Center on System Leadership

Superintendent Academy

NCEE’s Superintendent Academy is a rigorous, research-based, cohort-delivered executive development program for district superintendents. The academy provides district leaders with the knowledge, skills and tools to design and lead district-wide, coherent, aligned systems of instruction and learning, based on examples of the top performers in the U.S. and worldwide.


The Superintendent Academy is delivered as an 18-month program organized across two academic years delivered to cohorts of 25 or more participants. It focuses on facilitated sessions led by successful former superintendents and education experts, with support from an international team of researchers and practitioners. The academy leverages decades of research on adult learning and emphasizes real-world application. Each participant develops and implements action learning in an opportunity to apply the concepts of system redesign to create a high-performance district that gets dramatically improved results for students and teachers. The academy is structured as follows:

    1. Kick-off Three-day Colloquium: A three-day residential forum delivered by NCEE faculty designed to introduce the big ideas and analytical data that will frame the context throughout the academy and create a learning com­munity among members of the cohort.
    2. Core Sessions: Three two-day sessions diving into system design, including the incentives, structures and supports that drive the results your district is currently getting and how those can be re-engineered to create a very different design with very different results.

      Core Lens 1: Students who graduate college- and career-ready
      Core Lens 2: Highly-qualified teachers and teaching
      Core Lens 3: High-performance organization and management

    3. Mid-program Two-day Colloquium: An opportunity for participants to present action learning concepts informed by the learning and case studies from the core sessions for expert, peer and state review. Plenary sessions with NCEE experts will also provide participants with provocative new research and ideas.
    4. Network Sessions: Three two-day sessions focused on the superintendents’ action learning where participants conduct on-site visits to their colleagues’ districts to delve deeper into the challenges of implementation of system reform in American school districts. Superintendents and the work they are doing in their districts will drive these sessions and provide opportunities for participants to reflect on and hone their leadership skills to effect and sustain change at scale. The NCEE Portal and digital materials also allow participants to join practitioner communities to share ideas with participants in other states.
    5. Culminating Three-day Colloquium: Superintendents, possibly with their district teams, present progress on their action learning.

Questions? Next Steps?

Learn how NCEE can support your district.

More Supports for Districts

District System Design Partnership

District System Design PartnershipDevelop a redesign plan based on a deep understanding of your district’s context and the research on top systems. Learn more…

System Design Benchmarking

Redesign your district as a cohesive system with your district leadership team. Learn more…


Supports for Schools

Supports for SchoolsStrengthen school leadership to drive systemic improvements in instruction and student learning. Learn more…

Supports for Partners

Partner SupportsNCEE offers a suite of complimentary supports for past and current participants of our professional learning programs. Learn more…