National Superintendent Certification Program® - West

Excellence in leadership in our nation's public schools has never been more vital to our children’s success than it is today.

Group of superintendents at the National Conference on Education

The AASA National Superintendent Certification Program® is the place for early career superintendents and superintendents desiring to refresh their skill set, to engage in a world-class professional learning opportunity. The program offers the highest quality curriculum and the ability to join professional networks that today’s superintendents need to become excellent leaders for our children, and our nation. The AASA National Superintendent Certification Program® provides a real-time focus on key issues that superintendents are facing.  

AASA has planned a robust experience that focuses on sharpening the skills that successful superintendents acknowledge are needed to thrive on the job and provides relevant experiences for our members. It is clear that the political and economic pressures of the job are exacerbated by growing intrusions into local control and a prevailing attitude that educators do not have the solutions, and indeed, are part of the problem. Our certification program will help our members thrive in these difficult conditions.


West Cohort Class of 2025

Applications for the West 2025 class closed on September 8, 2023.

Session 1 - September 20-22, 2023, Virtual

Session 2 - February 12-14, 2024, San Diego, Calif. prior to NCE 2024

Session 3 - September 18-20, 2024, Virtual or in person TBD

Session 4/Graduation - March 3-5, 2025, New Orleans, La. prior to NCE 2025

Note: All in-person meetings are subject to pandemic conditions and may be changed to virtual or hybrid sessions.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who should participate in the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program®?
Any current early career superintendent who has seven or fewer years of experience as a superintendent or superintendents with additional experience who want to refresh their skill set and re-energize.

2. How large is each cohort?
Each cohort will have approximately 25-30 participants.

3. How is the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program® different from other superintendent training programs?

The AASA National Superintendent Certification Program® boasts unique features:

  A Relevant, Coherent Curriculum
All components of the program are focused on developing the capacity for transformative leadership to improve student achievement. The program will be heavily case-based, with a combination of whole-group, small-group, and individual learning activities in each session. The program was developed by superintendents especially for superintendents to be transformative leaders.

  Experienced, Successful Faculty
The program is taught by a cadre of experienced leaders, with an emphasis on seasoned successful superintendent from school systems, professional education associations, and private sector organizations—all of whom have been highly successful in raising organizational performance and positively affecting organizational culture. The Lead Teachers are superintendents who have made an exceptional impact in their district and often possess national recognition.

  One-to-One Coaching
Cohort members will be matched with sitting, veteran Superintendents or recently retired superintendents as mentors. The mentors serve as critical friends throughout the Program, and most mentors and mentees maintain their professional friendship throughout their careers.

  Individual Capstone Projects
Each participant will complete a Capstone Project during the duration of the program. The Capstone is a practitioner-oriented project that will challenge Participants to use their knowledge gained during the Certification Program, current expertise, and work experience to analyze a district issue that requires intervention. Each participant will propose, design, and implement an action plan to address a current leadership issue, challenge, or opportunity in his/her district, to which the mentor and lead teacher will provide guidance and support. Participants are highly encouraged to select a topic that will positively impact how the school district meets the academic, social, and/or environmental needs of students.

  Ongoing Support and Connections
Certification Program graduates will become members of a growing, and active, alumni group. AASA supports alumni with opportunities to connect online throughout the year and in person during our National Conference on Education. Additionally, alumni are regularly invited to events and meetings around the nation that address critical education issues. Finally, alumni have developed their own communications and education networks through social media and other electronic media. AASA actively supports and promotes all of these connections.

4. Why the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program®?

AASA has developed a highly relevant and personalized curriculum that studies critical education issues and opportunities facing school district leaders. 
AASA brings the best practitioners and highly respected thought leaders to the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program®. These leaders are not just presenters for they become a part of the network of colleagues and experts our participants and alumni connect with throughout their careers.
Our format of in-person and virtual sessions, work with mentors, Capstone Project, and online work between sessions delivers a highly effective and personalized blended learning environment. Participants are immersed in the type of learning we know to be effective for adults and children alike.

5. How do I apply for the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program®?

Complete the online application. With questions, contact Amy Sichel at

6. How much will it cost to participate in the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program®?

The program fee is $6,000 for AASA members and $6,500 for non-members. The fee includes instruction, personalized mentoring for each participant, meeting meals, program materials and all other aspects of the academy over the 20-month period. Through the generosity of our AASA National Superintendent Certification Program® sponsors, AASA is able to include national thought leaders and highly effective superintendent practitioners in the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program®. Participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging fees and arrangements.

6. What is the cancellation policy for the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program®?

To receive a refund, cancellation requests must be received in writing no less than 14 days prior to a program start. Refunds are not granted for failure to attend, late arrival, unattended events or early departure. AASA is not responsible for weather related cancellations, airfare, hotel or other costs incurred by attendee that are associated with the program. A $100 processing fee applies to all cancellations.

