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AASA’s Latest 10-Year Status Report on Superintendency Available from Publisher

By Chris Rogers |

“The American Superintendent 2020 Decennial Study,” a joint product of AASA and PDK International, is being published this month by Rowman & Littlefield and is now available for purchase.

The 10-year study, part of a research series managed by AASA for most of the past century, is being officially released during the AASA National Conference on Education, a virtual event in 2021.

Details about ordering the work can be found at https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781475858471/The-American-Superintendent-2020-Decennial-Study.

The 2020 edition of the decennial study serves as a commitment of AASA and PDK to the vital work of collecting and analyzing the trends shaping the landscape of the American superintendency. As the oldest professional organization representing more than 13,000 school administrators across the country, AASA has a keen interest in knowing our members, from their leadership characteristics and pathways to the superintendency to the challenges and opportunities they face in their daily work.

Whether you're a member, non-member, aspiring superintendent, policymaker or researcher, the findings from the 2020 study offer the latest glimpse of the macro trends impacting America's public school leadership.

 As a sneak peek into the findings, the study provides statistical data and analysis on the career pathways of superintendents, the current work of the superintendent, professional learning of the superintendent, and information on superintendents' community relationships. The 2020 study’s findings, based on survey answers from 1,218 superintendents across the country, included the following statistics:

  • The typical superintendent is a married white male, who had prior experience as a principal, with 2-8 years of experience as a superintendent.
  • The percentage of female superintendents increased slightly from 2010 when it was 24.1 percent to 26.7 percent in 2020.
  • Superintendents reported that they were satisfied (43 percent) or “very satisfied” (49 percent) with their job.
  • Superintendents identified the four most time-consuming issues they address are school finance (45 percent), personnel management (41 percent), conflict management (37 percent), and superintendent/board member relations (35 percent) consumed most of their time.
  • Almost all superintendents (96 percent) held membership in state superintendent associations, and 71 percent said they were members of AASA.

“The American Superintendent 2020 Decennial Study” is an extension of the work from AASA’s  10-year national surveys, which began under the organization in 1923. The research for the new report was conducted in late 2019 and early 2020. The results are presented in various ways throughout the study, ranging from aggregate findings to two- and three-level crosstabs that disaggregate data by eight district enrollment categories and demographic characteristics.

 To promote this work and connect the research to practitioners, AASA and Joshua Starr, CEO of PDK International, are also releasing a podcast series focused on the emerging trends from the report. During this Edu-series, listeners can expect lively conversations with practitioners that highlight and relate the report’s findings to current topics around race and equity, women in leadership, and superintendent board relations.

Be on the lookout for forthcoming information about the podcast series on AASA's Leading Edge Blog.

 (Chris Rogers is a policy analyst with AASA, The School Superintendents Association.)