Politics first: Examining the practices of the multi-district superintendent





multi-district superintendent, superintendent, school board, multi-district union, joint union, regionalization, consolidation, rural schools, local control, case study


Over the past decade, multiple states have implemented a form of regional school district consolidation referred to as multi-district unions. Their organizational structure enables districts to retain individual school boards within regional local education agencies, all of which are overseen by a superintendent and a central board. However, no empirical research has been conducted to date on the ensuing work of multi-district superintendents. In our exemplary case study, we analyze time records, interviews, and observations to understand the role allocations and work of one multi-district superintendent. We find the division of time and ensuing responsibilities of the multi-district superintendent is predominantly political to the organizational structure of the union, and we conclude with implications for policy and practice.



Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Daniella Hall, Clemson University

Dr. Hall is an assistant professor of educational leadership in the Department of Educational and Organizational Leadership Development at Clemson University. Her research focuses on school district leadership in rural contexts. Her current research examines the relationship between educational politics, administration, and local communities. 

Erin McHenry-Sorber, West Virginia University

Dr. McHenry-Sorber is an assistant professor of higher education and senior scholar of the Center for the Future of Land-Grant Education at West Virginia University. Her research interests include relationships between rural schools and their contexts. Her current research projects include an investigation of rural teacher shortages and gendered barriers and opportunities to postsecondary access for rural Appalachian students. 




How to Cite

Hall, D., & McHenry-Sorber, E. (2017). Politics first: Examining the practices of the multi-district superintendent. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 25, 82. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.25.2934