retention is an important goal for many school districts, yet the factors
contributing to superintendent turnover are often misunderstood. Most prior
quantitative studies of superintendent turnover have relied on small,
cross-sectional samples, limiting the evidence base. Utilizing longitudinal
administrative records from Missouri, the authors employ panel methods to
investigate factors that predict turnover, including superintendent salary and
district performance. Researchers model turnover probability as a
function of superintendent and district characteristics. The model accommodated
for superintendents that either left or retired from the school system. Then
using a series of binary and multinomial regression models with district, labor
market, and/or superintendent fixed effects are estimated. According to
research findings, districts with lower test scores also have higher rates of
turnover. Superintendent salary is an especially strong turnover predictor,
higher paid superintendents are substantially more likely to stay, and this
correlation was very evident in association with high-performing districts.
boards nationwide, particularly in urban areas, know they are in for one of
their toughest challenges when trying to recruit and then retain a high-quality
superintendent. This failure to recruit and retain high quality applicants will
also impact rural school districts. The trend has been to appoint interim or
acting superintendents to these vacated positions from industry, the military
or public service rather than rely on someone from the traditional education
pipeline. Surveys were sent to school board members and 210 superintendents.
The surveys were developed in conjunction with the National School Boards
Association and American Association of School Superintendents. School boards
should consider national turnover rates, when hiring external candidates. The
ability to sustain systemic change within a school district becomes
increasingly difficult without the interviewing, hiring, and promoting internal
candidates. School districts would be effective and efficient to develop a
superintendent succession plan model.
Along with a financial support and professional development for certified
district employee to seek advanced degrees with the expressed intent to prepare
qualified candidates for future administrative vacancies.