You've more than likely heard of school Superintendents, but do you know what that means? What does a Superintendent do? What are the requirements for becoming one? Does a Superintendent need a graduate or post-graduate degree? We'll be taking an in-depth look at this important career, what its responsibilities include, and what it takes to obtain Superintendent positions.
What is a Superintendent and what do they do?
You should think of a school Superintendent as the "top executive in the school district", as pointed out by STAND for Children. They are the go-between in regards to everything involving the school. They implement the district's vision as a whole by making most day-to-day decisions. These "CEOS" of the school district make decisions about spending, staff, facilities, and educational programs in their district. They also do the hiring, firing, and supervising of principals and staff.
Superintendents are also the face of the school district. They are responsible for responding to the demands of everyone involved in the district, including students, teachers, parents, and the entire community as a whole. Overseeing education standards, student achievement, budget plans, and resources allocation are all responsibilities of the Superintendent.
In general, Superintendents must be extremely familiar with current trends, educational policy, and reform. These people must be many things in one: a leader, manager, and supervisor. Unlike teachers in the district that tend to be tenured, a Superintendent is usually hired as a contractual worker, for a specific amount of time. Their time is usually spent at a district's central office, attending meetings and meeting with various members of the school community.
What are the Education Requirements for Becoming a Superintendent?
As each school district is different, requirements for potential Superintendents may vary. Usually it is expected that a Superintendent has obtained a master's degree, at the very least. Some more prestigious or larger schools may require a higher degree however, like a PhD. Most Superintendents have master's degrees in education, education administration, or other related fields.
According to Teacher.org, some states may require that Superintendents to hold a "certain certificate in a specified area such as leadership and/or administration. In addition, some states require a potential Superintendent to pass exams as specified at that state level."
Another requirement for a Superintendent is experience. Some districts require that you have a certain amount of administrative experience as a school administrator or principal. This usually means that most Superintendents have completed a teaching degree, have had years of teaching experience, and have held higher positions within the school district.
As far as other requirements, they are not always cut and dry. As stated before, each school district is different on their requirements. There are however a few traits that Superintendents must possess. Superintendents must be effective communicators, great listeners, good managers, excellent instructional leaders, and very flexible. They must also have an above-average commitment to the school district and have an extremely clear vision for their district.
While there is usually only one Superintendent per school district, making the job market fairly low, Superintendents are an extremely imperative part of the education system. Superintendents are the leaders and spokespersons for the district, making important decisions and setting invaluable standards. The requirements to become a Superintendent may be extreme, but what is required of them mandates these high requirements.