Does Experience Matter in a District Superintendent?

In order to be an effective major league baseball coach, do you think a person had to have been a great player?  Could you coach in the NFL without ever playing football?  A recent article in the Boston Globe discusses an interesting trend in education.  Increasingly, large urban school districts across the country have been hiring Superintendents that have backgrounds not in teaching or school administration, but instead public policy, business and the military.

While some would argue these professionals bring a unique perspective to public education, others would argue a lack of experience and credibility.  What are your thoughts on the issue?  Read the article, “Pittsburgh district’s choice for superintendent illustrates trend” about the newest Superintendent in the Pittsburgh Public Schools and weigh in.


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One Comment;

  1. Betsy Whalen said:

    DC Public Schools is part of the New Leaders for New Schools project (, which recruits professionals with varied backgrounds to train to become principals in DCPS. (There is a requirement that applicants have teaching experience)

    When I left my school in DCPS last year, my principal retired as well. She was replaced by a NLNS principal. There was initial pushback by the parents, but I think by the end of the year she’d earned a lot of respect. I am all for new programs like this — I think people with backgrounds outside of education often bring a fresh perspective that help ignite and inspire schools that are unable to break out of old patterns.

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