The superintendent’s role is one that many educators clamor for, and many wish to keep a wide berth from; it is the ultimate position within an educational system.
No one becomes superintendent by accident; it is usually the end result of a long and faithful education career.
Some superintendents start as teachers; others step right into an administrative role, but they have put their time and dedication into the school system no matter the path.
To become a superintendent, a master’s degree is required, and more often than not, the person holds a doctoral degree.
A superintendent needs to understand the insides of how their district runs, be connected to the teachers, families, and children, and act as a liaison to and with the school board.
Resume objective for a superintendent
An individual typically makes their way to the role of superintendent after serving as a principal. The standard is that to become a superintendent, you will have 2-5 years of administrative experience in a school.
When writing your objective, aim to recognize any accomplishments you helped bring about, such as increased test scores, an uptick in graduation rates, or in current times and successful integration of virtual and/or in-person schooling.
A superintendent is hired by the districts by the board of education. Once hired, the two are responsible for working together to make the best decisions for the district.
These decisions include budget issues, overseeing principals, analyzing data related to school performance, and evaluating, designing, and altering curriculum and access to learning materials.
Of course, there are many more day-to-day tasks a superintendent is involved in, but their overall job performance will be evaluated on the success of the students and schools within their district.
Professional educator with 15 years of school administration experience seeking a position as the superintendent of Jefferson County Schools. Served as Principal at Washington High School for the past eight years and improved test scores in math and English by 12.4%. During my time, the graduation rate increased from 89.7% to 93.4%.
Resume skills for superintendent
Where do we even begin with the skills needed for a successful superintendent? According to Teacher.org, the list is extensive.
They list that superintendents need to work both with the school board and work in support of the teachers, parents, and students at the same time.
They need to be skilled in budgeting and allocating funds, possess excellent communication skills, be comfortable speaking in public, and have keen coordination skills to observe, recommend, and implement plans.
But beyond that, most superintendent resumes do not have a skills section like a typical resume; instead, they list their accomplishments.
After reading through several actual resumes for school and state superintendents, one factor I noticed repeatedly was individuals pointing out their experience with diverse populations and support programs.
Diverse populations could relate to socio-economic, racial, cultural, and differently-abled students.
Other accomplishments noted included implementing successful STEM programs, Music & Arts programs, increased scores, graduation rates, the inclusion of college-level classes, teacher support programs, and more.
- Implemented 1:1 computer program to assist learners with virtual learning
- Students passed AP exams increased from 35% to 67%
- Sent 16 musicians to All-State Band
- Won state Hockey Championship 3 years in a row
- Successfully raised funds to build two state-of-the-art performance halls for Washington County Performing Arts High School and Bates Performing Arts Magnet Middle School
Superintendent work experience
By the time an individual is experienced enough to apply for a superintendent position, they will most likely have a long and varied history in education.
Most individuals start as teachers and work their way through the education system.
Some individuals may switch districts throughout their tenure as an educator, even working as a superintendent for one district before transferring to a larger or more prominent one.
The unifying work experience will be that everyone applying for a superintendent position will have school administration experience.
This article’s premise is to focus on the role of a school district superintendent, not the state-wide position; Although, if your state is one of the eighteen that allow appointment by the state school board, then these resume tips could prove beneficial.
Per Ballotpedia.com, 13 states hold elections for superintendent, 17 who appoint via governor, and the school board appoints in 18 states.
When applying for a superintendent position, list ALL your education experience; this is one instance where more is definitely more.
Sample Work Experience
Washington County School for the Performing Arts
Promoted a high level of excellence and achievement among students and staff. Hosted the All-State Choral and All-State Band competitions. Increased student math scores by 17% and worked with Washington County Community College to offer a wide selection of college-level courses to our students.
- Increased the graduation rate from 92% to 99%
- Winner of State-Wide One-Act Competition 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018
- Provided access to advance training to teachers on anti-bullying, LQGBT, and inclusive education
- Worked in collaboration with area principals to host a multi-country music and arts festival
Millersville High School
Music Teacher & Orchestral Leader, 2000-2012
Instructed students in orchestral instruments, teaching private lessons, and leading the school orchestra. Taught high school and AP, level classes on music history, music theory, and world music. Won the National Association for Music Teachers (NAfMe) Music Educator award in 2006.
- Increased the music program from a 45 member orchestra to a 100 member orchestra
- Had students qualify 10 out of 12 years for All-State Orchestra
- Designed, fund-raised for and implemented an annual world music festival from 2008-2012
- Led students on European Concert tours in 2004, 2008, and 2012
T.H. White Middle School
Music Education, 1996-2000
I instructed middle school students in music education classes, concert band, and orchestra. Recommended students to audition for the county and state competitions. I was a finalist in the National Association for Music Teachers (NAfMe) Music Educator award in 1998 & 2000.
- Instructed students in music history and music theory
- Taught band and orchestral instruments and lead ensembles
- Fostered independence in self-motivation tactics in students
- Planned and lead twice-annual concert band and orchestral concerts
Becoming a superintendent requires an advanced degree. The minimum degree level you will need is a master’s, and it should be in a field such as education leadership, education policy, higher education, teaching, learning, etc.
If you do not have a master’s degree in education leadership, you will want to either seek one out or attend a doctoral program.
According to Brandmann University, most competitive districts will not consider you as a candidate without a doctoral degree.
University of Pennsylvania
Doctorate in Education Leadership Ed.D, 2006-2010
Lebanon Valley College
Master of Music Education, 1998-2001
Lebanon Valley College
Bachelor of Science Music Education, 1992-1996
After you have obtained your master’s or doctoral degree, you will need to apply for licensure as a superintendent. Each state has its own guidelines.
