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Superintendent Tenure in US, Texas by District Demographics

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A new study found tenure of superintendents who have left their position in the nation’s largest schools is about six years, on average. Superintendent hire and departure dates were collected to determine completed tenure.

Los Angeles-based Broad Center looked at tenure in the 100 largest public school districts in the U.S. over a 15-year period beginning in 2003.

Other notable highlights from the study:

  • Tenure is nearly seven years shorter for superintendents in districts with the highest percentages of students of color (non-white), compared to those with the highest proportion of white students.
  • Tenure is nearly 3.5 years shorter for superintendents in districts with the highest poverty levels, compared to their counterparts in the lowest poverty level districts.
  • Tenure for women is 1.2 years shorter than male counterparts.

The study also noted superintendents currently in the job have been there slightly less than four years on average. For more information on the study, view the full Broad Center report.

In Texas, the average superintendent has been in their current role for about four years, a bit longer than the national average, according to the 2017–2018 TASB Superintendent Salary Survey.

Other notable highlights from the TASB survey:

  • Using Texas Education Agency (TEA) economically disadvantaged student data, current tenure is nearly the same—about 4 years—for superintendents in Texas districts with the highest poverty levels (76 to 100 percent of students economically disadvantaged), compared to their counterparts in the lowest poverty districts (0 to 25 percent of students economically disadvantaged).
  • Using ethnicity data from the TEA 2015–2016 district snapshots, current tenure is 3.9 years on average for superintendents in Texas districts where 76 to 100 percent of the student enrollment are students of color, compared to 4.7 years in districts where 25 percent or fewer of the students are students of color.
  • By TEA-defined district community type, superintendents in non-metropolitan fast growing and non-metropolitan stable districts have the longest current tenure—about five years on average. Superintendents in the 10 major urban districts have been in their current roles a little over half a year longer than those in suburban districts, on average.
  • Comparing student enrollment size, superintendents in the largest districts (25,000 or more students) have been in their current role 4.7 years compared to superintendents in the smallest districts (fewer than 500 students) at 3.9 years.

Visit HRDataSource to view the Superintendent Salary Survey results for 2017–2018.

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Troy Bryant
Senior Research Analyst

As a senior research analyst, Troy Bryant provides information and actionable insights through the collection, analysis, interpretation, and communication of data. Besides performing ad hoc research projects, he plans and coordinates the annual TASB Organization Scorecard and Member Survey — sent to more than 7,000 board members, superintendents, and key school personnel across Texas.  

Prior to his role in planning and research, Bryant worked for seven years as data services manager in TASB’s HR Services division. He directed and managed daily operations of an online salary comparison reporting tool for school members and TASB HR consultants. Besides managing the customer-facing website, content and subscription service, Bryant planned and coordinated four annual statewide salary surveys. Bryant joined TASB in 2011. 

Bryant holds a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin. He grew up in Austin and is a graduate of historic Austin High School — one of the first public high schools in Texas. 

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TASB HR Services supports HR leadership in Texas schools through membership offerings in specialized training, consulting, and other services.
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