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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A study of factors influencing superintendent departure
by Domene, Doug, Ed.D., California State University, Fullerton, 2012, 123; 3537372
Abstract (Summary)

Despite a vast amount of national research on superintendent tenure, a paucity of research exists as to the degree in which specific factors influence a superintendent's decision to leave a district. The purpose of the study was to investigate the factors or combination of factors that may influence a superintendent's decision to leave a school district, specifically among California superintendents. In addition, the study explored the relative importance of specific factors, such as school board/superintendent relationships, job demands and pressures, diminishing fiscal resources, and a desire for career advancement, in a superintendent's decision to leave a school district.

Public school superintendents representing 90 Northern and Southern California public school districts were asked to respond to a four-part survey. The survey produced a 70% response rate. Participants in the study were superintendents who served in the position of superintendent in a California public school district at the time of the survey or who had retired within the previous five years.

The research revealed that superintendent perceptions regarding why they might depart a school district don't reflect why they actually left their previous school district. Specifically, a superintendent's relationship with his or her school board was the most notable factor influencing a respondent's choice to leave the current district. On the other hand, the most compelling factor influencing a superintendent's decision to actually leave his or her previous district was a desire for career advancement.

The study presented implications for school district leaders, such as school board members. Recognizing that superintendents are highly motivated individuals who have a strong desire to enhance their professional careers may provide school leaders with the opportunity to initiate actions that may extend the time a superintendent serves in a school district. Having a better understanding of the factors that influence a superintendent's decision to leave a school district may help board of education members be better equipped to address causes of superintendent departure. However, school boards must also be aware that despite their best efforts, superintendents change districts on an average of every five to seven years, and, therefore, they should be prepared to respond to this type of leadership change.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Stichter, Kenneth
School: California State University, Fullerton
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, School administration
Keywords: California, Leadership persistence, Superintendent departure, Superintendents, Survey design, Tenure
Publication Number: 3537372
ISBN: 978-1-267-96593-6
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