An analysis of perceptions toward governance and working relationships among Iowa School Board members, single-district superintendents, and shared-district superintendents

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Oberg, Steven
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William K. Poston, Jr.
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Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Conflict between superintendents and school boards existed in the early 1800s and continues to exist today. This adversarial conflict in the working relationship results when one of the parties exceeds the other's subjective boundary as it pertains to involvement in the governance process and working relationship. The study examined six hypotheses regarding the perceived degree of involvement of Iowa single superintendents, shared superintendents, and those superintendents' school board members.;The study was designed to determine whether or not school board members perceived their superintendent differently if the superintendent was a shared superintendent rather than a single superintendent. The study also revealed if the shared superintendent perceived their role differently than that of a single superintendent.;School board members and superintendents were selected from the K--12 public school districts in the State of Iowa. District superintendents and their school board members participated in the quantitative study. The sample totaled 68 superintendents and 362 board members. There was a 69% return rate for superintendents and 42% for school board members.;Of the six hypotheses, only one was upheld. This study backs up the related literature in revealing that the working relationship that a school board and its superintendent create and foster is equally as important as the day-to-day governance tasks that are outlined in college textbooks.;This study affects how districts can and should make the decision about sharing superintendents. It is essential that school boards weigh all of the factors---both financial and political---in how sharing a superintendent can affect the district.;Regardless of whether a superintendent is shared with two or more districts or serves in a single district, it is important that those who prepare future superintendents look at the programs to determine if enough time is spent on helping administrators to develop the relationship building skills as outlined in this study. The key stakeholders in education need to redefine the training that all superintendents and their board members need in order to be the visionaries that school systems have come to expect.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2002