Date of Award

Summer 5-24-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Patricia White

Second Advisor

Dr. Lisbeth Johnson

Third Advisor

Dr. Kristin Baranski


Purpose: The purpose of this sequential explanatory mixed methods study was to identify the political styles of superintendents and school board members as perceived by superintendents. In addition, it was the purpose to identify and explain the political strategies superintendents use to work with the different political styles of school board members.

Methodology: This study used a mixed methods sequential explanatory research design to collect quantitative data through an electronic survey to identify and describe the political styles of each superintendent and their board members. An in-depth qualitative interview process further explored each superintendents’ lived experience with using different political strategies with each of their board members’ political style.

Findings: A careful review of the mixed methods data from the 5 school districts participating in this study revealed a variety of findings. The major strategies used by the exemplary midsized elementary school district superintendents to work with their board members included providing continual communication, meeting needs of their board members, building trust, empowering others, and knowing and communicating their political vision for the school district.

Conclusions: It was concluded that midsized elementary school district superintendents who want to ensure positive working relationships with board members of all political styles must commit to open, transparent communication as a bedrock strategy, meet the needs of their board members by developing both professional and personal relationships with individual board members, build trust through authentic actions that create a united front for working toward district goals, create opportunities for board members to be empowered to work within their area of expertise, and share the district vision in a clear, concise vision statement.

Recommendations: Further research is recommended to explore the various options available to aspiring superintendents who may obtain positions as a superintendent early in their career and learn on the job instead of the more traditional track, study superintendents who are from organizations other that educational institutions, and explore a study comparing the various political strategies used by both superintendents and board members as they work together toward a common vision and goal attainment.