Thanks to @science_goddess for pointing me to this NPR piece on The Myth of the Superstar Superintendent in which they report on a study showing no correlation between student achievement and who is leading their school district.
However, I think their conclusion is far too simple. It’s foolish to say that the leaders of a school system don’t matter. As in any other field, it all depends on their leadership style.
“A good superintendent empowers leading visionary principals and teacher leaders at the school,” she [education writer and author Dana Goldstein] says. But what actually happens too often is that superintendents “squash interesting ideas, so you’d have principals afraid to try something new, afraid to try something innovative.”
Unfortunately, with the many layers of super-level leadership we have here in the overly-large school district, there’s a lot of that squashing going on.