Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Pamela Angelle

Committee Members

Pamela Angelle, Patrick Biddix, Davie Folz, James McIntyre


Historically, local boards of education have been viewed as community stewards who are responsible for providing local children with a quality education that reflects the values and mores of the locality in which they serve (Rice, 2014). However, in recent years, many states have significantly expanded their roles in public education. Quite often, this expansion results in an erosion of local control. For instance, in 2019, the State of Florida, which presently has a mix of elected and appointed school superintendents, considered a state constitutional amendment which would have moved the state to a wholly appointed school superintendent model. In that same year, a Bill was vetted by members of the Tennessee Legislature’s Education Administration & Planning Committee, that proposed to require the election (rather than the appointment) of school superintendents in Tennessee. Neither the Florida nor the Tennessee Legislatures consulted with county school board members in their respective states when debating legislation that directly affected local power and authority.

The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the perceptions of county school board members in Tennessee and Florida concerning the influence state legislators and state Board of Education members have on the role and power of local boards of education. This study is based upon the most recent study conducted in Tennessee by Morgan (2003), which explored the State’s shift from elected to appointed school superintendents. In 1992, the Tennessee Legislature adopted the Education Improvement Act (EIA), that moved the state to a wholly appointive school superintendent process. The context of that original study was limited to school districts in Tennessee and focused on the perceptions of school superintendents relative to the superintendent selection process. As an extension to the original study, this researcher expanded the research to include the State of Florida and focused on the perceptions of school board members (as compared to school superintendents), in both states. Further, this researcher also modified the original study to include the perceptions of school board members beyond the superintendent selection process by exploring the perceived effects of the expanding role of the state in local education policies and practices. Like the Morgan Study, this investigation followed a quantitative design.

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