NSBA Report: Urban Superintendents' Short Tenure Is Exaggerated. (Notebook: Usable Education Information from Schools, Business, Research and Professional Organizations)
Bryant, Ann, District Administration
Superintendents in urban school districts stay on the job longer than is widely believed, according to a study by the National School Boards Association. Those who recently left their posts were superintendents for an average of five years. This is twice as long as the 2.5-year average tenure routinely reported in the education media, notes Ann Bryant, NSBA's executive director. The average tenure for superintendents in the 50 largest school districts drops to 4.6 years.
The association's study on superintendent tenure is based on a survey of the members of the Council of Urban Boards of Education. In all, NSBA surveyed 104 urban school districts; 77 answered the survey.
As for the 2.5-year-average statistic that is widely reported by other industry organizations, Bryant says, "We didn't believe it." Until the NSBA survey was complete, she had only anecdotal evidence to suggest that urban superintendents stayed on the job longer than believed. The assumed 2.5-year average reflects the time that a current superintendent has been on the job. NSBA employed a different methodology when researching superintendent tenure. Its survey sought answers from the superintendent who had recently held, but left, the top post.
"It is more accurate to go one person back. …