This resource contains information about the K-12 governance structures in each state, which are broken into three levels: state, regional and school district. The state level has information about governors, legislatures, chief state school officers and state boards of education. The regional level has information about regional boards and regional superintendents. The school district level has information about local school boards, local superintendents, schools and collective bargaining agreements. Click on the questions below for 50-state comparisons showing how all states approach K-12 governance structures. Or, choose to view a specific state’s approach by going to the individual state profiles page.

Key takeaways

  • Chief state school officers are appointed in 38 states (76%); state boards appoint in 23 states (61%); Governor appoints in 15 states (39%). Chief state school officers are elected in 13 states (25%).
  • Members of the state board of education are appointed in 33 states (70%) and elected in seven states (15%). Mix of appointed and elected in seven states (15%).
  • In 24 states (48%), the governor appoints all of the voting members of the state board.
  • In 15 states (30%), the governor appoints some, but not all, of the state board of education members.
  • In nine of the 15 states, the governor appoints 75%-89% of the state board of education members.
  • In six of the 15 states, the governor appoints 5%-57% of the state board members.
  • In 11 states (22%), the governor does not appoint any of the voting members of the state board.
  • In five states (10%) there is an executive-level secretary of education in addition to the chief state school officer. 46 states (90%) do not have such a position.

50-state comparisons 

  1. Governors’ Role in Governance
  2. Legislatures
  3. Chief State School Officers
  4. State Boards of Education
  5. Is there an Executive-Level Secretary of Education in addition to the Chief State School Officer?
  6. Regional Boards
  7. Regional Superintendents
  8. Local School Boards
  9. Local Superintendents
  10. Public Schools
  11. Collective Bargaining Agreements

Related resources

Staff contact
Emily Workman

 PUBLISHED: August 1, 2013



 STATE(S): Nationwide

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