The American School District Panel (ASDP) released survey results that indicate superintendents are satisfied with their jobs and aren’t expected to leave their current roles at any greater rate than in the past.
The ASDP is a partnership among the RAND corporation, the Center for Reinventing Public Education, Chiefs for Change, the Council of the Great City Schools, and Kitamba.
According to the survey, 95 percent of superintendents reported they agree (11 percent) or strongly agree (84 percent) the role of the superintendent has gotten harder over the last decade. Ninety-eight percent agree (six percent) or strongly agree (92 percent) that a superintendent is expected to do more than they have in the past.
While challenges navigating the pandemic, staffing shortages, political polarization, and learning loss have continued, 87 percent of the participants reported feeling valued in their role.
Only 13 percent of superintendents surveyed reported they considered leaving at the end of the 2021–2022 school year. Comparing this figure to pre-pandemic surveys, it is on par with past survey results. There was not a significant difference in the decision to leave based on school district type, including size—small, medium, or large; location—urban, suburban, or rural; or economic status—low poverty or high poverty.
For superintendents considering leaving at the end of the 2021–2022 school year, work-related stress was the number one factor, while excessive work hours came in second.
A couple of recommendations were made based on survey results. For superintendents to remain in their role, it will be important for school boards and preparation programs to recognize the distribution of work among the top leaders in the school district. The superintendent won’t be able to continue to bear all the weight for their current responsibilities, especially if they continue to increase. Secondly, superintendent organizations and preparation programs must ensure the job continues to be attractive, analyze reasons for superintendents leaving the profession, and gauge current pipelines to ensure a healthy applicant pool as positions come available.
More details can be found in State of the Superintendent—High Job Satisfaction and a Projected Normal Turnover Rate.
Karen Dooley joined HR Services in 2016. She provides oversight to a team of consultants providing staffing services, HR reviews, and other projects. She provides training and assists school districts with their HR-related needs. Dooley is a seasoned administrator with more than 17 years of HR experience in Central Texas districts as a coordinator, director, and assistant superintendent. She also worked as an assistant principal, counselor, and teacher, and holds a superintendent certificate.
Dooley received her master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University and her bachelor’s degree from Texas State University.
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