Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Stephen Laws


The study examined the experiences of retired superintendents who served in North Carolina public schools and the reflective thoughts they amassed regarding leadership traits which are contributory to success. Additionally, this study sought to explore the potential development of lessons learned through the experiences of the retired superintendents. The researcher used a qualitative approach to conduct this study. Qualitative data were gathered through the use of a questionnaire and in-depth interviews. The open-ended questions explored the experiences of the retired superintendents beginning with their first superintendency and continuing through the culmination of their career. The participants were also asked to share their views on the changing role of the superintendent. The research questions examined (a) What is successful leadership as described by retired superintendents; (b) What knowledge or skill would have helped you to make a positive impact on your superintendency; and (c) What is the impact of successful superintendency on a school system? The analysis highlighted how the demands of serving as a superintendent continue to grow. The ability to clearly communicate goals and expectations, develop relationships, and build trust within his or her organization were attributes identified as critical. The participants expressed concerns about qualified and capable candidates seeking the position of superintendent. Despite the increasingly challenging environment, the retired superintendents believed that their contributions made a difference to the children they served and the communities in which they lived, and this realization brought a real sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.