Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership


The field has gained knowledge in the area of superintendent influence on student achievement; however, more research on superintendent turnover and its impact on organizational performance in a rural context is needed. Student achievement measures have become the primary indicator of school, principal, teacher, and student success (New York: Race to the Top State Scope of Work, 2011) and has become a measure of the superintendent’s performance. Using time series data analysis with twelve years of district data across the 21 schools studied, results indicated that superintendent turnover did impact student achievement. The motive of the superintendent, examined in this study through Carlson’s (1961) theory of internal versus external hire, suggested that superintendents hired from inside the district increased rural student achievement by 10.8 percent more than external hires. The means of the superintendent, examined in this study through Boyne and Dahya’s theory of Executive Succession, suggested that dependence of a school district on state aid served as a moderator. Student achievement in districts that are reliant on state aid as a revenue source were less impacted. The smaller the school, the less change in passing rates across succession events was observed.

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