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This study was designed to provide insights through the eyes of practicing Illinois school superintendents regarding their perceptions of the essential knowledge and skills superintendents need to be successful school district leaders. This study sought to answer the following question: What essential knowledge and skills do superintendents need to be successful school district leaders? Since educational leadership professors design and deliver superintendent preparation programs, they will benefit from the perspectives of practicing school superintendents. Therefore, the study also sought to identify Illinois superintendents' perspectives on improving district-level leadership preparation programs through the following open-ended questions:

  1. What knowledge and skills should be included in superintendent preparation programs to prepare candidates for success in the superintendency?
  2. What advice would superintendents offer professors of educational administration to improve superintendent preparation programs?

Theoretical framework

Expectations for superintendents have shifted dramatically in recent years. Traditionally, the role of superintendent was defined as chief executive officer (CEO) of the school district. Duties included managing the district’s budget, overseeing and acting on personnel decisions, facilities, transportation, and maintenance as well as the chief communicator and spokesperson for the district. These responsibilities are still necessary, but no longer sufficient, for effective district leadership. Superintendents’ success is now measured not only by sound fiscal management and lack of conflict, but also by evidence of complex leadership skills to engage board members, educators, parents and the community to meet “nonnegotiable goals for instruction and achievement” (Marzano, p.21)

Present and future superintendents must focus specifically on creating and sustaining systems that support learning by students, teachers, principals, parents – indeed entire learning communities. “When central offices (led by the superintendent) participate productively in teaching and learning improvement, everyone in the central office orients their work in meaningful ways toward supporting the development of schools’ capacity for high-quality teaching and expanding students’ opportunities to learn” (Honig, et al).

The shift in emphasis from CEO to instructional leader writ large begins with strategic planning focused on student learning (Marzano, 2009). Leadership responsibility essentially means synthesizing the needs of many stakeholders and then focusing the attention, energies, and actions of the entire district to achieve its goals (Reeves, 2011). Honig et. al (2010) conclude in their study of effective urban districts “that central offices have vital roles to play in developing systems of support for district wide teaching and learning improvement” (p. 12).

There are two aspects of strategic planning. First, knowing what to do to strengthen student learning is critical. The superintendent plays a critical role in guiding principals to move in the right direction and then in providing necessary support for success (Elmore, 2003). Reeves (2011) reports that districts with higher levels of focus not only have higher levels of student achievement, but they are also more capable of implementing other essential leadership and teaching strategies. Strategic leadership also involves knowing what not to do. Effective district level leaders seek out actions with high impact and high authority and intentionally elect not to take actions with either high influence or low results. “A series of disconnected initiatives is not a system” (Fullan, 2005, p. 87) and will likely result in more of the same as opposed to system wide improvements needed.

Questions & Answers

What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Education leadership review special issue: portland conference, volume 12, number 3 (october 2011). OpenStax CNX. Oct 17, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11362/1.5
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