Eighty percent of U.S. school superintendents say that navigating political divides over issues ranging from school closures to mask mandates to teaching about racism in schools is the most difficult part of their job. Nearly half say they are considering or planning to leave their job in the next two to three years.
These are among the findings in a new report, “2022 Voice of the Superintendent Survey,” released by education company EAB at the School Superintendent Association (AASA) National Conference on Education (#NCE2022).
The results offer an important look at how education leaders are navigating an ongoing pandemic that is taxing administrators, classroom teachers, support staff, and stakeholders.
“Superintendents are tired of mediating disputes fueled in large part by America’s deepening political divide,” said EAB Director of K-12 Research Ben Court. “EAB’s new survey shows that school superintendents have reached a breaking point, and up to half may be looking for a way out.”
According to AASA data, the typical annual turnover rate for school superintendents is 14-16 percent. EAB’s survey shows that nearly half of respondents (46 percent) are considering or planning to leave their role in the next two to three years. More than a third (36 percent) of experienced superintendents (6+ years of tenure) are planning to retire within that time frame. Among more junior superintendents (those with five years of experience or less), 18 percent say they will see how this year goes before deciding on future plans, and 6 percent are already actively looking for other work.
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