School boards and superintendents: co-pilots in driving change

In “How Long Do Big-City Superintendents Actually Last?,” Education Week reporter Denisa Superville points out that according to the new Broad Center report, urban superintendents do tend to stay in their positions longer than most people think and other reports state, 6 years on average. When it comes to urban districts however, the tenure is indeed shorter, particularly for female superintendents and when the district has high poverty or high percentages of students of color.

When Superville considers the implications that superintendent turnover has for students, she reports on several of key points from NSBA Executive Director and CEO, Tom Gentzel. One that it is indeed troubling that tenures are shorter for women and in districts that have high percentages of low-income students and student of color. Two, that urban districts face many challenges and that they require superintendents with a “unique skill set.” And third, that it’s a “flawed premise” that the superintendent is the “sole driver of the change” and the school board is the supporting body, rather it’s “exactly the reverse.”

Education Week reporter Denisa Superville's article is available at


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