Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Dr. Patricia White
Dr. Arthur J. "Skip" Roland
Dr. George Sziraki
Purpose: The purpose of this explanatory sequential mixed methods study was to understand the political styles of suburban unified school district superintendents and school board members as perceived by superintendents. In addition, it was the purpose of this study to identify and explain the political strategies suburban school district superintendents use to work with the different political styles of board members.
Methodology: This explanatory sequential mixed methods study served to identify political styles of suburban unified school district superintendents and board members. The collection and triangulation of data included digital survey responses, face-to-face interviews, artifacts and observations. The quantitative and qualitative data was then analyzed.
Findings: Survey and interview data from five exemplary suburban unified school district superintendents resulted in some major findings: (a) Superintendents strengthen communication with school board members by utilizing multiple methods; (b) Superintendents work to bridge individual relationships with and between each school board member; (c) Superintendents focus on listening skills in order to fully comprehend school board member priorities and concerns; (d) Superintendents prioritize building trust with school board members by utilizing a variety of approaches; (e) Superintendents meet the needs of school board members by valuing their opinions, concerns, and priorities and political responsibilities as elected officials; and (f) Superintendents differentiate their strategies to match the styles of their board members.
Conclusions: It can be concluded, based on the findings of this study, that politically intelligent suburban unified superintendents must differentiate their strategies to match the styles of their school board members. To accomplish this, they must focus on using excellent, attentive, listening skills in order to fully comprehend school board member needs, priorities, and concerns.
Recommendations: It is recommended that meta-analysis research be conducted to compare the findings of studies completed by all 10 thematic dissertation team members. It is also recommended that a replication of this study be conducted with superintendents in the central region of California and other states to examine differences in how superintendents work with board member political styles.
Thompkins, Reginald, "Political Styles and Strategies of Suburban Unified School District Superintendents and Board Members: A Mixed Methods Study" (2020). Dissertations. 321.