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AASA and Howard University to Partner on Training for Urban Superintendents

AASA, the School Superintendents Association, and Howard University in Washington will launch an urban superintendents academy this fall.

The inaugural class of the AASA/Howard University Urban Superintendents Academy will include a cohort for prospective school chiefs and another for novice superintendents and administrators who want additional training.

The initiative will join a growing number of specialized training programs that aim to help prepare school leaders to manage the complex demands of running school systems.

According to a release from the organizations, the program will offer a "range of resources to prepare (prospective superintendents) for success in the urban and increasingly diverse suburban school district."

Districts may face a shortage of qualified and willing candidates in the near future. A 2011 AASA survey found that 50 percent of working superintendents planned to retire by 2016. The retirement age for superintendents in most states is 55 and the average superintendent is 54.

The partnership between the Alexandria, Va.-based organization and the historically black college will provide: mentors, who are current and former urban superintendents; coursework options at Howard for participants interested in pursuing a doctoral degree; a center for research and discussion about urban school districts; career counseling and coaching; internships and field experiences; and national seminars and conferences.

The program's steering committee includes representatives from the Council of Urban Boards of Education, the National Superintendents Roundtable, and the Association for Latino Administrators and Supervisors.

The first session begins in August and runs through May. Online applications will be accepted from March 9 through May 11.

Other colleges, including Harvard University, have previously offered specialized training programs for aspiring urban superintendents.

As it prepares to roll out the new initiative, AASA just feted the first graduates from its 18-month superintendent training course this week.

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