Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EDD)
College of Education
Valerie A. Storey
Jason L. Walton
When a specific system is chosen, in reference to selecting a school superintendent, contention between constituents who oppose such system ensues. Such issues range from demographics and differences in management style to which superintendent is more credentialed. In Florida, each county is considered a school district and has its own school superintendent. Thus, since Florida has 67 counties there are 67 school districts and 67 superintendents. Florida allows its districts to use one of two systems to select its superintendent, an election by popular vote or an appointive system.
This study replicated methods used in one of the leading studies conducted in Tennessee, Morgan (2003), which was under the direction of Jason Walton, Ph.D. The context of the study is limited to school districts in the State of Florida. As an extension to the Tennessee Study, the researcher explored if there existed significant differences between each system. Of the 67 superintendents, 27 (8 appointed and 19 elected superintendents) participated in the study.
Findings indicated, in comparison to their elected counterparts, appointed participants possessed higher levels of education, had higher annual incomes, and are more acquainted with superintendency prior to becoming a superintendent. On the other hand, the researcher found there was no significant difference in appointed and elected participants in reference to amount of time in office or student outcomes. In reference to appointed superintendents, findings indicated that majority of appointed participants were hired with the assistance of a recruiting agency and although majority of the appointed participants were from Florida, exactly 50% of them were from within their current district. In reference to superintendents in general, 41% of the participants shared the responsibility in developing policy and participants did not involve the community in the planning/advisory capacity at an equivalent rate of involving staff.
Habersham, C. L. (2012). Appointed and Elected Superintendents in Florida's Governance [Doctoral dissertation, Lynn University]. SPIRAL. https://spiral.lynn.edu/etds/142