Superintendent visibility : effects on student achievement, staff accountability, and organizational culture

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Rueter, John David

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School superintendents of today must balance leadership skills, political skills, instructional skills, and people skills. They are at the forefront of the school district and are the most public personification of the district. They are encumbered with and often held accountable for student achievement, ensuring that all faculty and staff are accountable in their respective areas, and fostering and many times creating a culture that must meet the needs of all of their constituents. Research suggests that being a visible presence in the school district is one way for school superintendents to gauge the effectiveness of the district. Given the complexity of the job, school superintendents must utilize every available moment to ensure that the work of the school district is done in an efficient and effective manner. The successful school superintendent will find ways to be a visible presence in the school district and in the community, thus enabling him to have first-hand knowledge about the actions of the varying constituents in the school district as well as providing opportunities for him to have a positive impact on those actions. This treatise utilizes case study design to analyze the actions of a superintendent in one suburban school district. From the analysis of interviews, documents, and interactions, certain themes emerged. This study suggests that superintendents maintaining a visible presence in the district and in the surrounding community have a positive effect on the studied areas of student achievement, staff accountability, and organizational culture. Additionally, the study analyzed and documented specific behaviors which enable the superintendent to actualize a visible presence in the school district.