EFFECTIVE INDUCTION AND MENTORING PRACTICES: PERCEPTIONS OF FEMALE AND MALE SUPERINTENDENTS IN THEIR FIRST YEAR IN A NEW STATE
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The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine the perceptions of six seasoned superintendents, new to the state being studied on the effectiveness of induction and mentoring programs. The purpose is also to gain an understanding of these programs as they relate to differences in gender and levels of experience. The findings from this study have implications for job, district and community stability and improvement in student learning. The portraitures of the six superintendents studied revealed that all but one were retired from another state and thus at the end of their career. The unretired superintendent indicated that she only wanted one superintendency and would not seek another district. Four of the six relayed that this would be their last superintendency. The interviews indicated that there was no consistent induction process across the state with the exception of a meeting in the summer for new superintendents sponsored by the state association for superintendents. In five of the six cases, a mentor was assigned, but no structure was provided and the superintendents indicated that they found their own network independent of the assigned mentor. These networks included other superintendents in the region, colleagues from their former state, the district central office staff, university professors, community organizations, and the regional education agency. The study found that a more structured support system should be in place for any new superintendent in the state, but this system should be differentiated for superintendents new to the superintendency and for experienced superintendents new to a state system. In addition, the study found that a system for the induction of women into the superintendency needs to be strengthened and more formalized. This system should start with the mentoring of principals and central office workers and should include opportunities for leadership at a variety of levels. Follow up studies will be needed to determine what support systems should entail.
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