This article details the nature of superintendents’ agency/influence over school development within their districts under current conditions
of educational reform. The research draws upon interview data with five superintendents from a Swedish-speaking minority region in
Finland and analyzes their understandings of their work in light of theorizing of agency and social practice and workplace learning. The
research reveals superintendents’ capacity to ‘evidence’ their agency, including through detailed accounts of how they have sought to
enhance school development. However, we also reveal that such ‘evidencing’ was often characterized by considerable concern about
the morality and ethics of their practice – praxis – within their districts. We refer to such morally informed concerns as an ‘ethics of agency’.
This work was undertaken via very particular practices, involving specific discussions (‘sayings’), actions (‘doings’), and interactions (‘relatings’).
The research reveals that even as superintendents’ feel constrained by the conditions within which they work, they do so in
ways that give hope for the cultivation of alternative conditions for practice. Further inquiry is needed into the nature of the specific
conditions and particular practices essential for fostering enhanced agency, especially an ‘ethics of agency,’ on the part of superintendents
and educational practitioners more broadly.