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  • Title: Exploring Superintendent Leadership in Smaller Urban Districts: Does District Size Influence Superintendent Behavior?

    Author: Hentschke, Guilbert C.; Nayfack, Michelle B.; Wohlstetter, Priscilla

    Year: 2009

    Publication Information: Education and Urban Society, v41 n3 p317-337

    ERIC number: EJ827712

    Abstract: Much of the existing literature on urban school reform focuses on how the relatively small number of our nation's largest urban districts are approaching school reform with these objectives in mind. However, does smaller district size have any bearing, direct or indirect, on the nature of superintendent leadership? The authors' exploratory research investigates the interplay between superintendent leadership strategies and behaviors, and district reform initiatives in a sample of relatively well-performing, smaller urban districts in California. The authors conducted interviews with superintendents and members of their leadership teams in four urban districts to examine how district size might influence superintendent leadership strategies, reform initiatives, and personal behaviors. The authors found that the personal leadership behaviors and associated operating processes (strategies and tactics for execution) appeared remarkably distinct from what superintendents do (or are expected to do) in very large urban school districts. The implications of these tentative findings are discussed in the conclusion.

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