Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Cathy Kaufman, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

George Bieger, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Joseph Marcoline, D.Ed.


The state of Pennsylvania comprises 500 school districts. Each district is required to have a superintendent of schools. Now, more than ever, the work portfolio of U.S. school superintendents is increasingly diverse. In an occupation enjoying very little security, having fewer benefits than similar jobs in the private sector, and facing increased criticism in addition to greater complexities (J. Byrd, C. Drews, & J. Johnson, "Factors Impacting Superintendent Turnover: Lessons From the Field," 2006), it is no wonder that qualified superintendent candidates are becoming fewer in number. Many times, these positions go unfilled or are filled with acting superintendents due to the lack of qualified candidates willing to apply for open positions. Those superintendent positions that are filled face a dreary national statistic of remaining on the job for less than 5 years (P. Senge, A Fifth Discipline Resource: Schools That Learn, 2000). However, there are those rare superintendents that manage to keep their position for 15 years or more. This research identifies the common variables, such as leadership attributes, actions during critical career moments, personal and professional growth patterns, and superintendent/board relations patterns that may contribute to their longevity.