Date of Award


Degree Name

Educational Leadership


College of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type



A study of 48 West Virginia public school superintendents for the purpose of learning more about them demographically and behaviorally. The data were collected through use of two instruments, the “Behavioral Characteristics Rating Form” from Leadership Styles A Behavioral Matrix, and the “Survey of West Virginia County Superintendents” questionnaire.

The behavioral rating form utilized self-assessment to locate participants on a matrix with a vertical continuum of Informal «-» Formal and a horizontal continuum of Dominant«-»Easy-Going which intersected to form quadrants representing four behavioral styles. Promoter, Supporter, Controller, and Analyzer. The demographic questionnaire collected data from four areas: Personal, Education, Experience, Organizations.

The profile emerging from demographic data indicated that West Virginias average superintendent is a forty-eight year old married male, born and educated in West Virginia, has a Masters* 30 hours and fairly well-educated parents. This superintendent administers a system in an area of less than 50,000 in population with school district enrollment of about 6,500 students. The superintendency was attained by moving through a well-established pipeline from teacher to principal to assistant superintendent to superintendent and took about twenty years; average tenure for superintendent is 4.57 years.

Behavioral data indicate that West Virginia county superintendents grouped themselves into the following style categories: 41.6% as Promoter, 39 58% as Controller. 14.58% as Analyzer, and 4.17% as Supporter. Findings indicated that a behavioral rating of Disciplined was significantly related to superintendent tenure. Respondents rated as Controllers outnumbered Promoters two to one in tenure as superintendent. Analysis suggested possible associations between tenure and parental education, county size, and behavioral characteristics Dominant on the horizontal scale and Formal/Informal on the vertical scale.

Implications of the study are: need for superintendents to have knowledge of their leadership style and its manifest characteristics so they may capitalize on alternative behaviors to enhance role performance: need for professional preparation programs in educational administration to provide students with basis for considering alternative behavioral premises for job performance, and need for county boards of education to be aware of the impact various types of leadership behaviors have upon school system operations.


The University of West Virginia College of Graduate Studies became the WV Graduate College in 1992 and was subsequently merged with Marshall University in 1997.


School superintendents – West Virginia.