Published in Education Policy Analysis Archives, Volume 7, Issue 18, May 30, 1999. 23 Pages. http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v7n18.html.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author George Petersen was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
This exploratory study focuses on the perceived and actual leadership characteristics and actions of five district superintendents in California who focused on the core technology of education - curriculum and instruction. In-depth interviews were conducted with these superintendents, their principals and members of their boards of education. The selection of superintendents for this study were guided by three criteria: peer recognition as instructional leaders, district demographics and aggregated increases in CAP (California Assessment Program) scores in grades 3, 3&6, and 3 6&8 for the academic years of 1986-87 to 1989-90. Interview responses indicated that superintendents in this study perceived four attributes to be essential in their ability to be successful instructional leaders. These attributes are: (1) Possession and articulation of an instructional vision; (2) the creation of an organizational structure that supports their instructional vision and leadership; (3) assessment and evaluation of personnel and instructional programs; and (4) organizational adaptation. By employing responses given by the superintendents in this study and looking closely at what they articulated as their role in promoting curriculum and instruction as well as the larger organizational structure a preliminary model of perceived superintendent behaviors was constructed.
To confirm perceptions, actions, and behaviors articulated by the district superintendents, triangulation interviews were conducted with school principals and school board members in each of the participating districts. A 52- item questionnaire was also administered to every principal and school board member in these districts. Responses of these personnel confirmed the articulated actions and behaviors of these superintendents in their promotion of the technical core of curriculum and instruction.