The Superintendency is one of the most important jobs in America. The future of countless families depends on how successful superintendents are in their positions. Research shows that student academic achievement increases when superintendents remain in one district for as few as three years; however, there are many threats to long-term superintendent tenure. Superintendents are hired by Boards of Education and are expected to respond to the diverse desires of these elected individuals. The Boards decide whether superintendents will remain in the district long enough to bring about positive change or if they will be released from employment. While working with the Board, the superintendent must also ensure student academic achievement, district fiscal solvency, and positive community relations. The skills necessary to accomplish these tasks and gain a long tenure in one district are represented by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) Professional Standards for the Superintendency. These eight standards describe the scope of the superintendents' work and they may be a useful guide for hiring entities, superintendent prospects, and professional developers. This study collected the informed opinions of the members of the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Executive Superintendent's Council about the AASA standards and their relationship to work of superintendents. The Council members were first asked to rank the AASA standards by order of importance to superintendence success. They were then asked their opinions about risks superintendents face when they do not have mastery over the AASA standards as well as methods of mitigating risk. Lastly, the Council members were asked to share their experiences with professional development strategies that they feel are effective at helping superintendents gain mastery over the AASA standards. The Council members ranked the AASA standards related to ethics, vision, and culture as the most important to superintendent success. They stated that dismissal from the Superintendency is one of the risks of not having proficiency in the standards. They described the professional development strategies they had experienced, and their conversations highlighted the fact that most of the training provided for superintendents is focused on the least important standards for superintendent success.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Association of California School Administrators; School superintendents -- Training of; School board-superintendent relationships; Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Stephens, Ron;