Doctor of Education
Department: Teaching, Learning and Leadership
Factors Affecting Superintendent Longevity in Michigan
Dr. Joseph Kretovics, Chair
Dr. Brooks Applegate
Dr. Charles Warfield
Dr. Suzanne Hedstrom
May 21, 2002 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Tate Center, Sangren Hall
Theory and research surrounding the issue of longevity
of superintendents seemed contradictory in the literature. On the one
hand, the average length of time a superintendent serves in his/her
position has not changed noticeably over the last few decades. Yet many
researchers were reporting a crises in this field because the applicant
pool seemed to be shrinking and longevity of superintendents in large
urban districts was reported to be lower than the average longevity
rate of 5-6 years. In addition the perception of many of the superintendents
in the field was that the turnover rate of superintendents was on the
This research looked at superintendents in Michigan to determine if
there were potential risk and protective factors for longevity. A 41
question survey was sent to all the superintendents in Michigan (n=524)
with a return rate of 64.5%. This survey included variables that were
described in the literature as having a potential to influence longevity
of superintendents. Longevity was defined by two criterion variables
- stayers and leavers. The stayers were those superintendents who had
been in their current position longer than six years.
The leavers were those superintendents who had been in their current
position six years or less. The predictor variables were formed from
the questions on the survey, and were clustered into three groups -
Superintendent Factors, School District Factors and School Board Factors.
Six research questions were addressed through stepwise logistic analysis.
The results indicated nine variables that were significant at the .10
Superintendent factors that were protective for longevity
The length of time the superintendent lived within 25 miles of his/her
The length of time the superintendent spent in a previous position.
Leaving the past position for family considerations
The outcome of the last evaluation
The existence of additional retirement benefits in the salary package.
The age of the superintendent
Superintendent Factors that were risk for longevity
The micromanagement of the board as a factor that inhibits the superintendent's
School District Factors that were protective for longevity
Moving from suburban district to suburban district
School District Factors that were risk for longevity
There were no school district factors that were risk for longevity.
School Board Factors that were protective for longevity.
There were no school board factors that were protective for longevity
School Board factors that were risk for longevity
The quality of the relationship between the superintendent and the school
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