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Initial Superintendent Certification

Western's Superintendent Certification was designed for aspiring superintendents and other school district leaders, such as assistant superintendents, executive directors and programs managers. Candidates earn the Washington State Initial Superintendent's Certificate.  The two-year program includes six courses delivered through monthly weekend seminars during the academic year, as well as a two-year internship.


  • Master's degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Valid teacher, educational staff associate (ESA), program administrator, or principal certificate.
  • At least 45 credit hours (30 semester credit hours) of post-baccalaureate or graduate-level course work in education.


Washington State Requirement

All candidates for the Initial Superintendent's Certificate must complete a two year (six-credits) field experience.

Mentor Supervision

The intern shall be under the supervision of a mentoring superintendent. Candidates are to discuss leadership goals and administrative career aspirations with the mentoring administrator before, or commensurate with, application to the program.

District & University Approval

In addition to getting University approval for a specified internship, candidates must initiate and satisfy any internship approval procedures required by their district.

University Credit

540 hours of field experience (EDAD 692) translates to (6) credit hours across six quarters of (1) credit each.

Curriculum: 32 Credits

The following courses are required for Washington State Initial Superintendent Certification. 

Course Title Credits
EDAD 640 Current Topics in Education 4
EDAD 641 Improving Student Learning 4
EDAD 642 Effective School System Management 5
EDAD 643 Advanced Leadership Theory 5
EDAD 644 Public Policy Formulation & Practice 4
EDAD 647 Seminar for School District Leaders 4
EDAD 692 Field Experience in Admin for the Superintendent 6

Administrator Certification

Administrator Certification contains basic information and Woodring Certification contact information for candidates and alumni of WWU's Residency Principal, Professional Administrator, and Initial Superintendent programs.

Admission Requirements


To be considered for admission to the Educational Administration Master’s Program and/or Certificate Programs, you must meet the admission requirements for Western’s Graduate Programs. 


Application Deadlines:

  • Fall Quarter:  August 1st
  • Winter Quarter:  October 1st
  • Spring Quarter:  February 1st
  • Summer Quarter:  May 1st


Application Process


Go to Western’s Graduate School website and create an account under “How to Apply

  • After you have created an account, create your “online application”
  • Choose Master of Education, Educational Administration (there are two options, main campus and off-campus, choose the appropriate location)
  • Continue through the application, adding information and uploading required materials.
    • One set of unofficial transcripts from each institution attended, including WWU graduates.
    • If you are offered admission, you will then be required to submit official transcripts.
  • Letter of intent stating:
  • Why you want to become a school administrator
  • How your understanding of diversity relates to improving learning for all students.  Include your understanding of diversity and your leadership experiences related to student diversity in your response, recognizing that your school/district has students with diverse backgrounds.  For the purpose of this letter of intent, diversity may include but not be limited to:  highly capable, special needs, 504 plans, ELL/ESL, ethnicity and culture, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or other.
  • Your goals and objectives as an education leader
  • Resume outlining your education and professional history
  • Copy of valid Washington State Certification (teacher or educational staff associate).  If submitting an ESA certificate, you must include a letter from your supervisor describing your assignment and service that supports three years of documented successful school-based experience in an instructional role with students.
  • Professional References (follow the Graduate School application instructions) – references should be from individuals who are building-level and district-level administrators.  In the application, you will be asked to list your references information, including their email addresses.  After you have entered all of the information for each of your references, click on “submit recommendation request” and they will receive an email with a link to a reference form to complete and electronically submit.


Address for the Graduate School

Western Washington University

Graduate School

516 High St, Old Main 530

Bellingham, WA  98225-9037