Innovative School of Education Program Prepares Diverse Educators for Superintendent Positions in America’s Urban Centers


Nearly 30 superintendents, school administrators, students and education professionals are fully prepared to oversee urban school districts across the country, after successfully completing a unique 9-month professional leadership initiative at Howard University’s School of Education.The Urban Superintendents Academy, one of the country’s premier professional development programs, was created in direct response to less than five percent of superintendents in America being persons of color.

Made possible through a partnership between The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) also known as the School Superintendents Association, the academy prepares individuals for certification and success in urban and increasingly diverse suburban settings. Since its inception in 2015, the AASA-Howard University Urban Superintendents Academy focuses on the effectiveness of school district leadership in America’s urban centers.

“At the Howard University School of Education, we have a paramount interest in meeting the needs of the urban school community, which is why I am so proud to congratulate the outstanding men and women who make up our Urban Superintendent Academy graduating class,” says Dawn Williams, Ph.D., dean of Howard University’s School of Education.

Educational leaders selected from around the country after submitting applications, are enrolled in the academy from August to May, attending monthly weekend sessions lasting eight hours on Saturdays and three hours on Sundays. The goal is to prepare superintendents for the demands of urban environments. 

Earlier this year, Michael Conner, Ed.D.,superintendent of Middletown, Connecticut Public Schools, received his first-year superintendent position while enrolled in the academy. 

“It was the greatest honor to learn from AASA and Howard University,” says Conner. “Participating in this program has made me a better educator for the children I serve.”

“These professionals have a deep commitment for fighting for social justice issues,” says Dean Williams.

The program prides itself on having great relationships with a number of established educational leaders, who often serve as instructors, mentors and presenters for the academy. The program includes two cohorts: the Graduate Student Cohort, for prospective superintendents wishing to pursue a Doctorate in Educational Leadership; and the National Certification Cohort, for current superintendents and administrators looking to receive additional training and field experience.

“The 2017-18 graduating class represents part of the next generation of education leadership that must create more and more opportunities for children in urban areas,” says Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA. “I am confident that our program will help participants find winning solutions for these children who are yearning to become successful members of our society.”

Sponsored by educational publisher and learning science company McGraw Hill Education, the national program is exclusive to the University of Southern California and Howard University, the only Historically Black College or University (HBCU) included in the cross-institutional partnership with AASA. 

“AASA is pleased to serve as the umbrella organization for our Urban Superintendents Academy, an initiative that forges partnerships with two significant historical universities working for a common cause,” says Domenech

The graduating class will be formally recognized at the 2019 AASA National Conference on Education, held February 14-16 in Los Angeles. 


About AASA, The School Superintendents Association

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, The School Superintendents Association advocates for equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education, and develops and supports school system leaders. Visit http://www.aasa.orgfor more information.

About Howard University 

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, two Marshall Scholars, one Schwarzman Scholar, over 70 Fulbright Scholars and 22 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States.  For more information on Howard University visit

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