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A Think Twice Review of:

Unlocking Potential: How Political Skill Can Maximize Superintendent Effectiveness

Think Twice - Mar 06, 2018

Publisher/Think Tank - Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE)

Author(s) - Paul Hill and Ashley Jochim

A recent report from the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) sought to provide an overview on how school district superintendents could be more effective at influencing others, harnessing the political power of the position, and exercising real power to accomplish agendas. The report attempts to describe the work of a superintendent as a series of interactions with internal groups (working in a school district) and external stakeholders (business and foundation leaders, and policymakers).

Reviewer(s) - William J. Mathis, University of Colorado Boulder

In his review, Mathis finds that the report does not provide a research design, literature review, or a description of data collection. Instead, he says that the report primarily relies on the authors’ life experiences and “common sense” approaches. Mathis further points out that the power-based theory proposed in the report fails to consider the historic role that school boards and superintendents have played in preventing politicized governance. Additionally, Mathis notes that the report assumes a stronger, more influential superintendent is beneficial for schools, communities, and students. In summary, he says, “this report offers nothing new or insightful. It is more a reflection of nineteenth century thinking than twenty-first century leadership.” Put concisely, Mathis concludes that this report offers no value to policymaking or for an aspiring superintendent seeking answers.