The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a school district is the superintendent of schools. The superintendent is essentially the face of the district. They are most responsible for the successes of a district and most assuredly be responsible when there are failures. The role of a superintendent of schools is broad. It can be rewarding, but the decisions they make can also be especially difficult and taxing. It takes a exceptional person with a unique skill set to be an effective superintendent of schools. To hire a superintendent for the district is one f the primary duties of the board of education. The board of education and the superintendent should become partners once the superintendent is in place. The board of education provides oversight for the superintendent while he superintendent is the CEO of the district. The superintendent is responsible for keeping the board informed of events and happenings in the district and also making recommendations about daily operations for the district. The board of education may ask for more information, but in most cases a good board will accept the superintendent’s recommendations. The board of education is also directly responsible for evaluating the superintendent and thus can terminate the superintendent should they believe they are not doing their job.

The role of a superintendent

The superintendent is also responsible for preparing the agenda for board meetings. The superintendent does sit in on all board meetings to make recommendations, but is not allowed to vote on any of the issues. It is the duty of the superintendent to carry out that mandate in case he board votes to approve a mandate. Assistant Superintendents – Large districts have the luxury of hiring assistant superintendents who specialize in one or two specific areas such as transportation or curriculum. These assistant superintendents meet regularly with the superintendent and receive their direct instruction from them, but manage the daily operations of their area. Small districts typically do not have assistants, so all the responsibility would fall on the superintendent. Principals – the superintendent is responsible for evaluating and making recommendations to hire/maintain/terminate principals/assistant principals. The superintendent has regular meetings with principals about specifics of the daily operations of their buildings. The primary role of any superintendent is to develop and maintain a healthy school budget. You will likely fail as a school superintendent in case you are not good with money. School finance is not an exact science. It is a complicated formula that changes from year to year especially in the realm of public education. The economy almost always dictates how much money is going to be available for the school district. Some years are better than others, but a superintendent must always figure out how and where to spend their money. The toughest decisions a school superintendent will face are in those years of deficit. Cutting teachers and/or programs is never an easy decision. Superintendents ultimately have to make those tough decisions to keep their doors open.