The role of a superintendent is complex. They are the face of a school district and serve as a liaison between their community and the staff in their schools. Also, they work with their school board to enact policies and adopt educational programs.
Put simply, a superintendent is the CEO of their school district. And with that comes a lot of responsibility and requires a lot of training.
Maybe you’ve been toying with the idea of becoming a superintendent in Texas. Or maybe you aren’t quite at that point yet but want to start planning your next steps. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to earn your superintendent certificate.
- Master’s Degree
- Principal certificate or equivalent, or managerial experience
- Complete an approved superintendent educator preparation program
- Pass the required TExES Superintendent (195) exam
Meet Education Requirements
The first requirement for aspiring superintendents is to hold a Master’s Degree. This can be in any discipline, but an leadership-related degree will obviously be very beneficial in your superintendent career.
Check out the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to make sure your program is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Already hold your Master’s Degree? Learn more about the Texas Superintendents’ Certification Institute– an online preparation program with a start date every few months!
Check Off Leadership Experience
Experience is critical in leading a school district. That’s why many school boards require their superintendent to have several years of school administrative experience before being considered as a candidate.
Formally, you must have a valid principal certificate or its equivalent. The certification should be issued through the Texas Education Agency (TEA) or its counterpart in other states or countries.
However, if you have proven managerial experience without an official principal certificate, you are eligible to complete the Superintendent Certificate Application from the TEA. In this application, you can describe your experience in supervising and appraising faculty and staff, conducting district-level planning, and creating/maintaining a budget.
TEA will review your application and either approve or deny your request. If approved, your approval letter may be used in place of a principal certificate.
Complete a Superintendent Preparation Program
Once you have a Master’s Degree and a principal certificate (or managerial experience), you’ll need to complete a superintendent preparation program. These programs equip an aspiring superintendent in Texas with the training, coaching, and hands-on experience they need to be a successful district leader.
There are many options when finding the right program for you. Some programs provide a Master’s Degree along with the superintendent certification. Others are designed for those who already hold a Master’s Degree. Region 13’s Texas Superintendents’ Certification Institute, for example, is a high-quality program for those already holding a Master’s Degree that prepares leaders for the superintendency.
Regardless of what program you choose, make sure it is approved and vetted by TEA.
Pass the TExES Exam
The last step towards becoming a superintendent in Texas is passing your TExES Superintendent 195 exam. Your superintendent preparation program will need to approve you to take the exam once you’re ready. You will have four hours and forty-five minutes to answer 110 selected-response questions.
The questions test you on the following standards:
- Values and ethics
- School district culture
- Human resources
- Leadership and management
- Policy and governance
- Communication and community relations
- Curriculum and instruction
- Organizational leadership
- Budget and finance
You can find study materials and more information about the test here.
After you meet the requirements above, you are ready to become a practicing superintendent in Texas! Although being a superintendent is challenging, you will have a tremendous impact on the students and families in your community.