Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Robert J. Hanny

Committee Member

James H. Stronge


The purpose of this study was to investigate role perceptions of elected and appointed school board members and their superintendents in Virginia to determine if increased citizen participation and cultural change had affected the process of school governance. Four policy issue areas provided the context for revealing role perceptions: Administration and Organization, Business and Financial Management, Employee and Pupil Personnel Services, and Curriculum and Instruction. A 27-item survey was sent to superintendents and school board members of 64 school divisions, 31 of which had appointed boards and 33 of which had elected boards. Eighty-four percent of the superintendents and 61% of the board members responded.;Two-by-two analysis of variance indicated statistically significant differences by board type and position for Administration and Organization and statistically significant differences by board type for Curriculum and Instruction. Although the differences were not found to be meaningful, the survey data revealed a trend in all issue areas except Curriculum and Instruction in which elected school board members perceive their role as "equally responsible." Responses for all groups for all policy issue areas clustered between "equally responsible" and "superintendent primarily responsible.".;Confirming interviews revealed that appointed and elected board members are very active in school governance in the area of Administration and Organization. Superintendents of both board types engaged in pre-decisional social processes to control the systemic agenda. Sociopolitical models of agenda setting and negotiation and exchange explained the interactions. Superintendents have adopted a political-professional model to cope with school board members' increased needs for information and involvement.;It was concluded that finance and personnel issues had no significant differences, unlike findings in other states, because of school funding processes in Virginia which deny school boards the authority to tax. Superintendents perceive Curriculum and Instruction closer to "equally responsible" than their boards do. Further study is recommended when elected school boards become more mature.



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