Actions and behaviors public school superintendents perceive to build trust with diverse and competing constituencies
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Educational leaders serve in a context that has grown increasingly complex. The change in student demographics, pressures of high stakes testing and accountability, and high turnover rates among educational leaders have created significant leadership challenges. To effectively execute the mission of public schools, superintendents muster resources and glean contributions from various stakeholders with whom they have developed some degree of trust. Research suggests trust levels between school leaders and the public is at an all time low. Effectiveness in the current educational landscape requires leaders capable of generating trust. Successful superintendents take actions and behave in ways that build trust with diverse and competing constituencies. This treatise uses a case study design to describe and analyze the actions and behaviors of three superintendents that they perceive as building trust with diverse and competing constituencies. The Lewis and Weigert (1985) analytical framework guides the data collection and analysis of this data demonstrates emergent themes. This study suggests the participants act and behave in ways that align with the framing theory and makes conclusions about the tension that exists as school system leaders attempt to generate the highest levels of trust while limiting their vulnerability.