What Is a Superintendent Academy?

E. Reeder

A superintendent academy is an intensive, short-term training program that can help aspiring or existing superintendents learn how to effectively lead school districts. These academies may be offered by colleges and universities or by organizations dedicated to educational administration and supervision. Depending on the way in which they are offered and the requirements of the program, they may lead to certification and licensure as a superintendent. Many of these programs offer their students help in securing jobs and provide them with a network of superintendents and superintendent-hopefuls who can offer support once they are on the job.

Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

Some superintendent academy programs are geared toward people who already are educators, usually those in educational administration positions such as principal or program director. By studying at a superintendent academy, they can enhance the educational leadership skills they already have so they leave the program ready to lead a school system. Their prior experience in education and their new knowledge about the superintendency should prepare them to be leaders who quickly can begin to implement effective interventions.

Another type of superintendent academy is intended for established business and community leaders who have experienced success in improving or expanding their organization. They may have turned a failing business into a profitable one or have experience implementing successful programs through a community service organization. The members of a program such as this would need to learn about teaching and education from the classroom, school and school system perspective so they could use their leadership skills to implement effective change. They might learn about the use of statistics and student data for analysis and implementation of strategies to improve scores and educational theory as well as reviewing case studies of schools and school systems that have improved drastically through focused interventions.

One broad and fairly consistent goal for a superintendent academy is that it gives the people who graduate from it the skills and knowledge to take a low-performing school district and help it improve. Though this isn’t always the case, helping struggling school systems often is the reason for the creation of these academies. Once they are superintendents, the graduates of these programs may have to set goals for their school systems, such as improving standardized test scores, lowering the dropout rate, lowering the student suspension rate, increasing teacher retention, and helping students learn to read on or above grade level.

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