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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Beatrice Lingenfelter

First Committee Member

Rachelle Hackett

Second Committee Member

Donald Larsen

Third Committee Member

Antonio Borba


The unique relationship between the full-time professional school superintendent and the volunteer, part-time and untrained school board, creates challenges in the governance partnership for school districts across the nation. The superintendent-school board relationship is at the core of the governance team and essential to the success of the superintendency, and ultimately the building blocks for a school system which supports high academic achievement for all students. The purpose of this study was to explore a range of governance activities designed to promote and strengthen the school board-superintendent partnership. This study examined the preferences of both superintendents and school board presidents regarding specific governance activities. Respondents from small to mid-sized (1,500-14,999 student enrollment) public school districts in California completed questionnaires for this study. The data analysis was based on 191 superintendent surveys and 107 school board president surveys. The results of the study revealed that significant differences existed for superintendents and school board presidents regarding their preferences for specific collaborative governance activities. The study also revealed that some similarities existed for both groups regarding such activities. Additionally, several characteristics for superintendents and school board presidents, including whether or not the superintendent implemented an entry plan and district size, revealed that there were differences in preferences regarding collaborative governance activities. Finally, this study suggests that both superintendents and school board presidents were less likely to prefer or less likely to already be engaged in facilitating collaborative governance activities focused on non-instructionally related and organizational topics as compared to their preferences for academically centered activities. The outcomes from the survey results suggest that superintendents should strongly consider taking control of setting the professional development agenda for the governance team. Since survey results revealed that both superintendents and school board presidents were not likely to initiate such activities, the superintendent and the board president should explore using the services of expert facilitators. These experts may assist the governance team to set the foundation for team training, guide a workshop series regarding roles and responsibilities between the members of the governance team, and establish a board self-evaluation protocol.





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