Chad Clark

Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Pauline Stonehouse


Superintendent-principals face the task of effectively leading while performing in their roles and responsibilities as superintendent and principal. A limited amount of research has found that superintendent-principals experience role ambiguity, stress, and burnout. The purpose of this study was to understand roles, responsibilities, and experiences of rural superintendent-principals in North Dakota. The research question guiding this study was: What are the shared experiences of rural superintendent-principals in their first 5 years of a dual-role administrative career?

This qualitative study involved interviewing superintendent-principals with 5 or fewer years of experience in the dual-role position of superintendent-principal. Six superintendent-principals in rural North Dakota were interviewed, and data were coded into categories, themes, and assertions. Outcomes identified for rural superintendent-principals were: role and responsibilities were more managerial than leadership, impact of additional roles and responsibilities on instructional leadership, key support systems, impact of a rural environment on a leader, and superintendent-principal training. This study provides recommendations for rural superintendent-principals, rural school board members, North Dakota Educational Leadership Programs, and North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.