How To Become A School Superintendent
Career Video: School Superintendent
Do you enjoy the education system? Have you spent years as a teacher, and are now thinking about your next step? Are you knowledgeable about schools and their operations? Are you an effective leader? Are you a good listener and do you implement the ideas that others give you? Are you able to juggle several different responsibilities at once? Do you enjoy helping others learn and implementing the changes to make a better school system? If you said yes to these questions, you may want to consider a career as a school superintendent.
A school superintendent is the person responsible for operating all of the schools within their school district. They are the most highly-ranked position within their school system.
A school superintendent is responsible for overseeing all of the operations within a school system. Some of their duties include implementing policies and curriculum, supervising principals of each school, managing all of the teachers and staff members, hiring and firing teachers, developing goals and objectives for the school district, setting the vision and mission statement for the school district and an action plan, creating budgets, negotiating salaries and pay raises, implementing school renovations and more. These are just a handful of the tasks a superintendent is responsible for.
This career requires a lot of training, experience and education. A school superintendent starts this career by becoming a teacher. After years of experience in the education system, a teacher may finally decide they want to become a principal, and then finally a school superintendent.
Why Become A School Superintendent
A school superintendent is responsible for overseeing the entire school system in which they work. They are the leader of their school district, and people come to them to solve many problems. If you are interested in advancing your career in education to the next level, a career as a school superintendent may be perfect for you.
This is a position in which you will have many different responsibilities. It is an extremely challenging career, where you will be asked to solve many problems on a daily basis. You will be the leader of your school district; thousands of people will be counting on you to help implement changes that will promote a great education to the children in your schools.
This is a great position for those who are looking to advance in the field of education. This is a career for those who want a job that is full of daily challenges, but is also rewarding, knowing that you are responsible for the education of the students in your district.
A school superintendent must possess the following qualities and skills:
- Leadership Skills
- Good Communicator
- Active Listener
School Superintendent Work Environment
A school superintendent works for the school district they are assigned to. School districts vary widely. Some school districts only serve a few thousand students, while some serve hundreds of thousands of students. A superintendent is typically in several meetings during the day, during which they are meeting with different stakeholders within the school district: principals, teachers, members of the board of trustees, media reporters, and possibly even parents. There is a significant amount of travel required for this position.
Being a school superintendent is a career in which one can be expected to work more than 40 hours per week. School superintendents work long hours, including early mornings and late nights.
School Superintendent Salary
School superintendent salaries will vary according to the school district in which a person works, because each school district receives state funding that determines the salaries of employees.
A school superintendent could expect to make a median salary of $113,000 annually in 2015.
School Superintendent Career Outlook
According to the United States Bureau for Labor Statistics, employment growth is expected to be six percent from 2014 to 2024, which is average for other career fields in the country.
Employment opportunities for school superintendents are dependent on state and local budgets. If a local school district decides to consolidate with another, there may be fewer positions available. On the other hand, the high amounts of stress involved with this career typically lead to turnover, which results in more positions being available.
School Superintendent Degree
A school superintendent is a career that involves both experience and education. A superintendent starts off as a teacher, then works their way through the ranks of the school system to eventually lead the district.
Step One: Undergraduate Education All states require that teachers have an undergraduate education. Decide in college which area you would like to major in. For those who want to teach at a high school level, it may be expected for you to major in the subject area you will be teaching in (i.e. major in history if you want to be a history teacher). For elementary teachers, many states do not require majoring in a particular content area.
Step Two: Become Certified to Teach Complete your student teaching experiences. Become certified to teach in the grade level and the particular subject area that you went to school for. After several years of teaching, you may decide that you have a passion for it, but that it is time to make a career change and move on to higher positions, such as superintendent.
Step Three: Receive Your Doctorate A PhD in Education Administration is required to become a superintendent. During this program you will study principals of educational leadership and learn what it takes to operate a school system. You will complete a practicum portion of the course, which involves studying the leadership of another school principal or superintendent. A graduate course will involve research opportunities.
Step Four: Principal You must have experience working as both a principal of a school and a teacher. These years of experience will give you insight into all of the different aspects of the education system. After you have worked your way of these different levels of leadership and are still passionate about education, you will now have the education and experience necessary to become a school superintendent.