Politics and the Superintendency in the USA: Restructuring in-service education

Lars G. Björk, John Keedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


A recent national survey in 2001 of superintendents in the United States found that, although they recognised the increasing political nature of their work, these chief executive officers prefer to serve as professional advisors and decision makers. These roles often do not coincide with dominant political configurations of their boards of education. These findings mirror those of McCarty & Ramsey (1971) and are cause for concern in view of growing cultural and ideological polarisation in the United States. The study also uncovered a need for field-based application of knowledge in superintendent preparation and in-service programmes. After briefly reviewing central concepts derived from theories of practice and research on situated learning, the article recommends pedagogical approaches for enhancing superintendents'; political acumen and skills. The in-service model presented is characterised by reiterative cycles of learning and is described as, In-Service Education for Superintendents equals Research, Context, Coaching and Reflection and summarised by the acronym, ISES = (RC)².

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-302
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of In-Service Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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