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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation-ISU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration

First Advisor

James Palmer


The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how superintendents, with longevity of tenure, perceive their leadership role as being facilitators of change in their districts. The study focused on 10 effective superintendents of K-12 school districts. It examined leadership traits, leadership styles, the evolving roles of superintendents and identified characteristics which facilitated success among the 10 effective superinten¬dents. The research questions provided a focal point for evaluating the superintendents' perceptions of change strategies, the background and years of experience of the superintendents, and the type of district in which the superintendents serve.

The researcher gathered evidence by conducting separate superintendent interviews and reviewing selected artifacts pertinent to the change initiatives, student data, demographics, and strategic plans. The data were reviewed in search of common themes while looking for evidence to the contrary. The central themes related to effective superintendent leadership are described in the conclusion section. These findings are reliable with all 10 superintendents.

The findings and results gleaned from this study provide recommendations for the types of policymaking, practice, and recommendations for future research in improving increased student learning in schools. The recommendations made in this dissertation will be useful to many stakeholders. This aspect is dependent upon the nature of their responsibility, whether they serve as school board members, administrators, academics, legislators, or superintendents of professional development. The possible recommendations for further research include conclusions, examining superintendents who took a nontraditional path to the superintendence, and study of superintendents who are groomed within the system.

This research study was carried out against such a backdrop by initially establishing the significance of district leadership in enacting educational change and then finding out the incumbent superintendents' inherent perceptions in relation to how they effect change in the educational circles. To achieve this study objective, various themes were explored to garner in-depth knowledge in relation to this topic:

 What are the drivers that propel educators to the superintendency?

 What and how are the strategies applied by superintendents to effect changes in teaching and learning?

 What skills do superintendents perceive are required for effecting these changes?


Imported from ProQuest Koos_ilstu_0092E_10361.pdf


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