You may or may not need to include that information on your resume, and where you may place it could vary. It will likely be assumed if you are applying for the position that you have passed your certification.
It is recommended you head to your state education department’s webpage to obtain the most accurate information.
- State of Pennsylvania Superintendent Certification
- State of Pennsylvania Principal Certification
Awards & Recognitions
Individuals who are seeking a superintendent role should include a special section on their resume for awards and recognitions.
These will primarily be adulations you received during your time in a leadership position as you will likely list any teaching awards in your work history section.
These are also different from the achievements you accomplished as an educator or administrator.
After reading through several resumes from individuals seeking a superintendent post, this is also the section where you should list any published works.
Sample Awards & Recognitions
- PASA Leadership in Education 2018
- PSBA Innovative School Leader Award 2014
Complete superintendent resume sample
Now that we have gone through the information that should be included on a superintendent resume, we will look at an actual job posting.
This a current job posting for the State Superintendent for Washington, D.C., as no recent posting for a district superintendent was available; it covers many of the same qualifications and expectations.
This job posting is exceptionally in-depth, as you would expect a position of this level to be.
Key factors to look at for this posting include the length of administration experience, education level and related field, and an understanding of education laws,
I am an educational professional with over fifteen years in education administration; in the last ten years, I served as the Superintendent of Frederick County Schools in Maryland. During my time, I expanded the public pre-k program to include 85% of elementary schools and increased K-3 reading skills by 29%. I worked with school principals to initiate anti-bullying and diversity awareness among middle and high school programs.
- Completed a $450,000 fundraising campaign to update the gym and cafeterias at two Federeick district high schools
- Updated technology throughout the district, ensuring reliable wifi in all middle schools and high schools and an increase to 75% of the elementary schools
- Increased Blue Ribbon Schools in the district from 4 schools to 12 schools
- Increased parent satisfaction throughout the district based on parent survey responses; results showed an increase from 56% satisfaction to 82% satisfaction
Frederick County Schools, Maryland
Oversaw the day-to-day running of the county’s schools. Quickly implemented a virtual learning program in the spring of 2020 and worked with educators and the school board to implement a hybrid schooling system for the fall of 2020. Throughout my tenure, I dedicated my work to improving school facilities, access to equipment, and providing a quality education for every child.
- Increased Advanced Placement courses from five courses to fourteen courses
- Increased district-wide math scores by 25%
- Increased graduation rates from 85% to 92% district-wide
- Instituted a STEM-focused elective program in the middle schools
Middletown High, Frederick Maryland
Prepared the school’s annual budget in consultation with the finance officer and established benchmarks for spending. Conducted periodic meetings with parents and school teachers to encourage close collaboration among educational stakeholders to improve students’ performance.
- Expanded the music and theater program through fundraising and budgeting
- County-Wide Softball champions 2006, 2008 and 2009
- Re-evaluated curriculum to assess gaps in learning and make required changes
- Authored and administered the building’s school operational policies and procedures
Annapolis High School, Annapolis Maryland
American History Teacher, 1998-2005
Instructed students in American History, Economics, and Civics classes. Recipient of the Maryland Teacher of the Year Award 2005 and Outstanding History Teacher in 2003. Lead the debate club and taught evening elective public speaking courses for students and community members.
- Engaged students in learning with hands-on interactions with materials and visuals
- Successfully lead debate team to two state championships
- Lead and organized annual field trips to Gettysburg, PA and Williamsburg, VA
- Part of a teaching team that increased student enrollment in elective history classes by 47%
- Maryland Superintendent Certification
- Maryland Principal/Administration Certification
- Maryland Teaching Certification
Awards & Recognitions
- PASA Leadership in Education 2019
- PSBA Innovative School Leader Award 2017
Doctor of Philosophy in Education, 2000-2004
University of Maryland
Master of Education Curriculum and Instruction, 1995-1998
University of Lynchburg
Bachelor of Arts History, 1994-1998
- Minor in Political Science
The school superintendent’s role is more demanding, more skilled, and more involved than almost any other education career. Still, it can also be gratifying both for the individual and the students.
A resume for a superintendent will likely be much longer and in-depth than we have the space for here due to the vast amount of education, work history, recognitions, and community experience an applicant will have.
Our goal was to provide you with a sampling of what would be included as well as formatting. The one-page resume rule does not apply to the position of superintendent.
It is recommended to include as many accolades and as much experience you have that is applicable.
- A master’s degree is needed; a Ph.D. is preferred
- Superintendent resumes may include sections such as achievements, awards, volunteer work, community work, and recognitions
- Experience in administration is needed to obtain a superintdendent position
Tips from Experts
“We are successful because of the great people we have. I am just one cog in the wheel. It also takes having a laser-like focus and clearly aligned expectations.” – Dr. Laura Schwalm, Superintendent of the Garden Grove Unified School District in Orange County, California
“A great superintendent has to have a real passion for the job. He’s the one who sets the tone. Whatever the superintendent neglects, that sends a message that it’s not a priority. The superintendent has to be the conscience of the district. He has to be willing to make tough decisions and work with the diverse political forces – parent groups, unions, the community, and make them all work to be part of the solution.” – Dr. Frank Till, Superintendent of the Broward County Public Schools in Florida
“It’s a lot easier to take something apart than to put it together again. . . . Yeah, take it (the school system) apart, but only when you have some notion of how you’re going to put it back together again.” -Spence Korte, Former Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools
If you have reached the point in your education career where you are ready to seek a superintendent position, you have certainly proven your dedication to the education system.
Take your time to carefully craft a detailed resume highlighting every aspect of your work as an educator and the steps you have taken to improve students’ lives and the community as a whole.
It may take time to get to this point in your career, but once you do, you will be in a place to continue your beneficial work for children and teens and to make a difference.