Date of Award

Summer 8-25-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Admin

First Advisor

John H. Ciesluk, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Eleanor Roffman, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Lisa Boes, Ed.D.


This phenomenological study examined the reasons why certified, qualified central office administrators choose not to become school superintendents. The study investigated factors and conditions that may influence their decision-making. Twenty-two certified central office administrators employed in southeastern, Massachusetts responded to a forty-five-question survey, and four of those participants were also interviewed. This study led to eight findings. A majority of study participants: (1) held a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the superintendent; (2) possessed the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be a superintendent, but have chosen to not ascend to the position; (3) conveyed that becoming a superintendent of schools would have a negative impact on their quality of life; (4) imagined they would have a decreased level of job satisfaction if they were to become a superintendent; (5) deemed that it was not the right time in their career and/or personal life to make a career change from their current central office position to that of the superintendent; (6) reported that they do not believe the increased salary of a superintendent correlates to the increased job responsibilities; (7) indicated concern with the impact of school committee members’ personal agendas; and (8) stated that they are familiar with the application and interview process for a superintendent position. Overall, these findings recognize that there does exist a pool of qualified and certified candidates for superintendent positions. The stresses the position places on the individual and their families, coupled with unrealistic expectations from communities and school committees, makes the job of superintendent less appealing to central office administrators. Future research could include interviewing early career superintendents, and aspiring superintendents.

Keywords: assistant superintendent, central office administrators, gender, job satisfaction, school committee, superintendent

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
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