CRESPAR Report #55: The Public School Superintendency in the Twenty-First Century: The Quest to Define Effective Leadership

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This study examines research on public school leadership effectiveness, focusing specifically on the superintendent. The author begins with a discussion of the historical mission to define leadership effectiveness, followed by a review of existing research on effective school districts and superintendents. The author also analyzes how superintendent effectiveness is defined and measured, and concludes that this is one of the major shortcomings in the knowledge base. The report then details the obstacles that superintendents face in effectively managing a school system including instability, the politicization of the profession, and superintendent and school board relations. Finally, the author discusses implications for further research and offers suggestions for expanding the research base.
The Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk (CRESPAR) was established in 1994 and continued until 2004. It was a collaboration between Johns Hopkins University and Howard University. CRESPAR’s mission was to conduct research, development, evaluation, and dissemination of replicable strategies designed to transform schooling for students who were placed at risk due to inadequate institutional responses to such factors as poverty, ethnic minority status, and non-English-speaking home background.
CRESPAR, Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk, Effective Leadership