Non-Traditional Public School Superintendents: An Exploratory Case Study

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Title: Non-Traditional Public School Superintendents: An Exploratory Case Study
Author: Duckworth, Mark Thomas
Advisors: Lance D. Fusarelli, Committee Chair
Kevin P. Brady, Committee Member
Kenneth H. Brinson, Jnr., Committee Member
Bonnie C. Fusarelli, Committee Member
Abstract: This qualitative case study examined the characteristics of six non-traditional educational leaders from sixty-six of the largest school districts in the country (the Council of the Great City Schools). The study addressed the "what, how, and why" of non-traditional superintendents, focusing on how their non-traditional backgrounds influenced or impacted the performance of their duties as leaders. Areas of specific interest were commonalities in backgrounds, training, and experience. The background and experiences non-traditional superintendents draw upon when hiring school administrators and approving/implementing school reform initiatives was examined, as were the knowledge, skills, and⁄or traits non-traditional superintendents believed were essential for success. Individual interviews targeted the superintendents' specific backgrounds, preparation, experience, and skill sets that guided their decision making process. Responses were coded to establish trends and commonalities among these leaders. Findings indicate that a comparative longitudinal study encompassing both traditional and non-traditional superintendents would yield greater insight into the effectiveness of superintendents. Also, the findings indicate that there are individuals who can effectively transfer professional skill sets acquired from the private sector to the public school arena.
Date: 2008-04-07
Degree: EdD
Discipline: Educational Administration and Supervision

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