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The Missouri Academy For New Superintendents

The Missouri Academy
For New Superintendents

A twelve-month professional development experience

Sponsored by
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Missouri Association of School Administrators
Department of Educational Leadership and Higher Education at Saint Louis University.

Academy Purpose

To develop educational leaders who:

  • Clearly understand the role of an educational leader in a political and social democracy.
  • Demonstrate a defined set of highly effective interpersonal skills.
  • Understand and demonstrate effective communication techniques.
  • Work with their elected boards and communities in consensus building.
  • Are comfortable with a collaborative leadership style.
  • Clearly understand the planning process.
  • Understand that long-term change cannot occur with short-term leadership.
  • Are skillful and insightful in change initiation and management.
  • Understand the cultural context of their situation.
  • Can lead in an instructional environment.
  • Comprehend the importance of relationships, timing, reflection, team building and development, critical friends, and ethical leadership.

Program Description

The Missouri Academy for New Superintendents is a one year program designed to assist new superintendents in establishing a network that will promote reflection, communication, the development of interpersonal skills, and a structured program of effective mentoring. The next class of the Academy will begin meeting in November.

Academy Profile

Retreats - Three retreats will be held to focus on effective leadership. These 1 1/2 day retreats will be held in November, January, and June at locations which provide easy accessibility but are in environments that allow for reflection and collegiality. State and nationally recognized presenters will share their knowledge and expertise. At least one retreat will focus on instructional leadership and participants will be asked to include key instructional leaders from their district in this session.
Regional Roundtables - An opportunity for program participants to travel to a regional center for an informal roundtable discussion/presentation which will also include dinner. Locations will be dependent upon the geographic distribution of participants.
Mentors/Coaches - A mentor/coach will be assigned to each participant. The purpose of this component is to assist the academy member in focusing on the development and achievement of leadership goals during the course of the year. The mentor/coach will also be able to provide expertise on critical school district leadership topics such as finance, school law, etc. Mentors/coaches will be recruited and trained in cooperation with the Missouri Association of School Administrators. Face to face sessions with mentors/coaches will be held at least four times during the year while telephone or e-mail contact will be at least bi-weekly.
Electronic Network - Participants in the program will be organized into an electronic network which will enable group and individual interaction on a regular basis.


Participation in the Academy is limited to superintendents with at least one year of experience as a superintendent and no more than four years of experience.

Class Size

Each Academy class will be composed of 25 participants from throughout the state of Missouri.


A portion of the program cost will be underwritten by MASA. However, each participant’s school district will also be asked to share in the cost of the program. The school district will be asked to contribute $1500 to the cost of the training. A limited number of scholarships are available for those unable to pay the full amount.

Program Director

The Director of the Missouri Academy for New Superintendents is Dr. Sarah Booth Riss.  Dr. Riss has extensive experience as a classroom teacher, principal, central office administrator, superintendent, adjunct college professor, educational consultant and member of statewide committees focused on improving educational policy.  Sarah currently works as a facilitator for Education Equity Consultants providing social justice learning experiences and is a lobbyist assistant for MASA.  She recently retired as the superintendent for the Webster Groves School District.  Sarah has experience in both urban and suburban communities.  She is committed to fostering a learning community for superintendents that assists them in their professional growth and their success as educational leaders. 


Program Application

Missouri Academy for New Superintendents Flyer

Application Form