Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


School system organization has been described as the skeleton that outlines the structure and determines the form of a school district. (Grove, 2002). Organizational charts are the manifestations of these skeletons. Some are simple; others are more complex – more like nervous systems than skeletons. Whatever metaphor is chosen, understanding the underlying organization of the complex multiple functions of a social group such as a school district is important. Our schools are being asked to educate our children in an ever-increasingly complex and global society. Surely the organization of a school district has an impact on how students are educated and how well they achieve curricular goals. With today’s emphasis on accountability, the ability of the school district organization to help students achieve and meet testing goals is critical. But what is the best way to organize a school district? How do superintendents make the decisions needed to organize a district? This study is a necessary first step in determining this. In this study, we analyzed the organization of public school districts in the state of North Carolina. We were interested in the similarities and differences in the administrative structures driving these organizations serving children in a diverse geographical state. We addressed two questions: (1) What organizational patterns are found in public school districts in North Carolina? (2) How do organizational patterns differ in districts serving different numbers of students?