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Missouri Association of School Administrators

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Missouri Superintendents Academy: Overview and Application

A  Twelve-Month Professional Development Experience


Program Sponsors

The Missouri Superintendents Academy is a joint project of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Missouri Association of School Administrators and the Department of Educational Leadership and Higher Education at Saint Louis University.


Program Description

The Missouri Superintendents Academy is a one-year program designed to assist superintendents in their second through fourth years in establishing a network that will promote reflection, communication, the development of interpersonal skills, and a structured program of effective mentoring.  The next class of the Academy will meet October 29-30, February 25-26, and April 29-30, in Jefferson City.


Academy Purpose

To develop educational leaders who:

  • Clearly understand the role of the superintendent in a political and social democracy.
  • Demonstrate a defined set of highly effective interpersonal skills.
  • Understand and demonstrate effective communication techniques.
  • Work with their elected boards and communities in consensus building.
  • Are comfortable with a collaborative leadership style.
  • Clearly understand the planning process.
  • Understand that long-term change cannot occur with short-term leadership.
  • Are skillful and insightful in change initiation and management.
  • Understand the cultural context of their situation.
  • Can lead in an instructional environment.
  • Comprehend the importance of relationships, timing, reflection, team building and development, critical friends, and ethical leadership.


Program Director

The Director of the Missouri Superintendents Academy is Dr. Sarah Booth Riss.  Dr. Riss has extensive experience as a classroom teacher, principal, central office administrator, superintendent, adjunct college professor, educational consultant and member of statewide committees focused on improving educational policy.  Sarah currently works as a facilitator for Education Equity Consultants providing social justice learning experiences and is a lobbyist assistant for MASA.  She recently retired as the superintendent for the Webster Groves School District.  Sarah has experience in both urban and suburban communities.  She is committed to fostering a learning community for superintendents that assists them in their professional growth and their success as educational leaders.


Academy Profile


Retreats - Three retreats will be held to focus on effective leadership.  These 1 1/2 day retreats will be held in November, January, and May/June at locations which provide easy accessibility but are in environments that allow for reflection and collegiality.  State and nationally recognized presenters will share their knowledge and expertise. 


Mentors/Coaches - A mentor/coach will be assigned to each participant as requested.  The purpose of this component is to assist the academy member in focusing on the development and achievement of leadership goals during the course of the year.  The mentor/coach will also be able to provide expertise on critical school district leadership topics such as finance, school law, etc.  Face to face sessions with mentors/coaches will be held at least four times during the year while telephone or e-mail contact will be at least bi-weekly.


Electronic Network - Participants in the program will be organized into an electronic network (Google or related)  which will enable group and individual interaction on a regular basis.




Participation in the academy is limited to superintendents with at least one year of experience as a superintendent and no more than four years of experience.


Class Size

Each Academy class will be composed of 20-25 participants from throughout the state of Missouri.


Program Cost

A portion of the program costs will be underwritten by MASA.  However, each participant’s school district will also be asked to share in the cost of the program.  The school district will be asked to contribute $1,500 to the cost of the training.  The district contribution covers all costs incuding lodging, meals and materials.  A limited number of scholarships are available for those unable to pay the full amount.



Missouri Superintendents Academy:  Application


If you have questions, please contact Dr. Sarah Booth Riss:


Missouri Superintendents Academy

311 Elm Valley Drive

St. Louis, MO 63119


Phone 314-575-8942


E-Mail sarah.riss@mcsa.org


You may apply for the Academy online at this link.


Overview and Printable Application