Acceptance Levels of Traditional and Nontraditional Superintendents by Experienced Educators



This triangulated mixed methods study examines the differences in experienced educator acceptance of nontraditional and traditional superintendents in two southern California public high school districts. A researcher-developed 5-point Likert-type survey instrument combined with open-ended questions was used, which allowed simultaneous collection of both quantitative and qualitative data. Results indicate that participants did not trust, respect, support, or accept nontraditional superintendents in comparison to traditional superintendents. The major theme that emerged from the qualitative analysis was that nontraditional superintendents are not qualified to be superintendents because of a perceived lack of teaching or other educational experience. Traditional superintendents have educational experience that allows them to relate better to teachers and students as well as to deal with complex educational issues. Quantitative data were analyzed relative to the hypotheses that traditional superintendents are easier to (a) trust, (b) respect, (c) support, and (d) accept than are nontraditional superintendents. The results led to the acceptance of all four hypotheses. The major inference of the current study is that experienced educators may not accept the leadership of nontraditional superintendents, which may affect the ability of such superintendents to lead effectively. This result is especially relevant if a nontraditional superintendent has a mandate for change when hired.