Instructor explaining different roles in school administration.

Graduate Certificate in Education Administration: Superintendent

The Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Superintendent Graduate Certificate program is designed for post-master’s students seeking the Minnesota K–12 Superintendent license. 

Potential students must possess a master's degree in an education-related field, have completed principal or director of special education licensure (in most cases), and have experience in educational leadership.

Program Curriculum

Courses are intended to provide an understanding of the 13 core competencies and those specific to the superintendency. These include core courses required for all administrative licensure preparation and those required for superintendent licensure: a 320 hour field experience internship (with a minimum of 40 hours at a second district or organization), and EDS 760: The Superintendency, a course covering the specific competencies of the superintendency.

Class Time and Coursework

The course meets four times for full days over the course of the semester of enrollment. During the academic year those sessions are held on Saturdays; during the summer months they are held on weekdays. Through case studies, readings, and discussion, students study the rewards and challenges of the superintendency and interact with panels of current superintendents to gain a wide perspective of the skills necessary to lead today’s districts.


Students who have already earned administrative licensure will complete the course and the internship (for a total of 6 credits) required for superintendent licensure, document their competency in an electronic portfolio, and present their efolio at an exit assessment meeting. Students who have not completed an administrative licensure program prior to starting superintendent licensure are required to complete the core competency courses (27 credits) and include the competencies addressed in the core courses in their electronic portfolio and their exit assessment meeting.

Administrative Licensure Preparation Pathway

The program consists of 33 credits for initial K–12 Principal or Director of Special Education preparation (or 39 credits for both). You may then choose to stop out and obtain a graduate certificate, complete 6 credits towards superintendency preparation, or complete the Ed.S. degree.

Program Outcomes

The following outcomes are state-identified competencies for an educational administration degree from Saint Mary's.

Leadership—Lead educational institutions and departments through collaborative, visionary planning and decision making.

Organizational Management—Manage and evaluate organizational operations including human, monetary, and physical resources for institutional improvement.

Diversity Leadership—Promote, create, and monitor appreciation and cultivation of diversity.

Policy and Law—Interpret, develop, and implement local, state, and federal policy and law.

Political Influence and Governance—Nurture a cooperative alliance of key stakeholders to influence the politics and governance of educational institutions.

Communication—Utilize communication skills essential to inform and facilitate effective organizational communication.

Community Relations—Establish and maintain positive and effective community relations relative to educational institutions.

Curriculum Planning and Development for the Success of All Learners—Facilitate the planning and development of curriculum, assessment, and instruction.

Instructional Management for the Success of All Learners—Design, implement, and support instruction, assessment strategies, and behavior management.

Use Research Effectively—Integrate current research appropriate for all learners.

Human Resource Management—Interpret, apply, and manage policies and procedures, which foster positive and productive performance from faculty and staff.

Values and Ethics of Leadership—Practice ethical leadership, ensuring the best interest of all learners.

Judgment and Problem Analysis—Implement and facilitate problem-solving strategies integrating critical thinking, creativity, logic, and collaboration.

Safety and Security—Create safety and security plans to sustain an emotionally and physically safe educational environment for all.


Policy and Law—Interpret and explain local, state, and federal public policy and law.

Political Influence and Governance—Identify and explain the influencing politics and governance of educational institutions.

Communication—Promote effective relations with school boards, districts, and community members.

Organizational Management—Identify factors affecting school finances.

Judgment and Problem Analysis—Carry out the mission and vision with attention to competing interests.

Gainful Employment Information

Effective July 1, 2011, the U.S. Department of Education requires institutions with nondegree programs defined as “Gainful Employment programs” to disclose certain information about these programs. Read the report.

From Start to Finish

  • Those holding administrative licensure can prepare to add Superintendency in one to two semesters.
  • The Superintendency seminar is offered regularly at the Twin Cities Campus. Additional cohorts are offered at various locations across Minnesota. Contact us to talk through when cohorts will begin in your area or apply today
  • To apply, you'll need to submit an application, $25 application fee, résumé, brief personal statement outlining your professional and educational goals, official transcripts, and letters of reference. For more information, visit the graduate admission page.


This program is offered at our Twin Cities location and regional cohorts.

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

Alternative Pathway

Applicants who do not have the required three years of successful classroom teaching experience and/or classroom teaching licensure may be considered for provisional admission into the graduate certificate program in Educational Administration through an alternate pathway option. Upon successful completion of the alternate pathway course students will be considered for regular admission.

There are three major components of the pathway contained within four 1-credit graduate level courses including 1050 hours of school classroom experience, a required guided teaching experience of 8 weeks (240 hours), and an electronic portfolio documenting completion of the pathway requirements.

Component 1: 1050 hours

Candidates are required to log time served studying and learning about pre-kindergarten, elementary, junior high/middle school, and high school levels, gaining knowledge and skills in 12 areas described in the student learning objectives.

Component 2: Guided Teaching Component

Candidates will log a minimum of 8 weeks (240 hours) of guided teaching.  This is expected to be a graduated direct teaching experience under a mentoring administrator, but may not be limited to a single course, class, subject, or group.

Component 3: Electronic Portfolio

In order to demonstrate basic knowledge and skills as required by the Minnesota Rule (MR) 3512.0700, the culmination of the pathway is the presentation of an electronic portfolio.  The portfolio should demonstrate the appropriate teaching knowledge, skills, and experiences of the 12 student learning objectives and will be presented to a panel consisting of university and K-12 school advisors and staff.

EDS691, EDS692, EDS693, EDS694 Alternate Pathway Prerequisite courses (1 cr. per course, four credits in total)

Program Delivery

The program is offered in a flexible format to meet the needs of working adults. Classes are scheduled primarily in the evening and on the weekends during the school year, and at various times in the summer. Students are requested to remain with their cohort for the duration of the program. Instruction focuses on applying organizational leadership theories with practical skills needed by school administrators to become leaders of effective learning organizations.

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Connect With Us

Michelle Dougherty, M.A.

SGPP Admission - Enrollment Counselor Graduate School of Education

LaSalle Hall-TC Campus, LSH112

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5122