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School Executive Leadership and Superintendent Certificate


Executive Leadership and Superintendent Certification
Time Schedule
Course Descriptions
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Superintendent Certification

Peterson Hall

The Superintendent Certification program emphasizes the knowledge and skills appropriate to district-level administrative assignments in the P–12 setting such as superintendent, assistant superintendent, deputy superintendent, directors, and other similar roles, and leads to Washington state certification.


The Superintendent program is based on the National Policy Board for Education Administration (ISSLC) standards and, as a result, those completing the program should be able to:

  • Develop and implement a vision for learning that is supported by school and community stakeholders.
  • Ensure there is a culture that sustains a coherent professional development and instructional program conducive to student learning.
  • Effectively manage the organization and resources for a safe and effective learning environment.
  • Collaborate with families and community members to mobilize resources in responding to diverse community interests and needs.
  • Act with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical manner.
  • Understand and appropriately respond to the political, social, and cultural dynamics of a school district.

When you possess the necessary prerequisite certificates and successfully complete this program, you will qualify for the Washington state Initial School Superintendent's Certificate.


The program consists of a sequence of a core of six 3-credit courses offered over a two-year period, three 1-credit professional growth planning seminars conducted over two years, and an Internship consisting of at least 360 hours of field experience for the Superintendent Certificate.

Core classes meet three times per quarter in a Friday-afternoon/Saturday-morning format. Readings and case studies are assigned in advance to maximize the amount of time for discussion, dialogue, and reflection.

This program has several key components:

  • Team Building. You go through the six-course sequence and three seminars as a cohort. Monthly meetings with these same individuals also provide opportunities for networking and team building.
  • Weekend Coursework. Classes meet three times per quarter, Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon. Monthly sessions include (1) review of in-district internship work; (2) discussion of case studies; and (3) best-practice presentations by current practitioners. You are involved in selecting topics and planning the activities.
  • Field Experience. Field experience is an integral part of the coursework and takes place over the same two-year period as the coursework. The goal of the superintendency internship is to develop the hands-on experience and skill needed to increase student learning through district-level leadership. The major focus of the internship is a meaningful, district- or school-level project that will contribute to making a difference in improving the district/school as well as address the portfolio criteria for the internship. In addition, shadowing, teamwork, and reflection are part of the internship process.
  • Professional Certification Option. A unique feature this program is to allow current building principals/assistant principals and program administrators the opportunity to meet the requirement of the Administrator Professional Certificate through completion of the executive leadership program.

One of the core themes of the Superintendent Certification program is to develop an understanding of self as a leader who is focused on student learning. In part, this is obtained through the reflective dialogue of the seminars, completion of the Pole 360 feedback instrument and the development of a professional growth plan. This theme mirrors the requirements of the professional certification process.

Therefore, when you successfully complete the Superintendent Certification program, you may also meet the requirement for the appropriate Administrator Professional Certificate (the additional requirement of a portfolio presentation before a state level panel must also be met).


The Superintendent Certification program fulfills in part the specialization requirement for the Doctor of Education Degree (EdD) at Seattle Pacific University.


Students must be continuously enrolled in required SPU courses to earn a graduate degree or certificate or until the student is officially withdrawn from the program.

Exceptions to continuous enrollment must be approved by the program chair (

A student who decides to no longer actively pursue a graduate degree or certificate may officially withdraw from the program and the university by notifying the program chair ( and the graduate programs manager (

A student may be granted a leave of absence for up to four quarters by the program chair. Once the leave of absence has expired, the student will either enroll in graduate coursework or be dropped from the program.

The university office of Student Academic Services (SAS) requires continuous enrollment to remain admitted in a graduate program. After four quarters of non- enrollment, students will be placed in “inactive status” and will need to reapply for admission.


To apply, submit the following items to The Graduate Center to be considered for admissions:

  • An online graduate application.
  • A $50 processing fee. Make checks payable to "Seattle Pacific University."
  • Official transcripts from all institutions where a degree was conferred or where post-master's graduate coursework was completed. (To maintain their official status, transcripts must remain sealed in their original envelopes.) Each candidate for the school superintendent's certification program must have completed a master's, doctorate, or other advanced degree.
  • A copy of your most recently earned professional teacher, ESA, principal, or program administrator certificate. Proof of three years experience as a school administrator.
  • Two letters of recommendation. These must represent a current assessment of the applicant's qualifications. It is preferred that one recommendation be from the applicant's supervisor. The other may be from an instructor, another supervisor, pastor, or a colleague. Recommendations must remain sealed in their original envelopes.
  • An approved Site Agreement signed by the superintendent of the applicant's district, indicating that the district will work with him or her to make an internship experience possible. (If no internship site is available, the applicant should include a note to this effect with the application.)

Exceptions to the above requirements should be approved through the program chair, Dr. William Prenevost (, before application materials are submitted.


The Superintendent Certification program is set up on a cohort format, with coursework beginning Autumn Quarter.

  • About 15 applicants are admitted each year. Candidates are admitted as application materials are completed and reviewed.
  • You may begin the program in that fall of the academic year and complete the program in a cohort model.


Ted Hiemstra
Associate Director of Graduate Admissions

Seattle Pacific University
3307 Third Avenue West, Suite 111
Seattle, WA 98119-1922

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