personal rewards for the opportunity of living one's life in molding other lives, and in helping to improve materially the intellectual tone and moral character of a community" (Public school administration: A statement of the fundamental principles underlying the organization and administration of public education, p. 131). More than eighty years later, even in times of conflict, uncertainty, and turmoil, many highly qualified principals and central office administrators are attracted to the superintendency. Firmly entrenched in the 21st century, superintendent turnover is at a point where there is an urgency for educational leaders and researchers to understand how to cope with the inevitable stress that the position of the superintendent comes with. There is, however, a necessity that exists to determine the factors that can help those who are currently serving as superintendents to have a more successful experience as it relates to managing the overwhelming responsibilities of the job in order to reduce superintendent turnover. It was the hope of the principal investigator that the data collected from this study will be useful for those preparing for the superintendency as well as those who currently serve in this position. The purpose of this study was to identify and assess the stressors related to job performance as perceived by superintendents in North Carolina that identify the reasons that lead to superintendent turnover, as well as to describe and analyze current trends in superintendent turnover in the state of North Carolina. This study examined superintendent qualifications and attempt to determine what impact school district enrollment, school district location, education, experience, school district wealth, and superintendent gender has in the role of superintendent turnover. This study utilized both survey research methodology and elite interviewing to describe superintendent turnover in North Carolina. This study utilized data collected from surveys sent to the 115 sitting superintendents in the spring of 2011, as well as data collected from elite interviews from eight retired superintendents in the summer and fall of 2011. Results of this study targeting superintendent turnover revealed the importance of a good relationship between the superintendent and school board. As cited in the review of literature, superintendent relationships with school boards were found to be a vital factor in superintendent tenure and turnover. Additionally, conflict with the board is often a reason superintendents leave a particular district (Rausch, 2001) and a top reason for involuntary non-extension of superintendent contracts (Allen, 1998). Akin to those reports, this study revealed that the relationship between the superintendent and the school board is statistically significantly in impacting superintendent turnover. Throughout the data, fiscal challenges and responsibility was noted throughout as reasons that lead to superintendent turnover. Certain fiscal decisions in the area of public school funding were widely accepted by superintendents to be especially challenging. Financing public education is clearly a hurdle for today's superintendents. However, it was especially alarming for superintendents with experience in school districts with less than adequate standards for revenue and spending, such as the low-income districts in some states that have not provided sufficient district balancing. The findings of this study raised concern that many of our superintendents are entering the field without the proper preparation for understanding the implications of stress facing today's public school superintendents. Support for the public school superintendent is absolutely essential in light of the accountability standards enacted by our local, state and federal politicians. Effective stress management programs should be in place to assist executive leaders as they begin to create and sustain learning communities that have a clear focus on student achievement, as current district leaders and policy-makers must not continue to ignore this issue. Our superintendents must be supported and encouraged as they grow into the administrative leaders of the future. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina