Date of Award


Degree Name

Educational Leadership


College of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type




This study was done to determine (1) if members of the West Virginia Legislature and county superintendents were in agreement as to the role superintendents are taking and should take politically state educational decision making process, (2) if the superintendents and legislators were in agreement as to the political climate presently in the State of West Virginia, and (3) what part certain independent variables play in the actual political role of superintendents.


The instrument for the study was a questionnaire designed and validated by Moore, used in the state of Colorado for a similar study. The questionnaire consisted of thirty-six questions, broken up into three parts. The first part of the questionnaire dealt with demographics, the second part dealt with political climate in West Virginia, which provided data concerning the perceptions of both respondent groups of the political climate, and the third part dealt with actual and ideal political roles of superintendents. The questionnaire was designed so that the researcher could analyze the responses of both groups and establish the relationship between the individual responses.

Findings and Conclusions

The following conclusions, based on the findings of this study, were made:

  1. Only two of the superintendents were under the age of thirty-five but fifteen of them have less than four years’ experience. Therefore, this researcher concludes that age is a major factor in the selection of superintendents and the level of experience in the superintendency has little or no impact on who is hired to manage a given school.
  2. The superintendents responded much more positively than the legislators to the assertions that the same people are influential in state politics regardless of the situation and that wealth and social class are very important to political influence. Therefore, this researcher concludes that the superintendents and legislators in agreement as and what is influential in West Virginia state politics.
  3. There was a notable difference between the perceptions of the two respondent groups concerning the superintendents’ role in educational politics. Therefore, this researcher concludes that the legislators are not perceiving the superintendents’ political activity as the superintendents had intended.
  4. Only two significant differences occurred between opinions concerning the way superintendents should politically perform. Therefore, this researcher concludes that a relative consensus between the two respondent groups exists concerning the idealized political role of superintendents, with one notable exception.
  5. Eighty-nine percent of the superintendents indicated that they supported the formation of coalitions. Eighty-two percent of the superintendents indicated that they supported the concept of backing political candidates to achieve their professional desires. Forty-five percent of the legislators opposed the formation of coalitions. Fifty-five percent of the legislators indicated an opposition to superintendents’ supporting political candidates. Therefore, this researcher concludes that the superintendents are ready to become politically active but the legislators are not ready for such activity nor will they be receptive to such activity.
  6. Age, years of experience, political training, W. V. A. S. A. membership, degree attained and RESA affiliation of school superintendents produced no significant relationships. Therefore, this researcher concludes that these independent variables have little or no impact on the actual performance of superintendents.
  7. Age and years in position of state legislators has little or no relationship to the receptiveness of legislators to the political activity of superintendents.


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 principals – Politics and government.

Education and state – West Virginia.