Missouri Superintendents Academy: Overview and Application
For Superintendents Starting Year 2, 3, or 4
The Missouri Superintendents Academy is a joint project of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Missouri Association of School Administrators and the Department of Educational Leadership and Higher Education at Saint Louis University. The Academy is a one-year program designed to assist superintendents in their second through fourth years in establishing a network that will promote reflection, communication, development of interpersonal skills, and enhancement of leadership abilities.
To develop educational leaders who:
- Clearly understand the role of the superintendent 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.
The Director of the Missouri Superintendents Academy 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 for MASA as the Director of the Superintendents Academy, facilitator of the Women in Leadership Initiative, and as a facilitator and developer of leadership programs. Sarah is the retired 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.
Three one and a half day retreats will be held to focus on effective leadership. State and nationally recognized leaders will share their knowledge and expertise. Dates for this year’s Academy are October 27-28, February 23-24, and April 27-28 in Jefferson City.
A mentor/coach will be assigned to each participant as requested. 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.
Participation in the academy is limited to superintendents with at least one year of experience and about to begin your second, third or fourth year of the superintendency or are new to Missouri.
A portion of the program costs 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 $1,500 to the cost of the training. The district contribution covers all costs including lodging, meals and materials. A limited number of scholarships are available for those unable to pay the full amount.
Below are a few statements from previous Academy participants describing their experience.
- I really enjoy this and am sad knowing it is coming to an end.
- Great stuff! Best conference/event related to mentoring I’ve had.
- The best PD I’ve had in my entire administrative career.
- Thank you for this opportunity!
- Excellent job!
- This was a terrific experience!
- Thank you for two days of learning, growth, and good conversation.
- This is the best PD experience I’ve had as a superintendent. Sarah Riss is a phenomenal planner, leader, and contributors.
- I expected the day to be good, but this exceeded my expectations. Great chance to network and build relationships.
- The best PD I’ve been to.
- I enjoyed the sessions! The presentations were thought provoking and the conversations with my colleagues were helpful as well. A good start to the Academy. I always look for opportunities to understand finance in a deeper way. Thank you.
- I was not sure about taking two days out of my district to attend, I am very glad I did. I really needed this and want to thank you for putting it together.
- Sarah, I appreciate you keeping us on time. You communicate effectively, and I thank you for that! I think it would be great to have you facilitate some conversation. You are thoughtful in your approach and I think an “in-basket” activity could be helpful to learn from each other.
- Another area that I truly enjoyed about the academy was the opportunity to network with other superintendents.
- Excellent presentations! I especially found great take-aways from school finance, community relations, and school board relationship. Thank you so much!
- I thought everything went well. I enjoyed it and it gave me a lot to think about.
- Very beneficial!
- Thoroughly enjoyed the meeting. Educational and great opportunity to network.
- This has been a great opportunity!