Superintendents? Not so much.
In this report, the authors examine the extent to which school district effects on student learning are due to the superintendent in charge, as compared to characteristics of districts that are independent of their leaders. Analyzing student-level data from the states of Florida and North Carolina for the school years 2000-01 to 2009-10, the authors find that:
- School district superintendent is largely a short-term job. The typical superintendent has been in the job for three to four years.
- Student achievement does not improve with longevity of superintendent service within their districts.
- Hiring a new superintendent is not associated with higher student achievement.
- Superintendents account for a very small fraction (0.3 percent) of student differences in achievement. This effect, while statistically significant, is orders of magnitude smaller than that associated with any other major component of the education system, including: measured and unmeasured student characteristics; teachers; schools; and districts.
- Individual superintendents who have an exceptional impact on student achievement cannot be reliably identified.
Ultimately, the authors conclude that when district academic achievement improves or deteriorates, the superintendent is likely to be playing a part in an ensemble performance in which the superintendent’s role could be filled successfully by many others. In the end, it is the system that promotes or hinders student achievement. Superintendents are largely indistinguishable.
Charlie and I have said this for YEARS - the problem/dysfunction is in our headquarters. It's not the superintendent, not the Board - it's the inability of those at headquarters to follow legal Board policy and state/federal regulations.
I believe there really is a plan to slowly take over the district from both within and out of the district. Don't believe the hype being spewed out on a near-daily basis by the Seattle Times (probably with help from the Alliance and LEV).
Having said ALL that - I think the selection of the next superintendent will shape the tone and direction of this district.
Good news, though. I think there are some absolutely great people, local people, who would be great.