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Virginia Public Schools Superintendents’ Perception of the Leadership Practices Utilized to Lead Urban, Rural, and Suburban School Divisions

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TITLE: Virginia Public Schools Superintendents’ Perception of the Leadership Practices Utilized to Lead Urban, Rural, and Suburban School Divisions
 
RESEARCHER: Brian P. Fellows
School of Education
Virginia Commonwealth University
Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation: May 2009

OBJECTIVE
The purpose of this study was to determine if there were differences in the perceptions of the leadership practices utilized by Virginia public school superintendents in each of three different geographical settings – rural, urban, and suburban school divisions.

METHODOLOGY
The sample consisted of 107 public school superintendents (132) in the state of Virginia during the 2008-2009 school year (82% response rate). Each completed the Leadership Practices Inventory and provided demographic information. The typical superintendent was male (75%), from a rural school division (67%), and between 50-59 years of age (52%). Length of service as a superintendent was less than three years for 32 percent of the sample, and more than 13 years for another 22 percent, with almost 44 percent being in their present position less than three years, and another 24 percent for 4-6 years

KEY FINDINGS
Practicing superintendents in Virginia engaged in the five leadership practices at a significantly greater frequency than compared to the Kouzes Posner normative leader data. Geographical area did not differ significantly for Model, Inspire, Enable and Encourage but did on the leadership practice of Challenge: Urban superintendents in Virginia reported challenging the process significantly more than the superintendents serving rural school divisions.

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