The Aspiring Superintendents Program is a full course credit opportunity designed specifically for school administrators who aspire to become a school district superintendent. The program is a partnership among the Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS), the Virginia Tech School of Education and the Virginia Tech Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement (COTA).

Each of the three seminars will focus on exploring and developing the skills, knowledge and commitment needed to succeed as a superintendent. Program faculty will provide multiple perspectives on effective leadership. Emphasis will be placed on the value of coaching and mentoring as an important link between academic and practical preparation for the job.

Institute Fellows will gain increased awareness about the importance of building and nurturing relationships and effective communication with school board members, elected and appointed officials, parents, the media, and the community at large. Institute Fellows will expand and refine their existing leadership skills, acquire new skills, and learn about the search and interview process, conducting contract negotiations, and entry planning. Session facilitators will present strategies designed to cultivate balance in managing their professional and personal lives.

Institute Fellows will engage in readings, small group discussions; voice of experience conversations with seated, recently appointed, and retired superintendents; simulations; mock interviews; and analyses of case studies. Each institute fellow will identify and interact with a mentor/coach and keep a reflective journal. Final products will include an entry plan for the first 90 days on the job as a superintendent and a reflective synopsis that identifies new awareness of the superintendent’s role and the application of what has been learned.

Graduate course credit and a certificate will be awarded by the School of Education at Virginia Tech for successful completion of the program.

Completion of a School Leaders Institute program will increase leadership capacity and enhance the ability to use reflection as a powerful leadership skill. Each institute fellow submits an evaluation of seminar discussions, activities, and lectures and completes and submits a reflective journal synopsis based on their total program experience.