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In education in the United States, a superintendent (also known as a chief school administrator in many states) is an individual who has executive oversight and administration rights, usually within an educational entity or organization.
Generally, public school district superintendents are selected by a school board of a local school district. As chief executive officer of the public school, the superintendent has oversight for what is often one of the larger businesses within the community the district serves. They are typically given overall responsibility for personnel selection and appointment, preparation of operating budgets, and implementation of school policies and regulations. Ideally, the school superintendent will be knowledgeable in areas of school law, school finance and investment strategies, school construction, technology, curriculum and teaching and learning styles and methods, team-building, and skill at seeing "the big picture", able to pull many smaller elements to a cohesive and productive whole.
Most superintendents are members on the board of education (school board) of their school district, but they usually cannot vote as members of the board.
While there are exceptions, many school districts now require, or desire, that their superintendent hold a doctorate degree.
Depending on the state in which they serve, a public school superintendent might also be referred to as "chief education officer", or "chief executive officer".
Most superintendents are hired by the board of education (or board of trustees), which is a governing entity of the district composed of elected officials from the communities the school district serves.
The term 'superintendent' is rarely used for education in the United Kingdom (possibly to avoid confusion with the police rank); in most Local Education Authorities the equivalent title is Chief Education Officer. According to the history of the school (published in 1985), in 1885, when the Church Schools Company took over a school to form Newcastle High School, later Newcastle upon Tyne Church High School, the mistress of the former school was briefly considered for the post of Lady Superintendent, below the headmistress.
- Board of education
- Head teacher
- School district
- Superintendent of Public Instruction