This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Descriptive Case Study of Rural Turnaround Superintendents: What Matters Most in Sustaining Turnaround?




Sullivan , Bonnie

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


This descriptive qualitative case study examined how rural superintendents implement the eight turnaround principles to foster and sustain improvement in the school district organization. The eight turnaround principles are as follows: school leadership, school climate and culture, effective instruction, curriculum, assessment and intervention systems, effective staffing practices, enabling the effective use of data, effective use of time, and family and community engagement. The primary participants selected for this study are eight superintendents located in rural school systems in a southern state. The eight rural superintendents were chosen from school systems that have an agreement with the PACT grant partnership with three universities in the southern state. The voices from the eleven rural superintendents in Alabama gave insight to how the eight turnaround principles were applied in facilitating and hindering factors of school system turnaround. This study examined specific internal and external learning partnerships that support turnaround in a school system. Data were obtained through in-depth face-to-face interviews, reviewing the “End of Year” Status reports, and asking follow up interview questions.