The position of school superintendent has become far more complex than when it was first introduced in Buffalo, New York in 1837. Reform efforts of the 1980’s shifted the focus of the role to student achievement, even though a host of managerial responsibilities related to finance, human resources, transportation, building maintenance, and public relations remained. More recently, superintendents have been expected to also address an array of societal issues, including diversification of students and staff, increased governmental mandates, the explosion of technology, and the globalization of society. Sadly, these multi-faceted demands have occurred in a context of shrinking resources. Through all of this, perhaps the greatest challenge faced by superintendents is that they are highly visible people who are charged with navigating through bitterly competing political interests. Given this reality, it is no wonder that more and more school districts struggle to keep their superintendents. Furthermore, this dynamic heightens the need to understand the role of the superintendent and the training needed to support those who endeavor to lead school districts. That is the purpose of this themed edition of the Journal of Organizational and Educational Leadership.

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