10-Year Study on the American School Superintendent Released

Contact: Kitty Porterfield, 703-774-6953, kporterfield@aasa.org

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 8, 2010 A new study documenting dramatic changes in public school leadership, The American School Superintendent: 2010 Decennial Study, was released today by the American Association of School Administrators. The work is one is a series of similar studies conducted every 10 years since 1923 and provides a national perspective about the roles and responsibilities of contemporary district superintendents.

“This is a landmark study,” says Daniel A. Domenech, AASA executive director. “Today in this country, education is a hot topic. This report provides a clear view of how a key group of educators can make education work. We can use this data and its conclusions to improve the quality of our leaders.”

The study is based on a survey of nearly 2,000 school superintendents employed in school districts across the United States. The work examines historical and contemporary perspectives on the superintendency, the characteristics and demographics of superintendents and their districts, superintendents’ professional experiences, their relationships with their school boards, the nature of the superintendent role itself, and the social and political climate in which superintendents work.
Among the wide range of key findings:

  • The work portfolio of America’s superintendents is increasingly diverse, encompassing not only student achievement, but the diversification of student and staff populations, the explosion of technology, expanded expectations from the government, the school board and the community, and the globalization of society.
  • The percentage of female superintendents has increased substantially since 1992. In this study, nearly one in four respondents (24.1%) was a woman. (In 2000, the percentage was 13.2.)
  • Non-minority group respondents more often entered the superintendency before the age of 46 than did their peers in the minority group. Minority group respondents were more than twice as likely as their peers in the non-minority group to report that they had encountered discrimination in their pursuit of the superintendency.
  • The level of job satisfaction expressed by superintendents remains high. A high percentage would again seek to occupy the same position if given the chance to re-live their careers.
  • Only about half (51%) of the respondents said that they planned to still be a superintendent in 2015—a finding suggesting the probability of substantial turnover in the next few years.

The work is a collaboration of five authors:

Theodore J. Kowalski is professor and Kuntz Family Chair of Educational Administration at the University of Dayton.
Robert S. McCord is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he co-directs the Center for Education Policy Studies.
George J. Petersen is professor and dean of the School of Education at California Lutheran University.
I. Phillip Young is a professor of education at the University of California-Davis and is co-director of a joint doctoral program involving U.C. campuses and the California State University-Fresno.
Noelle M. Ellerson is assistant director of policy analysis and advocacy at the American Association of School Administrators.

Sponsor for the study is Pearson. The study is published by Rowman & Littlefield Education. Copies may be purchased at www.rowmaneducation.com and or by calling R&L Customer Service, 1-800-462-6420.

About AASA
The American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders across the United States. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit www.aasa.org.

About Pearson
As the world’s leading education company and leader in learning, content, technology, assessment and education services, Pearson is committed to improving the lives of people everywhere, by providing support to build a stronger education system and offer personalized opportunities for students of all ages. Pearson is investing in new models for education and supporting key elements of the reform agenda: Common Core standards, college and career readiness, teacher effectiveness, school improvement and custom solutions of schools and colleges. Visit www.pearson.com.

About Rowman & Littlefield Education
Rowman & Littlefield Education, a division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., provides quality publications by outstanding authors on key education topics including administration, curriculum and instruction, education reform, professional development, school safety, theory, and philosophy. RLE strives to keep educators at all levels current about important issues and is dedicated to working with talented writers and education leaders to meet this goal. Visit www.rowmaneducation.com.

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