Superintendency 101: Top Tips to Lead By

What are the top tips that current superintendents have for new superintendents who are taking on a daunting job leading their districts?

We posted that question to 18 superintendents who have participated in the CoSN/edWeb Empowering Superintendents Webinar Series.  Series host and Project Director, Ann McMullan, asks each superintendent, “If you were teaching a course in Superintendency 101, what is the #1 piece of advice you would give a new superintendent?”  The answers provide a great list for superintendents to keep posted in their office, and reflect the wide ranging responsibilities and communities that superintendents need to communicate with to lead effectively.

Superintendency 101: Top Tips to Lead By

  • Everything rises and falls on leadership.
  • Remember, students come first. Everything you do is for the students.
  • Engage your PLN; build and maintain those relationships.
  • Get involved in your PLN at the highest level you can.
  • Develop your network so they can help you make better decisions and have a positive impact on your students.
  • Network and maintain relationships as best you can.
  • Build and maintain connections with multiple mentors, and continuously ask their advice.
  • Be firmly grounded in your beliefs and philosophies. This is the foundation that you need to build upon.
  • Be as transparent as you possibly can. Be who you say you are and do what you say you are going to do.
  • Over communicate. Educate students, teachers, administrators, parents and the community on everything you do.
  • Focus on the larger vision for your district and inspire people around you to contribute and become a part of that vision.
  • Empower your team and make learning the core of all that you do.
  • Hire people who share your values and work ethic.
  • Create ownership in your team to prepare students for a world that does not yet exist.
  • Be sure your technology department is accessible in your district.
  • Only delegate when you have a complete understanding of what it is you are giving to a colleague.
  • Take care of yourself first.
  • Give permission to your district to dream. Support them in their ability to make those dreams happen.

The CoSN/edWeb webinar series helps current and aspiring superintendents and district leadership teams build on their knowledge, skills, and confidence in leading digital transformations.  

Learn more at
The program is sponsored by ClassLink.

Register for upcoming webinars in the series:

Monday, Apr. 8 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time
Presented by Ned Kirsch, Superintendent, Franklin West Supervisory Union, VT; Dr. Mary Wegner, Superintendent, Sitka School District, AK; and Dr. Suzanne Lacey, Superintendent, Talladega County Schools, AL
Monday, May 13 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time
Presented by Ann Linson, Superintendent, East Noble School Corporation, IN; Randy Squier, Superintendent, Coxsackie-Athens Central School District, NY; and Dr. Gabe Soumakian, CEO and Founder, Sup Du Jour Consulting Group, CA
Monday, June 10 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time
Presented by Dr. Carol L. Kelley, Superintendent, Oak Park Elementary School District 97, IL; Michael Arensdorff, Senior Director of Technology, Oak Park Elementary School District 97, IL; David J. Seleb, Executive Director, Oak Park Public Library, IL; and Dr. Beth Holland, Digital Equity Project Director, CoSN