Date of Award

Spring 2-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Second Advisor

Dr. Terry Reid

Third Advisor

Dr. Dennis Cooper


Through this qualitative study, the perceptions of first-year superintendents in Missouri were obtained regarding their graduate preparation program and the types of supports they sought in their new position. The superintendency is a complex role, requiring the school district leader to work within the often-conflicting framework of organizational manager versus instructional leader. The superintendents, both male and female from districts of varying sizes, were interviewed within this framework in order to make comparisons with the existing related literature. Certain themes emerged from the data, notably, a relationship between district size and the perception of the primary responsibilities of the superintendent. The smaller the district, the first-year superintendent viewed him/herself more as an instructional leader. As student population increased, these instructional responsibilities were delegated to central office staff and building principals, resulting in a focus on organizational management. Themes in regard to superintendent preparation programs included a need for emphases in school finance and school law, a preference for practicing or recently-retired superintendents as instructors, less theory-based curriculum, and more real-world problem solving. Although a major recommendation, internships were viewed with mixed results, usually depending on how project-based they were. Both mentoring and networking were viewed by all superintendents as extremely valuable. Opinions on the future supply of superintendent candidates were mixed. The superintendents were generally satisfied with their new responsibilities and intended to remain in their role.


Copyright 2012