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The Myth Of The Superstar Superintendent?

At corporations, leadership matters. A lot. Think of the impact of the late Steve Jobs at Apple or Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, to name a couple.

For America’s public schools, studies show leadership also matters — especially at the principal level and, not surprisingly, when it comes to teachers.

But what about public education’s de facto CEOs — school district superintendents? They often get lots of media attention, are in charge of big budgets and, in theory, set the educational agenda. Some go on to lead the federal Department of Education, notably Arne Duncan and Rod Paige. Other superintendents are either hailed as saviors or vilified (or both, in the case of the former Washington, D.C., chancellor, Michelle Rhee.)

But do they really matter when it comes to student success?