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School districts employ school superintendents to improve the quality of the schools and manage the staff and teachers. Most school superintendents are usually professional educators who have well-known leadership roles in the district. Jobs as school superintendents may be in small rural towns with a few schools or in highly populated cities with dozens of schools.
One of the tasks a school superintendent has to handle is adhering to school budgets. This includes deciding on pay raises for teachers and staff. The superintendent may have to decide whether to let teachers go for the upcoming year, based on budget cuts, or to hire teachers if additional money is in the school budget.
A school superintendent has to deal with situations that arise such as complaints regarding a teacher’s behavior and other staff disciplinary issues. Occasionally, there are allegations against teachers involving conduct unbecoming a teacher that may or may not involve a student. It is the superintendent’s job to fully investigate any accusations, interview the parties involved, and report any findings to necessary agencies. If the teacher is cleared of the accusations, the superintendent has to decide what steps to take against the student or other party for falsely reporting an incident.
Another role the school superintendent involves being a representative to the media for athletic games and other events at the schools. When school districts have board meetings, the superintendent typically issues a message to the parents announcing the agenda for the meeting. If changes are to take place in the district and a hearing is needed, the superintendent will also send out a hearing notice so that parents can opt to attend. Sometimes, in case of inclement weather the superintendent will decide if schools in the district need to close and will have to alert the public.
Other responsibilities the school superintendent has are taking care of construction issues such as bids for property and school renovations. The superintendent has to make sure projects are finished on time so that construction projects do not interfere with the school year. Part of this includes keeping school renovations in line with the school board’s budget and reviewing site bids.
Since a school superintendent has a high-profile leadership position, a person in this occupation usually has had several years of teaching experience and has often held another job such as a school principal. This professional has to demonstrate that he or she is capable of performing administrative tasks such as budgeting, record keeping and accountability. It is also essential that a superintendent have excellent communication skills, since much of this position is dealing with teachers, parents and the media.