Superintendent Trustworthiness: Elementary School Principals’ Experiences and Perceptions

Type: Article
Topics: Equity, Journal of Scholarship and Practice, Leadership Development

January 01, 2023

While teachers’ trust in principals is the most commonly studied trust relationship between and among
school stakeholders, left largely unexplored is trust between leaders within a school system. Findings
presented answer the question: What are indicators of superintendent trustworthiness as experienced
and perceived by elementary school principals? Four broad themes were found to capture
superintendent characteristics relating to trustworthiness: 1) the nature and strength of a
superintendent’s support; 2) the extent to and ways in which a superintendent engenders a sense of
autonomy in a principal’s school-level leadership; 3) a superintendent’s presence in the work of the
principal and the principal’s school; and 4) a superintendent’s openness. Principals’ perspectives of the
role of superintendent trustworthiness in their school leadership is explored.

trustworthiness, superintendent leadership, elementary school principals, principal-
superintendent relationship, educational leadership


Justin V. Benna, PhD Assistant Professor of Practice School of Education North Dakota State University Fargo, ND
Editorial Review Board
AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice

Kenneth Mitchell, Manhattanville College

Associate Editor
Barbara Dean, AASA, The School Superintendents Association

Editorial Review Board
Jessica Anspach, Montclair State University
Brandon Beck, Ossining Public Schools
Gina Cinotti, Netcong Public Schools, New Jersey
Michael Cohen, Denver Public Schools
Betty Cox, University of Tennessee, Martin
Vance Dalzin, Carthage College, Kenosha, WI
Mary Lynne Derrington, University of Tennessee
Ryan Fisk, East Rockaway Public Schools, NY
Denver J. Fowler, Southern Connecticut State University
Daniel Gutmore, Seton Hall University
Gregory Hauser, Roosevelt University, Chicago
Steve Hernon, St. John’s University
Zach Kelehear, Augusta University, GA
Kevin Majewski, Seton Hall University
Joanne Marien, Manhattanville College
Nelson Maylone, Eastern Michigan University
Robert S. McCord, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Emeritus
Barbara McKeon, Broome Street Academy Charter High School, New York, NY
Margaret “Terry” Orr, Fordham University
Brian Osborne, Lehigh University
David J. Parks, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Joseph Phillips, Manhattanville College
Joseph Ricca, White Plains City School District
Thomas C. Valesky, Florida Gulf Coast University, Emeritus
Charles Wheaton, Leadership Services, Granger, WA