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Leadership--District Superintendent

This issue site provides a variety of information on educational leadership including sample state policies, research summaries, selected readings, links to related Web sites and information on national projects.

Current research indicates the quality of school leaders has a significant impact on student achievement. As a result, educational leadership has emerged as a critical component of improving school performance. At the same time, the nation is experiencing a shortage of principal and superintendent candidates who are willing and able to take on the daily demands of the job. The problem is evidenced by the data:

  • Half of all district superintendents are 50 years old or older.
  • Few leadership candidates are female and/or minority
  • The average time to fill a superintendent's job (~15 hours/day) has doubled in the last 10 years.
  • The average tenure of big-city superintendents is less than three years.

Today's school leaders superintendents, principals, teacher leaders and school board members must be adept at managing school structure and culture in a manner that is conducive to teaching and learning. Cultural shifts and regulatory requirements have produced unparalleled challenges for states, school districts, schools and higher education institutions. To meet the demands of the contemporary education system, all aspects of school leadership must be addressed to ensure that well-prepared, results-oriented, dynamic leaders are placed in schools nationwide. Redefining effective education leadership and redesigning how we prepare, license, recruit, retain, develop and compensate school leaders are essential in solving the educational leadership issues that we face today. Without excellent leaders, we cannot have excellent schools.


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