Despite Stress, Most Superintendents Enjoy Their Jobs

Despite reports of superintendents and teachers ready to quit, a new survey found that most superintendents are pleased with their jobs.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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Schools are struggling to retain and attract teachers all across the nation. Many experts believe that this is largely due to stress, lack of pay, and burnout, as the majority of all teachers have been reporting extreme dissatisfaction with their jobs. But on the contrary, not all school staff appear to be unhappy with the work they do. Contradictory to previously conveyed news earlier this year, a new poll found that overall, superintendents are quite the opposite, and enjoy the role they play in schools.

The Rand Corporation recently conducted its firth annual American Schools District Panel Survey, which was reported by EdWeek. The poll questioned superintendents from over 291 public and charter school districts across the nation between February and April. 87% of those polled relayed that they felt valued in their jobs, while 85% either agreed or strongly agreed that they were also satisfied with their jobs. 

What might be even more shocking about this finding is that the level of satisfaction conveyed by school superintendents is even higher than the average compared to all other U.S. workers, who overall are polling low satisfaction in fields of work. Polling all the way back to two decades ago, on average, only about half of U.S. workers typically say that they are satisfied with their jobs. What’s more, for superintendents, this year’s data shows that even more of these school leaders are pleased with their job than they were before the pandemic when school stress was well-known to be much lower. 

Observing this information, there could be many factors at play that are keeping superintendents engaged and satisfied with the work they do each and every day. The report estimated that COVID relief funds could play into this finding. Insufficient funding piles up to a mountain of stress for school leaders struggling to make ends meet with lackluster funds. The last few years’ boosts in funding may have left superintendents positive that they could make an impact. Similarly, the pandemic could have impacted school leaders’ “sense of mission”.

Despite all the positive news, there still remains a fear of mass exodus not just for teachers, but superintendents as well. In another portion of the survey, the majority of respondents did acknowledge that the job had become more burdensome and stressful over the years. Down the road, experts feel this may affect job satisfaction, and cause more superintendents to leave the job earlier than intended. For guidance, the report suggested that school districts find ways to make sure that the workload wasn’t all being placed on superintendents. 


Given the state of education all around the nation, the fact that the majority of superintendents seem quite pleased with their job is promising news in a world filled with reports of teacher shortages and other issues at school. Acting as the liaison between teachers and the school board, these officials hold a powerful and important role in making sure schools are operating smoothly. Ensuring that they remain content in their roles should be a crucial concern for districts.