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Turnover rate among state school superintendents increasing

A column near the entrance of the SFUSD headquarters
Dan Brekke
Flickr / Creative Commons
A column near the entrance of the SFUSD headquarters

EdSource reports the superintendent turnover in California grew from almost 12 percent after the 2019-20 school year, to nearly 21 percent after the 2020-21 school year.

About 18 percent left after the 2021-22 school year, said Rachel S. White, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who runs a research lab that collects data about school superintendents.

Turnover is particularly high this year because many superintendents who stuck it out during pandemic school closures, and the tumultuous years since, have had enough, White said.

Nationwide, about half of the country’s 500 largest school districts have changed leaders or are undergoing leadership changes, according to White’s data.

Superintendents' jobs changed dramatically after the pandemic closed schools in March 2020.

Instead of focusing on academics, strategic planning, school finances and community relations, superintendents were charged with navigating pandemic mandates and negotiating these changes with district unions.

Superintendents also were tasked with ensuring there were enough computers and connectivity for students and staff to support virtual learning, all while dealing with parents who were angry their children were not in school.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked has in print, radio, television, and web journalism.