Frequency and difficulty of problems reported by novice school district superintendents in Ohio

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership


Department of Educational Leadership


Advisor: Theodore J. Kowalski


This study examined the frequency and difficulty of problems of practice reported by novice superintendents in Ohio during the 2014-2015 school year. Data on novice superintendents were gathered and descriptive statistics were calculated and analyzed. The central purposes of the study were (a) to determine the demographic characteristics of the novice superintendents in Ohio, (b) to identify the frequency and difficulty of 10 work-embedded and 3 work-induced problems as reported by these superintendents, (c) to determine if levels of association existed between problem frequency and each of five predictor variables (teaching experience, years of experience as an administrator prior to becoming a superintendent, degree level, district enrollment and district wealth) and (d) determine the degree to which the predictor variables collectively accounted for variance in problem frequency. The average member of the study population was a male, who had 12 years of teaching experience, 15 years of administrative experience, and did not have an earned doctorate. He was employed in a relatively small enrollment district that had an assessed valuation per pupil below the state average. The three most frequent work-embedded problems were found to be impractical federal or state directives, position-related stress and inadequate funding. The three least frequent problems were limited opportunity for professional growth, a lack of job security, and poor relations with employees or employee organizations. The most frequent work-induced problem was limited ability to spend time with family or friends. The strength of association between the criterion variable and each of the five predictor variables were all small with two being positive and three being negative. Collectively, five predictor variables altogether accounted for only 11% of the variability in problem frequency.Recommendations for additional research include (a) developing a demographic profile of Ohio novice superintendents annually, (b) examining levels of association between problem frequency and other predictor variables such as gender, district location (urban, suburban, rural), and level of school effectiveness, (c) conducting qualitative studies to gain a deeper understanding of how novices address problems and the extent to which they do so successfully (d) conducting longitudinal studies of novice cohorts to determine if problem frequency and difficulty change as they gain experience in the position, and (e) conducting comparative studies of superintendent preparation programs across states.


School superintendents Job stress Ohio, School management and organization Ohio, School superintendents Ohio Statistics, School districts Ohio Statistics, Educational Leadership, Superintendent, Ohio, novice, problems

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