The study notes that “this finding, coupled with the finding related to the importance of specific academic courses, reveals the extent to which superintendents face legal and fiscal problems, even in a political climate where reform and accountability occupy center stage.”

Respondents reported that the vast majority of policy recommendations made by superintendents were approved by schools boards—a trend also reported in a 2000 survey. Nearly 75 percent of superintendents reported that their districts had not been formally evaluated. Overall, 97 percent of responding superintendents said they maintained positive relationships with all (64 percent) or most (33 percent) school board members. The majority of superintendents (91.3 percent) said they are very satisfied or moderately satisfied with their school boards.

“Today in this country, education is a hot topic. This report provides a clear view of how a key group of educators can make education work. We can use this [study] and its conclusions to improve the quality of our leaders,” Domenech said.

“Given superintendents’ importance to society and the demanding nature of their position, the decennial studies provide insightful information for both public policy and professional development,” said Theodore Kowalski, educational administration professor and Kuntz Family Chair in Educational Administration, who served as lead author with four others for the study. “Not surprisingly, these studies are considered to be the most cited references in school administration literature.”

In addition to Kowalski, authors include Robert S. McCord, associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and co-director of the Center for Education Policy Studies; George J. Petersen, professor and dean of the School of Education at California Lutheran University; I. Phillip Young, professor of education at the University of California-Davis and co-director of a joint doctoral program involving U.C. campuses and the California State University-Fresno; and Noelle M. Ellerson, assistant director of policy analysis and advocacy at AASA.

Pearson sponsored the study, which is published by Rowman & Littlefield Education.