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What Is a County Superintendent?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2014
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The term “county superintendent” is most commonly seen in the United States, in reference to the county superintendent of schools. In this case, the superintendent is the chief educational administrator for the public school district, with school districts commonly being organized on the county level. The term “superintendent” may also be used more generally in reference to any sort of supervisor or high ranking administrator, such as the construction superintendent on a job site who oversees the work which takes place during construction.

A county school district is an extremely large entity which employees large numbers of people, including teachers, aides, bus drivers, janitors, administrators, librarians, counselors, and other support staff. The county superintendent is the administrative head of the district, overseeing all activities within the school district and confirming that the district is meeting its goals. Most hold a doctorate degree in educational administration or a related field, and superintendents usually have experience in educational administration, with experience as principals and other administrators.

Usually, the school district elects the county superintendent during school board elections. While the superintendent does not often have a vote on the school board, she or he usually sits in on school board meetings. Tasks which fall under the county superintendent's responsibility include: implementing new policies, enforcing district wide policy, hiring and firing personnel, and managing the district budget. County superintendents also meet with concerned members of the community about topics relating to the schools.

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Superintendents are concerned with the law as it applies to education, and with educational reforms set out in the law. For example, when the government sets new laws about curricula, the superintendent must distribute information about the law to teachers and audit their curricula to confirm that they will meet the standard. Most superintendents are also concerned with long term planning for their districts, thinking about issues such as changes in available funding, shifting enrollment numbers, and so forth.

The office of the superintendent of schools is commonly located in the county seat. If the county is especially large, branch or satellite offices may be located in other areas of the county so that the superintendent's office can provide full coverage to the entire district. While the superintendent may be based in the county seat, the job often includes a great deal of traveling to school sites to inspect schools, sit in on classes, meet with administrators, and interact with students.

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