Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Barbara Strobert Ed.D

Committee Member

Charles Achilles

Committee Member

Linda Estep

Committee Member

Patrice DeMartino


Education, Superintendents, Pennsylvania, School administrators, Superintendent preparation


The purpose for this study was to add to the research on school administrator preparation programs by examining and describing the content, structure, and overall design of university preparation programs in Pennsylvania for school superintendents to determine the degree to which the programs of the 26 state-approved providers of superintendent certification are reflective of the current research and theory regarding effective school district leadership, particularly instructional leadership. At a time when public education is under fire from political leaders and the general public, school administrators are expected to design and manage education systems that meet the needs of all learners and demonstrate high levels of student achievement. The competencies and skills needed for this type of work should be developed through the education experiences and expectations of various groups for school leadership preparation programs.

This study is best described as a non-experimental cross- sectional case study using multiple sites with a descriptive research design. There was one main research question and three subsidiary questions that guided the study. The researcher analyzed published documents and information from the 26 approved superintendent preparation-programs in the state of Pennsylvania to determine the degree to which the programs reflected the exemplary characteristics identified by scholars in the field. A thorough examination of the current scholarship and research of effective school administrator preparation was done to determine the components of each program that would be examined.

The current researcher found limited evidence that preparation-programs have undergone significant reforms or have been influenced by the relevant research, theory, and literature on effective school district administrator preparation. Though some technical changes were noted, there was no evidence of the adaptive changes needed for large-scale reform.

The study has contributed to the field by demonstrating the degree to which the preparation programs for superintendent candidates in the state of Pennsylvania as a whole have made changes that are consistent with recommendations from current research, theory and literature in the field and are focused on instructional leadership.