Building Sustainability in Rural Superintendents

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The problem of practice for this study was to provide a professional learning intervention to new and aspiring rural superintendents to build sustainability in rural school district leadership. Declining enrollment and fiscal uncertainty facing rural school districts make retaining superintendents a challenge. New superintendents must quickly learn to build relationships with school board members and the community. Rural superintendents must communicate effectively from a myriad of roles in a small district. Building critical leadership skills in new and aspiring superintendents can help increase leadership sustainability for rural districts. This professional learning intervention is known as the Leadership Academy for Rural Superintendents (LARS). Through three online learning modules, participants learned about the specific roles and responsibilities for school boards and superintendents, the challenges facing rural school districts, and the effective leadership behaviors that are critical for building relationships. Sustainable educational leadership means greater depth, breadth, and length in the tenure of a superintendent. This action research study sought to build effective district leadership skills that correlate to positive student outcomes in new and aspiring rural superintendents.

Sustainable leadership, leadership skills, rural school challenges, communication strategies, superintendents, school boards, flattened administrative structure