Introduction: International Perspectives on Educational Reform and Superintendent Leadership

Lars G. Björk, Tricia Browne-Ferrigno

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

6 Scopus citations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-361
Number of pages5
JournalLeadership and Policy in Schools
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
In “The Swedish Superintendent in the Policy Stream,” Olof Johansson (Umeå University) and Elisabet Nihlfors (Umeå University) present a brief overview of the Swedish education system as well as report pertinent findings from the Swedish research project, National Policy Meets Local Implementation Structures. Their article focuses on the impact of shifts in educational policy on schools, superintendents, and governance patterns over several decades. Despite multiple shifts in political power at the national level, policy initiatives remained focused on improving the quality of schools through improving student academic outcomes, revising curricula, promulgating a new education act, and strengthening the National School Inspectorate charged with accountability. The Education Act of 2010 increased principals’ responsibility for school operations as well as teachers’ responsibility for student learning outcomes. Superintendents became members of municipal government executive management teams and helped them navigate the often treacherous waters of a shifting policy stream in which central and local government responsibilities for education often conflicted.

Funding Information:
These studies are unique in time and place. Each article in the special issue includes brief descriptions of national education systems, discussions of recent educational reforms, and empirical findings from nationwide studies (2009–2011) funded by the Finnish and Norwegian ministries of education, national research councils in Sweden and Denmark, and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) in the United States. These studies collectively contribute to the scope, depth, and reliability of findings on how educational reforms have influenced school district superintendents. The origins of this special issue date to 2008, when the researchers were collaboratively planning related studies on the school district superintendent. Broad discussions of national educational reform initiatives helped to define a shared research framework, categories, and questions that would enable them to answer questions pertinent to their respective countries as well as facilitate cross-national comparisons of superintendents’ leadership roles in implementing state and national educational reforms. Over the past several years, the authors have convened symposia and presented peer-reviewed papers during international conferences including the European Educational Research Association (EERA), Nordic Educational Research Conference (NERC), American Educational Research Association (AREA), University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA), International Symposium on Educational Reform (ISER), and the Congress of Humanities and Social Science Research (CHSSR). Peer reviews and critiques of this collective body of work have contributed to authors’ sharpening the focus of their discussions of how shifts in national education policy have altered the structure and governance of education, as well providing insights into how the leadership role of school district superintendents has changed and is changing.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Strategy and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Introduction: International Perspectives on Educational Reform and Superintendent Leadership'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this