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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Case study on the role of the superintendent of schools in instructional leadership and student academic achievement
by Karbula, John, Ph.D., Colorado State University, 2009, 197; 3385192
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this case study was to observe a superintendent at work in order to develop insight and understanding of the superintendent's role as instructional leader and the decision making process regarding student academic achievement. This case study examined and explored the context of instructional leadership and student academic achievement through the superintendent's personal and professional interactions with intact cultural groups such as the leadership team, the school board, district staff, parents, and community members in their natural settings. Through first-hand observation and personal interviews I observed the lived realities of the superintendent and the leadership responses to the realities he encountered, thus accumulating a written record of these observations of his experiences. These accumulated observations described, explored and examined the decisions made by the superintendent that pertain to instructional leadership and student academic achievement.

The role of the superintendent of schools has evolved over time since it was first conceived in the mid 19th Century. While the specifics of the role have changed, a constant is that the role of superintendent of schools has grown increasingly complex. This complexity has been exacerbated by the intense and highly public focus on student academic achievement that accompanied the passage of the federal legislation, No Child Left Behind.

This case study looks at the actual life of a superintendent as he operates in the context of a school district. The school district has 2,800 students and is located in the intermountain west of the United States. The participants in this study were the superintendent and selected members of the superintendent leadership team, and district administrators, as well as the president of the board of education.

As an emergent study, it examined those issues that arose from the superintendent's role in instructional leadership and the decisions made surrounding student academic achievement in the midst of the complexity of a position with numerous, often equally demanding roles.

The key findings that emerged from this study are that the core beliefs of the superintendent of schools regarding honesty, integrity, openness and transparency, and a personal ethic of caring deeply for students and staff members is at the heart of all behaviors and decisions made as superintendent of schools, particularly those regarding instructional leadership and student academic achievement.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lehmann, Jean
School: Colorado State University
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 70/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, School administration, Curriculum development
Keywords: Academic achievement, Case study, Decision-making, Instructional leadership, Student academic achievement, Superintendents
Publication Number: 3385192
ISBN: 978-1-109-49889-9
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