Look at your local school district, either it works like a well-oiled machine or it putters along almost out of gas. This efficiency or inefficiency is the result of one person, the school superintendent. A school superintendent oversees the working of an entire school district. For a school district to run efficiently, a school superintendent must possess certain qualities and experience.
School superintendents hold an advanced degree from an accredited college or university. Most candidates possess a bachelor's degree in education and a master's degree in school administration. Some school districts require candidates to possess a doctoral degree. Check with the school district before applying for a job. Candidates must hold a valid superintendent certificate or license issued from the state. School districts prefer candidates with experience in public education, both in the classroom and as a supervisor or administrator.
Besides a strong educational background and experience, school superintendents should possess impeccable personal qualities. While these may not be questions on a job application, these types of questions and beliefs surface during an interview. School superintendents hold a strong belief that all students can learn, respect staff members and support teachers. They are visionaries for creating state of the art school districts, creative thinkers and understanding of cultures and beliefs. Most of all school superintendents are honest, trustworthy, transparent and committed to success.
When thinking about becoming a school superintendent, be aware that superintendents don't have three months off for summer vacation. They work a full calendar year. Another consideration is that due to the high pressure and importance of their job, superintendents often check-in or work with their office on holidays and vacations. School superintendents are the district's representative to the community. They are model citizens and maintain good public relations with the community.
School superintendents perform several duties in their position. They supervise school district employees and evaluate principals and district administrative staff. Most importantly, they operate the school district in accordance with state law and State Board of Education policies. This function is essential for the school district to maintain accreditation, offering students the best opportunities to learn. School superintendents are like the Chief Executive Officer of the school district, making recommendations and alternatives to the school board. A superintendent oversees facilities management, financial management, directs community relations efforts and staff management.
School superintendents should be adept and flexible administrators. They work with parents, the school board, educational foundations, teachers and other administrators to provide the best education for the district's students. Most school districts require the superintendent to live within the school district's boundaries. They receive typical health benefits such as medical and dental and paid time off. School superintendents do not have tenure or union protection. Often, superintendent's are given one to three year contracts, depending on the school district. The school board evaluates the superintendent's performance yearly and has the ability to terminate their contract.
- Photo Credit Photo Credit: Steve Woods
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