Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Cooper, Robb, 1951-

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


School superintendents--Illinois--Attitudes; School board members--Illinois--Attitudes; School boards--Illinois--Public opinion


The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of superintendents and school board members regarding the ability of the board to effectively govern their local school district. The study examined specifically six areas of effectiveness: making decisions, functioning as a group, exercising authority, connecting to the community, working toward board improvement, and acting strategically. Data were collected from a survey distributed to 59 school districts in the Illinois School Board Divisions of Blackhawk, Central Valley, Kishwaukee, Starved Rock, and Three Rivers. Demographic information was collected on gender, level of education, length of service on the board, other superintendent or board positions held, whether board members were elected or appointed, and enrollment of the district. The findings of this study suggested that the perceptions of superintendents and boards were in agreement with each other's responses for 55 questions and significantly disagreed on 16 questions. The board and superintendents showed more significant disagreement on questions that addressed decision making, functioning cohesively as a group, exercising authority, and working toward board improvement. The findings showed that superintendents and board members agreed more on connecting to the community and acting strategically. Consistent with the literature, these results supported the major efforts that are needed for school boards and superintendents to develop a positive working relationship. Communication and information sharing must occur for this relationship to be effective. Clearly defining roles and responsibilities allows both the board and the superintendent to perform their duties in order to serve the school district effectively. The ability of the board and superintendent to engage in self-evaluation of current governance practices, to have deliberate dialogue regarding governance, to identify the strengths and needs, to develop in implement an action plan and then finally self-evaluate the plan is critical to the success of the district.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [87]-91)


x, 108 pages




Northern Illinois University

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