Degree Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Jerry Robicheau


The purpose of the research was to investigate the leadership skills of rural Minnesota superintendents alongside the academic achievement of the school district. Through the correlates of school leadership espoused by Waters and Marzano, this research analyzed the leadership characteristics of the superintendents in those districts and the level of educational excellence achieved under them.

A multiple case study methodology was used to study nine rural Minnesota school districts and superintendents. Through a written survey, this study considered collaborative goal setting, nonnegotiable goals for academic achievement, board alignment with district goals, monitoring achievement and instruction, and allocating resources to support those academic goals (Waters & Marzano, 2006).

Based on the research of this study, the author has concluded that the superintendents did collaborate with faculty, board and public to set goals for academic achievement and classroom instruction; the superintendent and board monitored progress on their goals, and the school boards supported them through their physical support for those goals.

Was there a correlation in this study between superintendent leadership and academic achievement and classroom instruction? The answer to that question might depend on the data used to answer that question. According to the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) testing results, there was no noteworthy increase in test scores as a result of superintendent leadership. Considering the narrative responses and the efforts to meet the goals through the World’s Best Workforce, the superintendents of these school districts are actively involved in the education of the children of their districts through their ongoing efforts to set strategic goals across those districts and then monitor and report the progress to the school boards. There was evidence too, that the strategic goals of the districts included more than just the basic tenets of the World’s Best Workforce plan. The superintendents, as well as the staff, administration and school boards of these districts included additional goals that provided the children in their districts the greatest opportunities for a high quality educational experience. Based on this study of these school districts and their superintendents, the leadership of the superintendents did positively impact student achievement and classroom instruction.