Follow Us

Superintendent Certification

The Superintendent Certification program at SPU emphasizes the knowledge and skills you will need for district-level administrative assignments in the P–12 school setting, such as superintendent, deputy superintendent, associate and assistant superintendent, director, and other similar roles. The Superintendent Certificate can be earned in this stand-alone program, or with the Doctor of Education (EdD) degree — and you can now earn your EdD and superintendent certificate together in just three years.

Who Should Pursue This Program

While both the Superintendent Certification program and the School Executive Leadership program prepare educational leaders, only the Superintendent Certification program leads to a Washington administrator's certificate. Those students who hold teaching certificates should enroll in the Superintendent Certification program to be eligible for the Washington Initial Superintendent Certificate. Students who do not hold a teaching certificate should enroll in the School Executive Leadership program. 

Designed for working professionals, coursework and internships in the Superintendent Certification program are based on a convenient, two-year cohort model that allows you to attend class while continuing your work responsibilities.  


The Superintendent Certification program is based on ISLLC (Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium) standards and designed to be reflective, experiential, practical, and relevant to the profession. The program will equip you to:

  • Develop and implement a vision for learning that is supported by school and community stakeholders.
  • Sustain 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.

Professional Certification Option
A unique opportunity with this Seattle Pacific University program provides current building principals/assistant principals and program administrators to meet the requirements for the Administrative Professional Certificate through completion of the Superintendent Certification program.

One of the core themes of the Superintendent Certification program involves the development of 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 Administrative Professional Certification process. Therefore, candidates who successfully complete the Superintendent program may also meet requirements for the appropriate Administrative Professional Certificate, which also requires a portfolio presentation before a state-level panel.

Opportunity to pursue the Doctor of Education (EdD)
The Superintendent Certificate program meets the majority of the specialization requirement for SPU's Doctor of Education program.

Program Components

The Superintendent Certificate program includes coursework and an internship in a two-year cohort model.

Integrated Courses

The program's Core Curriculum includes seven integrated and standards-based courses that link your previous experiences to the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for senior level leadership positions.


Students in the Superintendent Certification program are required to complete a 360-hour field experience over two years to qualify for a Superintendent Certificate. The field-based experience blends theory and practical course applications into actual leadership experiences. These Internship experiences are guided by a designated district supervisor and overseen by SPU Educational Leadership faculty.

Leadership Seminars

To enhance collegiality, collaboration, and practitioner skills, each Friday course session is preceded by a Leadership Seminar. In these seminars, students discuss problems of practice, share insights gained from the field experience, assist in developing a Professional Growth Plan, and present key findings from integrated projects. The seminars are integral parts of the field experience.


Upon successful completion of the program you will be recommended to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for an Initial Superintendent Certificate in Washington state. Candidates are required to submit a formal application to the Certification Officer in the School of Education to be recommended for certification. Most states have reciprocal agreements which allow certificates to be transferred between states.


Courses meet three times per academic quarter (once a month) on Friday afternoon/evenings and Saturday mornings.

The Faculty

Faculty members in the Superintendent Certification program are seasoned professionals. Their cumulative experience spans a variety of educational levels and positions including building principals, assistant superintendents, and superintendents of both large and medium-size school districts. In addition, adjunct senior-level administrators (superintendent, deputy superintendent, assistant superintendent) complement the regular faculty and provide contemporary relevance to the program.

Application Requirements

Applicants must submit the following items to Graduate Admissions:

  • Application and $50 application processing fee.
  • Copy of current teaching certificate, front and back.
  • Copy of current administrator's certificate, front and back.
  • Official transcript(s) from each college/university attended.
  • Personal statement (1–2 pages).
  • Résumé.
  • Two letters of recommendation (one supervisory, one professional).
  • Site Agreement form, available in the application.

Application Deadlines

The Superintendent Certification program is designed as a cohort model. Cohorts begin each Autumn quarter.

The application deadline is August 15.

Winter quarter admission is possible under rare circumstances. Please contact the faculty chair for more information.

Gainful Employment

For more information about student graduation rates, median debt, and other important information about SPU’s Superintendent Certification program, please visit

Faculty Chair

William (Bill) Prenevost

Associate Professor of Educational Administration and Supervision; Chair of Educational Leadership

Phone: 206-281-2370
Office: Peterson Hall 413


SPU Offers a New Three-Year EdD/Superintendent Certificate Option

You can now earn your EdD and superintendent certification at SPU in just three years — instead of the typical four to five years. The new option combines best leadership practices with effective use of educational policy and research.

Graduate Admissions

Grad Icon Your source for information on all SPU graduate programs, as well as admissions and events.