Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Saban, Joseph M.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


School superintendents--Illinois--Attitudes; Special education--Illinois--Public opinion


The purpose of this research was to determine what knowledge and behaviors Illinois superintendents perceive to be important to their leadership responsibilities for special education programs and services. The study also sought to determine if the superintendents perceive their formal educational programs to have prepared them with specific knowledge or prepared them to perform specific tasks related to leadership for special education. Personal and district demographics were also analyzed to reveal any relationships among the superintendents’ perceptions of the importance of their knowledge and performance of leadership responsibilities for this population. Information concerning the perceptions of superintendents was gathered via a self-administered questionnaire. The essential items for the instrument were created from the content-area standards and indicators for the director of special education in Illinois and reflect required competencies in the areas of instructional programming, law, finance and the provision of services for students with disabilities. A final sample size of 241 of the Illinois public school superintendents serving during the 2004-2005 school year was attained for the quantitative analysis. The findings were significant and revealed that the respondents overwhelmingly believe that the knowledge and performance indicators identified in the survey are important to their administrative responsibilities as superintendents. The findings also revealed that the respondents perceive that they were fundamentally prepared with the understandings and behaviors established within the identified standards. Furthermore it was found that relationships did exist between certain personal and/or district demographics and the perceptions of the superintendents concerning their preparation for and the importance of the knowledge and performance indicators. The positive trend of these perceptions and the other key findings of this research will be valuable to the development of graduate programs, coursework and professional development in the field of educational leadership. Further study of the structure and content of superintendent preparation programs, validity studies of the current leadership standards, and the study of the special education competencies superintendents would identify as important to their work are just a few of the research considerations that were recommended based on the results of this study.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [198]-204).


xi, 247 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type