Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.
Educational Administration and Higher Education
School of Education
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
Impact of Media Culture School Superintendents
School superintendents in the 21st century face a prolific media culture with widespread and easy public access to information. The internet allows instantaneous dissemination of information and news about educational issues (Kowalski, 2005). Because community members, staff, parents and students can quickly communicate using the internet and cell phones, modern day superintendents need to be adept in dealing with both internal and external communication (Kowalski, McCord, Peterson, Young & Ellerson, 2011). Internal stakeholder groups include school staff, parents and students. These communications also arise and originate from external stakeholder groups which include the information and social media networks, news media, community leaders, local and state political leaders, and higher education (Kowalski et. al., 2011; Lockhart, 2011).
The problem for the study was to analyze Minnesota school superintendents’ perceptions of the impact of intense media scrutiny and relations with communication media in general on their sense of influence, length of tenure and professional aspirations regarding their profession. In light of the rapid changes in communication technologies, school leaders are increasingly being subjected to more scrutiny regarding their decisions about school change and policy. At times this scrutiny becomes not only intense, but hostile and even threatening (Carr, 2013; Eaton & Sharp, 1996; Hawk & Martin, 2011; Metzger, 2003; Metzger, 1997). The study examines to what extent this news media environment impacts the role of the superintendent.
The study examines superintendent perceptions regarding their interactions and experiences with media culture using a questionnaire and selected interviews. Survey data was gathered from approximately  public school superintendents who are members of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA) professional organization. Three superintendents were invited to participate in a follow-up interview in order to glean additional perspectives and information regarding their interactions and experiences with media culture. Participants were asked to complete a 23-item survey in summer 2014 using Survey Monkey®. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics for selected items and non-numerical language to analyze results from open-ended comments. Qualitative methods were used to analyze results from selected interviews. Results from the study may assist current and aspiring school superintendents to gain a deeper understanding of how information technology and the communication age impacts professional ambition and ability to carry out this role.
The research questions for the study were:
1. To what extent does the media culture affect the superintendent’s leadership success and perception of one’s ability to influence and impact the organization?
2. To what extent does the media culture impact the professional tenure (longevity) and career of school superintendents?
3. To what extent does the media culture affect the professional aspirations of school superintendent?
In the study, the impact of the media culture on the role of the superintendent was found to be distracting from job responsibilities. The results of the survey displayed that the slant or bias of news information and social media were strong factors that impacted professional tenure and job satisfaction.
Beaton, Judy, "Impact of Media Culture on Influence, Tenure, and Professional Aspirations of the School Superintendent" (2016). Culminating Projects in Education Administration and Leadership. 21.