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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

Michael B. Gilbert

First Committee Member

Robert Baum

Second Committee Member

Mark Ealey

Third Committee Member

Robert R. Hopkins

Fourth Committee Member

Mari G. Irvin


Purpose. The purpose of this study was threefold. The primary purpose was to focus on crucial issues which were identified as significant by the 116 Black school superintendents. The findings were compared to a 1982 national study conducted by the American Association of School Administrators. The secondary purpose was to develop a profile of incumbent Black superintendents in the United States during the 1983-84 school year to determine if substantial differences existed between Black superintendents and those surveyed in the 1982 study. The tertiary purpose was to identify factors which Black superintendents stated they encountered en route to the superintendency and which affect job performance. Procedure. The investigator mailed to each of the 116 Black school superintendents a packet containing a cover letter, numbered questionnaire, letter of endorsement, and stamped, addressed return envelope. All respondents who failed to return the questionnaire within two weeks were sent a follow-up packet which included a cover letter, numbered questionnaire, letter of endorsement and stamped, addressed return envelope. A telephone survey was conducted with 10 percent of the superintendents who did not return the questionnaire within two weeks after receipt of the follow-up letter. Findings. Regardless of the superintendents' ethnicity, there were common crucial issues/challenges which superintendents, in general, had to face. Black superintendents, as well as non-Black superintendents, felt that the number one issue/challenge which they faced was financing schools. No substantial differences were noted between Black and non-Black superintendents with reference to personal characteristics of superintendents, but Black superintendents perceived that societal attitudes that Blacks lack competency in leadership positions was the number one factor which they encountered en route to the superintendency and which affected job performance. The number two factor was racial discrimination. Additionally, Black superintendents reported lack of role models, a predominance of non-Black employees, and exclusion from the informal social system were key factors which they encountered en route to the superintendency and which affect job performance. Implications for Further Study. Replication of this study should be made with Black building principals, central office administrators or school board members, and an ethnic group other than Black superintendents i.e., Hispanic or Asian. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)



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