New Jersey Network of Superintendents Documentation (2008 ­ present)

NCREST helps to design and document the development of the New Jersey Network of Superintendents (NJNS). By supporting the development of the superintendents’ understanding of and focus on the instructional core, the NJNS seeks to foster system- wide changes in the superintendents’ districts, and, ultimately, contribute to improvements in student achievement for all students, particularly students of color and students living in disadvantaged communities. To accomplish this goal, since the fall of 2008, NJNS has been bringing together a group of superintendents in a series of monthly activities designed to help superintendents develop their understanding of instruction and the instructional core (the interrelationship of teachers, students, and content). These activities include instructional rounds in participating districts every other month. Other activities include equity audits (or “red zone” analyses) and consultancies.

The NCREST documentation team seeks to help assess the Network’s progress and inform the evolution of the Network’s theory of action by addressing three key questions:
  • How is the community of practice developing?
  • What are the superintendents learning?
  • How is network participation affecting superintendents’ work in their districts?

About the partner organization
The NJNS grew out of conversations between the members of the Panasonic Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and other members of the New Jersey foundation community. Panasonic’s Executive Director, Larry Leverett, and its Assistant Executive Director, Scott Thompson, lead the design team of the NJNS.

Key activities
The NCREST documentation team carries out a series of data collection activities based on several key assumptions:
  • The documentation should inform the development of the network.
  • The documentation should identify key ideas and lessons that can facilitate the expansion of the network and/or the development of related networks in other contexts.
  • The documentation should yield products and/or publications that can share the lessons from the network with a wider audience including members of foundations, research and reform support organizations, policymakers, and district administrators.
Data collection activities include:
  • Documentation of design team and network meeting
  • Annual one-on-one interviews with the superintendents
  • Annual end-of-the-year on-line superintendent surveys
  • Social network surveys of the relationships among administrators in selected districts


Hatch, T. & Roegman, R. (2012).  Out of isolation:  Superintendents band together to improve instruction and equity in their districts. JSD33 (6), 37-41.

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