Department of Educational Administration


Date of this Version

Summer 6-8-2011

Document Type



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Ed.D., Major: Educational Studies: Educational Leadership in Higher Education, Under the supervision of Professor Marilyn L. Grady. Lincoln, Nebraska: June 2011

Copyright 2011 Zachary G. Kassebaum


The role of the superintendent is viewed as high-stress. Research reports a high turnover rate in the superintendency. Superintendents face pressure and criticism from several fronts. Despite these circumstances, many superintendents find satisfaction within the position. Through the stories of superintendents, we discover new findings about satisfaction derived from the superintendency.

The purpose of this study was to examine the common characteristics of satisfied superintendents and the components of the superintendency that provide satisfaction. The major contribution of this study is a greater understanding of how superintendents can increase the likelihood of experiencing satisfaction and longevity in their position.

Through interviews, twenty-one superintendents shared their experiences. All interviews were audio-recorded. Data generated were analyzed and coded. Overlap and redundancy of codes were reduced and collapsed into themes.

Four themes emerged from the study: motivation to obtain the superintendency, rewards of the superintendency, supports in the superintendency, and routines to maintain health as a superintendent.

Based on the findings of the study superintendents who reported satisfaction in their roles: provided a structure for their evaluation to be able to gauge the level of their impact, created support systems to assist them in their work, established routines to promote a healthy lifestyle, and were intentional and meaningful in creating positive interactions with others.

Advisor: Marilyn L. Grady