School Superintendent Job Description
A School Superintendent oversees the operations of schools within a school district. The areas in which School Superintendents are involved include budget development and management, student achievement evaluation, teacher hiring and firing, instructional program review and facility management. School Superintendents basically ensure that educational standards are being met and district goals are met in each institution.
School Superintendents mainly work for public school systems and are typically hired by school boards. They work closely with principals at each school to create and implement policies and divide resources among all schools within their district. The School Superintendent meets with the school board on a regular basis to report on concerns and issues and to review budget considerations. School Superintendents are also involved in the decision-making process for discontinuing school programs and shutting down schools and reassigning students to new locations.
School Superintendent Duties and Responsibilities
To fulfill all of the duties required by this position, School Superintendents must complete various tasks. We have reviewed several job listings and found the following among the core School Superintendent duties and responsibilities.
Make Decisions About Programs
It is up to School Superintendents to review and decide about the adoption of curricula within each school and the district as a whole. They must ensure that curricula meets educational standards established by the state. School Superintendents also make decisions about which educational and extracurricular programs can be continued or should be discontinued within the district’s schools.
Oversee School Budgets
The School Superintendent works with the school board to create and implement a budget for the district. Factors they will consider when developing budgets include staff salaries and training, curriculum development, library and computer resources, instructional materials, extracurricular activities and food and transportation services.
Assess Student Performance and Achievement
To ensure that all schools are meeting goals established by the state and school board, School Superintendents regularly evaluate student achievement. This would include reviewing test scores, grades and attendance to determine if students are satisfying standards and that teachers are successfully implementing curricula and policies.
School Superintendents manage school staff, which includes principals, assistant principals, teachers and teacher assistants. They are essentially involved in selecting new hires, interviewing potential employees and terminating staff if needed.
School Superintendent Skills
School Superintendents should be detail-oriented leaders who possess strong communication, decision-making, organizational and problem-solving skills. They should have the ability to share a vision with a team and guide them toward achieving specific goals. As effective leaders, they should also have strong listening skills and be willing to weigh the input of various individuals, such as assistant superintendents, principals, teachers, community leaders and parents. In addition to these general skills, a School Superintendent could be expected by potential employers to possess the following skills.
Core skills: Based on sources we referred to, employers want School Superintendents with these core skills. If you want to work as a School Superintendent, focus on the following.
- Assessing student and teacher performance
- Evaluating curricula and educational programs
- Creating and implementing operational budgets
- Reviewing and revising academic policies
- Understanding state educational standards
- Preparing agenda for school board meetings
Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple sources included them as preferred. Add these to your School Superintendent toolbox and broaden your career options.
- Knowledge of educational technology
- Possess strong computer skills, particularly in the areas of databases, spreadsheets and word processing
School Superintendent Resources
It is beneficial to research additional information if you are considering a career as a School Superintendent that can give you insight into the challenges and responsibilities of this position. Below, we have provided links to online and print resources about this career.
On the Web
Stafford County Public Schools Superintendent Blog – Offering personal insight into the daily role of a School Superintendent, this blog provides articles covering a wide range of subjects, from problem solving strategies to interacting with students.
Superintendent’s Office DPS109 – A blog written by an actual School Superintendent, focusing on leadership and innovation strategies.
AASA, The School Superintendents Association – Established 150 years ago, AASA offers professional development opportunities, learning programs, publications, conferences and summits for School Superintendents.
Urban Superintendent’s Association of America (USAA) – An organization providing networking and support for School Superintendents in urban areas. It focuses on professional development through academic programs and a national conference.
The School Superintendent: Theory, Practice, and Cases 2nd Edition – An extensive look at the career of a School Superintendent, covering responsibilities, current practices, issues faced by School Superintendents and how this position has evolved over the years.
The Challenges of School District Leadership – This book details the demands and challenges that School Superintendents encounter when overseeing a school district.
Leverage Leadership: A Practical Guide to Building Exceptional Schools 1st Edition – A book/DVD combination that covers effective leadership principles that School Superintendents can apply to their profession.
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