Date of Award

Spring 2005

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Barbara Krysiak


The purpose of this study was to replicate the dissertation of Dr. Phillip McCormack of 1988 and to compare the results of that study to the results of this study of 2004, fifteen years later. Dr. McCormack's original research questions were used but modified to include the comparison of data fifteen years apart.

A descriptive research design was used. It was based upon the design used by Dr. McCormack. The study used both a quantitative component and a qualitative component. Information was gathered, as it had been in 1988, through (1) questionnaires given to school board members and superintendents and (2) follow-up interviews with board members and superintendents. The same written survey instruments were used. The same interview questions were used with the addition of several questions that inquired about changes affecting the field of education that had come about in the last fifteen years.

A list of the significant findings include: The top three issues that affected superintendent-school board relations in 1988 were Personnel, Fiscal/budget, and Superintendent/School Board relations. In 2004, Fiscal/budget, and Personnel and Superintendent/School Board relations were tied for second place.

Personnel/teacher evaluation has become more contentious whereas tension over the structure of the SAU has diminished since 1988. Financial/budget issues remain at the top of the list with these other two and now collective bargaining has also become more of an issue.

Superintendents see themselves more often now primarily as instructional leaders. School Board members now see the superintendent more often as a decision-maker and less of a professional advisor or functionary. Superintendents see themselves as more of political strategists and less as decision-makers now than in 1988.

The school board today believes that the superintendent is generally more likely to dominate the decisions made regarding educational program, personnel/personnel policy, finance/fiscal, school closings/construction, and superintendent/school board roles, whereas the superintendents feel that they are less likely to dominate decision-making in those areas.