Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Patti L. Chance

Number of Pages



The purpose of this study was to increase the knowledge about the qualities, attitudes, and behaviors of public school superintendents in relation to the effective schools research. It also sought to further investigate the relationship between the role of the superintendent and the creation of effective schools and effective school districts. Finally, this research described how a recognized population of public school superintendents perceived themselves to incorporate effective school methods in their leadership strategies. This ultimately provided the opportunity to validate the findings of the effective schools research through the investigation of the superintendents office; This study employed what Creswell (1994) called a two phase/dominant less dominant design (p. 177). The two phase approach used the triangulation of results from mailed questionnaires and telephone interviews as a means of studying the perceptions of superintendent behavior related to the effective schools research. The data obtained from both methodologies were then used to identify the conclusions of the study; Recognized AASA superintendents of the year for 1999 were mailed a 70 item questionnaire of which 42 out of 49 superintendents responded. Five telephone interviews were also conducted which were used to enrich the data obtained from the mailed questionnaire. These data collection techniques focused on superintendent perceptions of their own leadership behavior in relation to the effective schools research; The analysis of the obtained data revealed that the responding sample of recognized superintendents perceived themselves to make efforts in the effective school areas of: (a) frequent monitoring of student progress; (b) instructional leadership; (c) safe and orderly environment; (d) clear and focused mission; and (e) climate of high expectations. Superintendents were not found to be a driving force in the areas of (a) providing opportunities to learn and time on task and (b) encouraging positive home and school relations; Questionnaire results in the areas of instructional leadership, positive home and school relations, climate of high expectations, and a clear and focused mission indicated that superintendents tended to answer general questionnaire items more strongly then action specific items. Arguably this finding could indicate that recognized superintendents perceive themselves to behave in one way while their actions may not support those perceptions as strongly; Notable differences were found between the superintendent perceptions from larger and smaller school districts in the effective schools areas of: (a) instructional leadership; (b) providing a clear and focused mission; and, (c) maintaining a climate of high expectations. Responses to the mailed questionnaire found superintendents of larger districts tended to be more focused on bureaucratic behaviors and less on instructional leadership strategies, while superintendents from smaller districts relied less on bureaucratic efforts and more on instructional leadership types of behaviors; This research study also generated many questions. Are superintendent perceptions consistent with their behavior? Can superintendents be expected to provide leadership in the areas of creating positive home and school relations as well as increasing opportunities to learn and time on task? Are superintendents from larger districts more bureaucrat and politician than instructional leader? Are superintendents from smaller districts more hands on while possibly providing less vision? These questions provide rich areas from which further research is recommended.


Characteristics; Effective; Effective Schools; Leadership; Nationally; Perceptions; Recognized; Relation; Research; Schools; Superintendents

Controlled Subject

School management and organization

File Format


File Size

7004.16 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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