The Development of Models of Educational Consultants' Perceptions of the Executive Search Process

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching and Leadership


Linda Sheive


Superintendent, Networking, Career

Subject Categories

Educational Administration and Supervision


A major school board function is the selection of a chief executive officer; yet little empirical research analyzes the superintendent search process. Forty-to-fifty percent of the school boards that conduct searches employ a professional search consultant to assist in the process.

This study investigated the perceptions of eight professional consultants in New York and Pennsylvania to identify the process they use when conducting searches.

In-depth interviews were held to gather data on superintendent recruitment and selection. Common and unique features of the search processes were analyzed and synthesized to formulate two models. Each model has five steps: (1) Preparation, (2) Advertising/Recruiting, (3) Processing, (4) Narrowing of Slate, and (5) Selection. The models are similar but require differing amounts of input from the school board at Steps 3 and 4 of the process.

Additional findings of the study were that there is a network among consultants for recruiting and screening purposes; that recruiting is an essential part of the search process; and that consultants function regionally but maintain ties nationally.

The research-based models that were developed provide criteria for School Boards to use when conducting their own search, when employing a consultant or when evaluating a search. Individuals who perform searches may consider the models as a guide. Persons who are candidates for positions may find the models useful as a detailed descriptor of the process. Future study is suggested to determine whether these regional models apply in other sections of the United States.


Surface provides description only. Full text is available to ProQuest subscribers. Ask your Librarian for assistance.