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Four Ways Superintendents Build Excitement for the Future

Four Ways Superintendents Build Excitement for the Future

As students begin a new school year, Gallup finds that a majority of U.S. superintendents (86%) in a June 24-July 12 poll are excited about their school district's future and say their principals (84%) and teachers (73%) share much of this excitement. However, superintendents are much less optimistic about the future of U.S. public education at large.

In the poll of 1,811 U.S. superintendents, Gallup finds that superintendents are less likely to say they are excited about the future of K-12 public education in the U.S. (44%) and that their principals (41%) and teachers (27%) are even less excited.

Excitement among school leaders for district

The gaps in excitement -- for the future of local versus national education, and among superintendents, principals and teachers -- are important for leaders in education to note.

Previous research, including the recently released 47th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll, shows that Americans view their local schools more favorably than the national education system -- likely because they are more familiar with, invested in and committed to their local schools. To bridge the excitement gap that separates superintendents from principals and teachers, superintendents can tap into the greater optimism for local education, and get their constituents to embrace the successes, challenges and needs in their own schools.

A Gallup study polled more than 10,000 people on the most important leaders in their life and found four key things they seek from leadership:

1. Trust: Followers want leaders who carry themselves with a spirit of honesty, integrity and respect. If employees do not trust their organization's leaders, there is just a one in 12 chance that employees will be engaged at work.

2. Compassion: Employees who feel their manager cares about them as a person are more productive and more likely to stay with their organization, among other benefits.

3. Stability: In times of change, followers look to leaders who provide security and stability that keep them on track. Leaders who provide stability are able to build confidence in their employees.

4. Hope: Leaders who inspire hope in their followers are able to elevate both ideas and energy for the future. Hope is a contagious and beneficial resource in successful organizations.

By sharing their own excitement about the future and ensuring that they are meeting the needs of those who follow their leadership, superintendents can be a powerful and motivating force in increasing optimism in education.

Read the full report, "Understanding Perspectives on Public Education in the U.S."


Tim Hodges, Ph.D., is a Senior Consultant at Gallup.

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