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The Role of Superintendents in Texas


Superintendents of school districts have the power to influence all of the teachers in their district and the educational experience of each student. Effective superintendents leave their mark on every aspect of a school district, from finance to safety to extracurricular organizations. The superintendent influences what happens in the classroom much more than people outside of the field of education would guess.

A superintendent must juggle various professional relationships, such as working with the board of trustees and dealing with concerned parents. While balancing their responsibilities, productive superintendents don't lose sight of their focused vision — the common good of the students.

Like all strong leaders, good superintendents make themselves available to the public and are receptive listeners. The turnover rate of superintendents proves that the job can be difficult. There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach for different districts.

Movements in the Field

Some academics argue that current and future superintendents should study the history of leadership, including elements that pertain to American presidents. This is a compelling idea, especially given our current political state. While political perspectives are diverse, what we can all agree on is how a person in a leadership role has a far-reaching affect, influencing the daily lives of more people than they may realize.

Other experts in the field contend that superintendents should create their own educational theory and mentor teachers in the district to create their own. This approach relates to using methods of inquiry to meet standards and help students achieve more academic success than in previous years.

Superintendent Certificate and Education in Texas

Texas, California, Illinois and Florida have the largest number of superintendent job openings in the U.S. The need for superintendents is expected to grow as much as 5 percent for these states through 2026. It is not surprising that Texas is on this list, as the state has the largest number of independent school districts of any state in the U.S.

In 2018, the Houston Chronicle reported that Texas dropped to 46th among U.S. states for fourth-grade reading, among other troubling statewide educational statistics. With the state in need of more leaders in the role of superintendent, the fully online Superintendent Certification program through the University of Texas at Arlington can help prepare qualified educators to enhance education in Texas.

Four requirements apply to those seeking to obtain a superintendent certification in Texas.

First, they must have a master's degree from a university that is accredited by an agency recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

They must also have completed a principal certificate or an equivalent issued by the Texas Education Agency, or completed the superintendent certificate application with TEA-approved managerial experience to substitute for a principal certification.

Additionally, they must complete an approved superintendent educator preparation program.

Finally, the candidate must pass an exam based on the Texas Standards Required for the Superintendent Certificate.

The Power of Leadership

Across the United States, the different socioeconomic backgrounds of students unfortunately — and unfairly — influence their level of academic achievement. In the state of Texas, in even the highest-achieving districts, half of low-income students are academically below their grade level. Many high school seniors in Texas do not score high enough on the ACT or SAT to be considered college-ready.

There is now more emphasis on working to close this achievement gap in both Texas and the country overall. A well-prepared superintendent can be an advocate for low-income students and take on the difficult issues that surround the disparity between hardship and privilege.

A superintendent's job may not be easy, but the rewards are almost limitless. 

Learn more about
UTA's Superintendent Certification Online program.


TEA: Becoming a Principal or Superintendent in Texas

Longview News-Journal: Carthage ISD honors Retiring Superintendent Glenn Hambrick

Houston Chronicle: Duties of a School Superintendent What Makes a Great Superintendent?

Stand for Children: What Does a School Superintendent Do?

Houston Chronicle: 'It's Shameful.' Lawmakers' Panel Sounds Alarm on Texas Schools

Rivard Report: School Finance Tops San Antonio Schools' Legislative Priority Lists How Can I Improve My Practice As a Superintendent of Schools and Create My Own Living Educational Theory?

ERIC: Surviving and Thriving As a Superintendent of Schools: Leadership Lessons From Modern American Presidents

AASA: Journal of Scholarship and Practice: Summer 2010/Volume 7, No. 2: Toward Excellence With Equity: An Emerging Vision for Closing the Achievement Gap

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