AASA, Howard University Seal Partnership to form Urban Superintendents Academy

AASA, The School Superintendents Association formally signed an agreement with Howard University to work together in an effort to strengthen school district leadership in urban areas and expand the pool of superintendents from underrepresented groups.

Launched during AASA’s National Conference on Education in San Diego in February, the Urban Superintendents Academy was made official yesterday at Howard’s campus in Washington, D.C.

“The Urban Superintendents Academy will offer current and aspiring school superintendents a revolutionary new approach to ensure success in urban schools as well as recruit a new generation of minority educators to the superintendency,” said Leslie T. Fenwick, dean of Howard University’s School of Education. “There is a yawning diversity gap between the nation’s students and the school personnel that serves them. About 16 percent of the nation’s 92,000 principals are ethnic minorities. Approximately 20 percent of the nation’s school teachers are ethnic minorities. There is much work that we still need to do in diversifying school personnel.” 

During his remarks, Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA and a former superintendent for nearly 30 years, reflected on his first superintendent position. “Once I had the job, I said, ‘what a great opportunity.’ To be in the kind of position that will allow me to make a difference, certainly for all children, but specifically for children like me, especially for minority children, especially for black and Latino children who are not getting the kind of quality education that other kids were getting. If you are a minority, you have an obligation to step up and rise to the opportunity to do for kids what’s not being done. [Minority] children need a champion, someone who will fight for them. They also need a role model.”        

This program is designed to go much deeper than many of your highly publicized programs,” said Joe Hairston, assistant professor, Howard University and co-director of the Urban Superintendents Academy. “This is our time to make a difference.  We hope that our academy focuses on the environment of the superintendents, not just one schoolhouse but the entire community.”  

“This was meant not just as a memorandum of understanding,” said Mort Sherman, AASA superintendent-in-residence and co-director of the Academy. “It’s where a significant historical university comes together with an association for the common cause—not just for the superintendency but the children of America.”

To ensure that participants are fully equipped for the challenges and opportunities of urban superintendent positions, the Urban Superintendents Academy welcomes all applicants, yet will focus on underrepresented groups.  Combining on-site learning experiences, mentors, strong curriculum, affinity groups, an annual conference and ongoing support, the academy aims to be a leader in preparing superintendents. 

For more information about the Urban Superintendent Academy, visit the AASA website or contact msherman@aasa.org. 

AASA and Howard   


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