Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Robert J. Hanny


The primary purpose of this study was to examine the instructional leadership behaviors of the superintendent during an era of educational reform in Virginia. Specifically, the study sought to determine what behaviors of the superintendent contributed to improvement in student achievement on the Standards of Learning assessment. Superintendent instructional behaviors were explored in relation to the five points of the conceptual framework drawn from the literature and professional standards of the superintendency: (1) The leadership style for the superintendent must be collaborative and exercised between teachers, administrators and other constituents; (2) Superintendents must be able to articulate a clear vision for educational improvement that is drawn from collaborative relationships with constituents; (3) Superintendents must have an understanding of curriculum and instruction that allows them to diagnose local educational need as well as discern possibilities for educational improvement; (4) Superintendents must be able to implement and monitor change processes as a means of ensuring improved student achievement; and (5) All leadership is shaped by the contexts in which it occurs---historical, community and organizational. The data collected was accomplished using semi-structured interviews of eight selected superintendents and principals of school divisions of no more than 5000 students. Principals also completed the Superintendent as Instructional Leader Survey (SILS). Results were presented in narrative form and analyzed for common themes and language congruent with the conceptual framework. The themes and language were compared with the areas of the conceptual framework looking for similarities and differences. The instructional behaviors of participating superintendents in this study could be used in practice by superintendents seeking to respond to student achievement reform initiatives as well as in training programs for superintendents.



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