Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership


Dianne Hoff

Second Committee Member

Richard Ackerman

Third Committee Member

Michael Cormier

Additional Committee Members

Janet Fairman

Owen Maurais


This study explored the reasons that principals who hold superintendent certification do not seek superintendencies. Specifically, it examined how Maine principals formed their perceptions of the superintendent's role, what perceptions they have formed, what motivated them to attain superintendent certification, and what factors deterred them from applying.

A sequential mixed-methods design was used for this study. Survey data were collected and descriptive statistics were used to report results for aggregate data in the form of frequencies of response for survey items, as well as disaggregated data by demographic variables, including gender, age, and level of school supervised. Qualitative methods were employed as the primary data collection method. Six participants were interviewed twice and transcripts were analyzed to surface patterns and themes.

The findings of this study showed that participants were motivated to attain the superintendent certificate primarily because they saw it as the next logical step in preparing for future career options, rather than out of passion to seek the role. They formed their perceptions of the superintendency by direct observation of their own superintendent and through a superintendent internship experience. They perceived the superintendency to consist of increased political pressure, being too far removed from students and staff, and having greater evening commitments than the principalship. Other factors that were named as deterrents from applying included toll on family, stress, and satisfaction with current job. Even though participants had some negative perceptions of the superintendency, they all were confident they could do the job.

The conclusions of this study showed that participants are not seeking the superintendency because of three factors: 1.) limited perspective on the superintendent's role, which is not providing them with a true representation of the job; 2.) negative perceptions about whether the job was a good fit for them, personally or professionally; 3.) the timing had not been right to make the career change. Any or all of these factors may cause an individual not to seek the superintendency.

The results of this study has implications for aspiring superintendents, university leadership preparation programs, school districts, and policy makers at the local, state, and national level.

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