AASA to Host 9th Urban Superintendents Academy Conference

August 16, 2023


James Minichello

Gathering involves Howard University, University of Southern California

Alexandria, Va. – Aug. 16, 2023 – With the steadfast commitment to bolstering the school district leadership in historically underrepresented and diversely populated areas, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, in partnership with Howard University and the USC Rossier School of Education, is hosting its ninth annual Urban Superintendents Academy Summit, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023, at Howard University’s Douglass Memorial Hall in Washington, D.C.

Featured speakers for the event, entitled Bold Leadership³: Equity Through Innovation, include Mark Bedell, superintendent, Anne Arundel (Md.) County Public Schools; Mary Fertakis, philanthropy advisor; and Erin Jones, former assistant state superintendent for student achievement in Washington state.

Participants of the superintendents panel on urban leadership will include:

  • Monifa Bellinger McKnight, Montgomery County (Md.) Public Schools
  • Keith Simmons, Griffin-Spalding (Ga.) County School System
  • Tony B. Watlington, School District of Philadelphia (Pa.)

“AASA’s Urban Superintendents Academy stands second-to-none when it comes to providing superintendents and aspiring superintendents with a thorough and visionary program designed to develop and support effective urban school district leaders,” said David R. Schuler, executive director, AASA. “We are grateful for our continuing partnership with Howard University and USC in our efforts to address the dramatic demographic shifts, technology advancements and rapidly changing job market on behalf of the next generation of urban leaders across the country.”

“Leadership at the top in today’s public education landscape can be challenging. There are multiple moving parts that require skillful coordination, particularly in our nation’s urban settings,” said Dawn Williams, dean, Howard University School of Education. “The School of Education at Howard has long been a stalwart for equity and justice, which is what makes this program so significant. We make the investment in urban superintendents to ensure that they are prepared for shifting political climates, strategic investments and, most of all, propelling student success. The job demands a resilient leader, which is why I’m proud to welcome our ninth cohort of outstanding educators to this program.”

“The Rossier School of Education at USC has a long and proud legacy of training educational leaders who serve in school districts throughout our nation,” said Pedro Noguera, dean, USC Rossier School of Education. “Through our partnership with AASA, we are able to bring our expertise to prepare a new generation of urban district leaders to confront the most complex challenges facing our schools today.”

Specific goals of the program include:

  • Prepare participants to successfully acquire a position as an urban superintendent.
  • Address critical problems and issues faced by urban superintendents in a strategic and creative way.
  • Deal effectively and creatively with community relations and politics in the urban setting.
  • Become a strategic leader who consistently demonstrates critical reasoning, problem solving and creativity.
  • Learning how to work effectively with the board of education.

The program brings the most effective and inspiring thought leader practitioners to serve as instructors, mentors and presenters. The Howard University and USC cohorts will engage in virtual site visits and develop capstone projects, action plans, resources and other publications that will be shared with AASA members and other administrators.

For more information about the AASA Urban Superintendents Academy, visit the AASA website. For questions, contact Mort Sherman, AASA senior associate executive director, Leadership Network, at msherman@aasa.org, or Jessica Gordon, program manager, Leadership Network, at jgordon@aasa.org.


About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit www.aasa.org.