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Superintendents as a Catalyst of Economic Development: Academic Excellence vs. Economic Gardening

Prijatelj, Charles/CAP (2013) Superintendents as a Catalyst of Economic Development: Academic Excellence vs. Economic Gardening. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Many school districts in Pennsylvania face severe cuts in basic education funding from the state as well as the loss of funding caused by students exiting the school district to charter and cyber charter schools. These diminishing revenues are pushing many school districts to reduce staff and programs. On top of these cuts, some districts have had to raise taxes to cover their remaining funding deficiencies. These funding challenges could threaten the financial stability of many small school districts and possibly, their very existence.

This research study focuses on understanding the needs of the local community and business leaders concerning the impacts of taxation, workforce preparation, and the creation of a viable local economic climate. This study examines the local school district’s role and the superintendent’s responsibilities, along with those of local community and business leaders, in promoting economic development and creating a sustainable local tax base. Specifically, this study compares two competing educational strategies, Academic Excellence and Economic Gardening. In researching how these two strategies are implemented, this study concluded that superintendents have a role as a catalyst for economic development through the development of business, education, and community partnerships.

To maintain the anonymity of the study region and the study’s participants, the region was renamed to the Olympus Mount Region of Pantheon County. Specifically, this study focused on a metropolitan area of the Olympus Mount Region in Pantheon County. Choosing this region enabled the research to focus on a community that, within a five mile radius, contained three distinct economic growth rings generated from the life cycle of the steel and other related manufacturing industries. The chosen study area demonstrated the divisions among municipalities based on their economic viability. Investigating this geographic area exclusively offered depth of insight and context to the research less feasible in a more broadly designed research project. Future researchers of education and economic development are asked to consider using data-rich region-based models for case studies where appropriate.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Prijatelj, Charles/
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMcClure, Maureenmmcclure@pitt.eduMMCCLURE
Committee MemberTananis, Cynthiatananis@pitt.eduTANANIS
Committee MemberHughes, Seanshughes@pitt.eduSHUGHES
Committee MemberKerr,
Date: 14 May 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 12 December 2012
Approval Date: 14 May 2013
Submission Date: 1 March 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 304
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Academic Excellence, Economic Gardening, Public/private partnerships, Collaboration, Workforce preparedness, Career Readiness
Date Deposited: 14 May 2013 18:38
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:10


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