Superintendentsworking in a rural district according to Hill, P.
must adjust to “living in a fish bowl”politics. Hill, P (2015) reviews in his case study cost benefit analysis, thegiving of donations to the community, attending sporting events, pillow talk,and school disciplinehiring issues. A secondary analysis evaluates theleadership and exercise of political skill recorded by researches being used byrural superintendents. The researchers used interviews and first handobservations to document the interactions and decision rendered bysuperintendents. This was a type of ethnographic research study it.).
Findings from the case study suggest the successful;superintendent of a small, rural school district must possess high-endpolitical skills. Earning the trust and respect of staff and community,identify which situations require immediate attention versus the whirlwind ofthe tyranny of the urgent. This must be accomplished with scarce resources andminimal district office personnel, who often must fill multiple positions.
Manytime there are external pressures from community stakeholders that ruralsuperintendents serve a uniquely public and high-profile role (Arnold, Newman,Gaddy, & Dean, 2005; Lamkin, 2006; Theobald, 2005). That is, their jobrequires close-knit relationships among community stakeholders (Lamkin, 2006).Researchers have also posited that external pressures from communitystakeholders may increase the incidence of push-induced superintendent turnover(Alsbury, 2003; Glass et al., 2000; Hodges, 2005). To some extent, this trendmay be due to community stakeholders’ attempts to influence how a superintendentmanages his or her school district. As Campbell (2001) explained, communitystakeholders, special interest groups, and the pressures that they exert cancomplicate a superintendent’s ability to direct the administrative operationsof a school district. Therefore, superintendents who are skilled in respondingto community and political pressures—with an aim toward mutually beneficialoutcomes—might be more likely to avoid a push-induced departure. Asuperintendent who does not display the ability to adequately manage thediverse demands of community stakeholders will be at risk of involuntarydeparture; discontented community stakeholders may exercise their politicalwill on the school board to remove the superintendent from office (Alsbury,2003).
As Fullan (1998) suggested, a degree of dissatisfaction will alwaysexist among community stakeholders with respect to a superintendent’sleadership and performance. One way a superintendent can minimize thepossibility of an involuntary departure, however, is to foster an environmentof connectivity between the community and school district, as well as to be anactive participant in the community and community civic functions (Kowalski,1995, 2006).