OBTAINING AND SUSTAINING SUPERINTENDENCIES: AN EXAMINATION OF SUPPORT RECEIVED BY NOVICE SUPERINTENDENTS
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Turnover is a serious problem facing the American public school superintendency. Relatively little research has been done to identify and describe the types of support that superintendents and aspirants would find beneficial. This qualitative study examined how novice superintendents describe the support and mentoring experiences they have received throughout their careers. Additionally, it provides insight into the topics and structure of mentoring that they perceive would be useful to them as superintendents. Interviews with novice superintendents identified through a purposeful sampling model were used to collect data for this research. Nine superintendents were interviewed for the study from a variety of locations in a single state. The study revealed that the supports that superintendents receive throughout their career trajectories are iterative, with both the topics and the sources of that support changing throughout their superintendency journeys. Those journeys included initial interest in the role, training, and aspiration to the role and to a superintendent position, and clear themes emerged in each phase of their career trajectory. Additionally, a clear delineation between technical and psychological support emerged. This study contributes to the body of literature on the support that superintendents receive by providing clear information about the types and origins of support from which superintendents benefited as well as the additional support they wished they had received. It provides implications for further research on this topic as well as implications for practice to support novice superintendents.