As a successful principal, you have learned many important skills throughout your career. If you are interested in becoming a district administrator, you must be prepared to lead schools, programs and initiatives, as well as faculty, staff, students and entire communities.
On the district level, the CEO is the school superintendent, according to Derrick Meador, writing for ThoughtCo. “It takes an exceptional person with a unique skill set to be an effective school superintendent,” Meador says.
The Superintendent As a Business Leader
As the district CEO, the superintendent is the liaison to the board of education, keeping it informed about business and educational needs and proposed recommendations. As business leader, the superintendent has a variety of other responsibilities, including:
- Management of the finances for the district
- Oversight of daily operations, including building improvements, curriculum, policies, mandated reports, transportation, and student transfers
- Development of community relations, such as lobbying for the district, building relationships, and working with the media, other districts, and politicians.
The Superintendent As Educational Leader
A Wallace Foundation study on How Leadership Influences Student Learning examined the role of the superintendent as it relates to student learning. In the study, superintendents identified a core set of leadership functions of instructionally effective school districts. These include setting goals and standards, selecting, supervising and evaluating staff, establishing an instructional and curricular focus, and monitoring all elements of curriculum and instruction.
The study also identified three critical aspects of leadership. They are:
- Setting directions, which includes developing a shared vision and goals
- Developing people, which includes offering intellectual stimulation, providing individualized support, and providing an appropriate model
- Redesigning the organization, including strengthening district and school cultures, modifying organizational structures, and building collaborative processes.
For principals who have a desire to effect change and influence learning and student performance at a higher level, and advance in their career from school leadership to district-level administrator positions, completing a specialist program can provide a path to administrator licensure.
Becoming an Education Specialist in Educational Administration
The University of Wisconsin-Superior offers a fully online education specialist in educational administration program. It has been designed for professionals who already hold a principal’s license and a master’s degree in education from an accredited institution and want to move up to a Superintendent/District Administrator position.
This program consists of 30 credit hours and can be completed in as few as 18 months. In addition, the 100-percent-online format makes it possible for principals to continue working while earning this degree. This Ed.S. in Educational Administration program provides a convenient path to administrator licensure and is designed to increase competencies and satisfy certification requirements.
The role of Superintendent/District Administrator brings increased responsibilities and requires specialized skills and technical knowledge. In this program, you will develop the skills necessary to apply theoretical concepts relating to the ethics of your position, use applied research for making informed decision, write policies, demonstrate effective hiring practices and become proficient in educational coaching.
Courses include topics on human resources, the responsibilities of the superintendent, facilities planning, diversity and community relations, finance, professional ethics, and the politics of education. The program also includes 180 hours of administrative internship.