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Abstract

School districts struggle to attract and maintain a sufficient supply of highly capable superintendents. High-needs within rural districts, in particular, often are not able to attract and retain effective leaders. The issue of short superintendent tenure has drawn speculation and concern that revolving leadership may have negative consequences for schools and student achievement. A variety of factors contribute to superintendent turnover including: school board relations, job satisfaction, school district characteristics, and the personal characteristics of superintendents (Grissom & Anderson, 2012; Kamrath & Brunner, 2014; Wood, Finch & Mirecki, 2013). This study provides insight into perceptions of rural superintendents (n=10) and why they stay or leave their roles in rural Idaho school districts. As we look for ways to build capacity for leadership and social change in rural settings, it is important to understand factors influencing the stability of leadership from the superintendent role. Findings suggest that school boards remain the most influential factor.

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