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Superintendent leadership plays an important role in charting the trajectory of school district operations and ultimately of student learning. Meanwhile, several school districts undergo a superintendent transition each year, yet relatively little is known about Pennsylvania’s superintendents. To help fill this void, RFA summarizes state policy and existing research and provides original analysis of available data from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to answer some frequently asked questions about superintendents.

  • What are the roles and responsibilities of superintendents?
  • Do charter schools have superintendents?
  • Who is eligible to serve as a superintendent?
  • What are the experience levels and academic credentials of PA superintendents?
  • What are the gender and racial demographics of PA’s superintendents?
  • How much do superintendents get paid?
  • How long do superintendents typically serve in their role?
  • Are superintendents ever evaluated for their performance?
  • Is there evidence of superintendents impacting student learning?
  • Who hires or terminates a superintendent?
  • How can school and community members get involved in the hiring process for a new superintendent?

Policymakers, school district officials, and school and community members hoping to get involved in superintendent searches in their school districts can all use this FAQ to inform their efforts.