The educational superintendent: Between trust and regulation an international perspective

Adam E. Nir* (Editor)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Public education is one of the main forces that make a healthy and democratic society. It strives to educate and to provide the younger generation knowledge and skills that allow children to become contributing citizens in their society. Public education is considered highly significant in consolidating the society and establishing its cultural and economic strength. For those reasons, governments choose to invest a significant portion of the state's national resources in public schooling. Taking into account the costs and political significance attributed to public education, it is not surprising that governments establish some formal mechanism responsible for the monitoring of schools, intended to ensure that schools operate professionally and in accordance with national goals and policies. However, when considering voices arguing for schools' autonomy and, at the same time, policy makers' inclination to control schools, a dilemma arises: how can control and trust be pursued simultaneously? This dilemma is obviously applicable in all public education systems and it is therefore not surprising that they all have some formal monitoring mechanism with individuals holding positions often termed "superintendent." Nevertheless, substantial dissimilarities among different educational contexts may be found in role expectations and degrees of regulation superintendents are expected to enforce. The superintendency system may therefore be viewed as a vivid expression of the way trust and control are conceived and translated in different national settings. It reflects a unique and fragile equilibrium between the inclination to enforce national policies on schools as a means for ensuring their implementation and the tendency to enable sufficient degrees of freedom to school level educators. While research on educational leadership at the school level is abundant, studies on the educational superintendent are relatively sparse. Although some studies have been conducted on the superintendency in recent years, the literature lacks evidence coming from comparative research endeavors testifying to the control and regulation mechanisms exerted in public education systems in light of their different contextual features. The book's main goal is to provide an international audience of policymakers, planners, district as well as school-level educators and, obviously, researchers substantial multicultural evidence regarding mechanisms of control and trust characterizing different educational systems, using the superintendent's role as a lens. Specifically, the book describes how superintendency is exercised in thirteen national public systems with each chapter focusing on a single state providing an "insider's" perspective of the superintendency system in light of the structural, institutional and cultural features of each society and educational system.

Original languageAmerican English
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages244
ISBN (Electronic)9781629489827
ISBN (Print)9781629489728
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.


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