If you have any questions, please contact Mort Sherman, AASA associate executive director, leadership services and awards, at  or 703-875-0726. You can also contact Amy Sichel, lead superintendent, at

What Will I Learn?

Through our in-depth curriculum, dynamic in-person and virtual sessions, one-on-one mentoring, Capstone Project, and long-term professional networks, the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program® delivers the comprehensive leadership development superintendent leaders need. Our program focuses on key issues:

  • Transformational Leadership and Visioning
  • Understanding and Developing Effective Board-Superintendent Relations 
  • Understanding and Ensuring Equity 
  • Navigating Community, State and National Politics 
  • The Impact of Economic Pressures, Budgeting and the Global Pandemic
  • Effective Instructional Leadership and Continuous School and System Improvement 
  • Impactful and Effective Communications including Social Media for All Stakeholders 
  • Serving Effectively as CEO and Education Leader in the District and Community 
Our robust curriculum has been developed with extensive input from leading superintendents from around the nation and is personalized and delivered by dynamic lead superintendent teachers and expert guest presenters.

Our mentors are current and recently retired superintendents who have been successful in leading change in a variety of districts around the nation. They are dedicated to sharing their knowledge and experience with the upcoming generation of educational leaders, and they share their time and talent generously with our program participants. 

The Capstone Project is a practitioner-oriented project that will challenge Participants to use their knowledge gained during the Certification Program, current expertise, and work experience to analyze a real-time district issue that requires intervention. Participants will develop and implement an action plan to address the issue in a comprehensive and lasting way.


The AASA National Superintendent Certification Program® includes nationally recognized leaders, current and former superintendents as the lead educators, content experts and mentors. The current faculty include:

  • David Schuler, Executive Director, AASA, The School Superintendents Association
  • Mort Sherman, Senior Associate Executive Director, Leadership Network, AASA, The School Superintendents Association
  • Valerie Truesdale, Assistant Executive Director, Leadership Network, AASA, The School Superintendents Association
  • Amy Sichel, Lead Superintendent, AASA National Superintendent Certification Program® & Superintendent (ret) Abington School District (PA), AASA Past President
  • Sheldon Berman, Superintendent (ret.), Andover, MA
  • Elie Brady, Superintendent, Portsmouth Public Schools, VA
  • Yvonne Brandon, Superintendent (ret), Richmond (VA) Public Schools
  • Shari Camhi, Superintendent, Baldwin Union Free School District (NY), AASA President   
  • Nicholas Clement, Superintendent (ret), Flowing Wells (AZ) School District
  • Robert Copeland, Superintendent (ret) Lower Merion School District (PA)
  • Gladys Cruz, Superintendent, BOCES (NY) , AASA President-Elect
  • Susan Enfield, Superintendent, Highline (WA) Public Schools
  • Chris Gaines, Superintendent, Mehlville School District (MO), AASA Past President
  • Thomas Gentzel, former Executive Director, National School Boards Association 
  • Patricia Greco, Superintendent (ret), School District of Menomonee Falls (WI)
  • Lupita Hightower, Superintendent, Tolleson Elementary (AZ) School District
  • Michael Hinojosa, Superintendent, Dallas (TX) Independent School District
  • Paul Imhoff, Superintendent , Upper Arlington (OH), AASA Past President
  • Keith Krueger, Executive Director, Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)
  • Ann McMullan, Lead Consultant for Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)
  • Steve Murley, Superintendent, Iowa City (IA) Community School District
  • Noelle Ellerson Ng, Associate Executive Director, Advocacy and Governance, AASA  
  • Sasha Pudelski, Advocacy Director, AASA
  • Carla Santorno, Superintendent (ret) Tacoma Public Schools (WA)
  • Aaron Spence, Superintendent, Virginia Beach (VA) City Public Schools
  • Brian Troop, Superintendent, Ephrata Area School District, (PA)
  • Cheryl Woodshouse, Chief Human Resources Officer, Virginia Beach (VA) City Public School
  • Bridget Weiss, Superintendent, Juneau School District (AK)


The AASA National Superintendent Certification Program® not only broadened my learning, but it reinvigorated my leadership. The relationships I developed with high-quality leaders from all over the country will serve me for the rest of my career and beyond.

Heidi Eliopoulos

Superintendent, School District of Altoona (Wis.)

The professional learning and networking opportunities provided through the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program® was one of the most valuable continual learning experiences I participated in throughout my career. Collegial reflection on our professional practice with others in the field who are navigating the same growth opportunities continues to be invaluable.
Brett A. Cooper

Superintendent, Daniel Boone Area School District (Pa.)


September 20, 2023 to March 5, 2025

Applications were due September 8, 2023


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