Initial Superintendent Certification


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.


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 six-credit, six-quarter 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.

Application Procedure

Submit the Graduate School online application. This secure process includes credit card payment of a $100 application fee (once you are admitted there is a second $100 fee), and instructions for providing these supporting materials: 

Unofficial Transcripts: One from the institution where you earned your graduate degree.  If you previously attended WWU, it is not necessary to provide WWU transcripts or other transcripts previously submitted to WWU.  Once you are admitted, the Graduate School requires official transcripts.

Letter of intent stating:

Your goals and objectives as a district-level leader

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.

Resume outlining your education and professional history.

Letter of recommendation from your prospective mentoring superintendent supporting your application and indicating his/her willingness to serve as your mentor.

One copy of valid Washington State certificate (teacher, ESA, principal, or program administrator).

The State of Washington requests the following from educational administration applicants, however the information WILL NOT be used in the review of your application:  Which most closely reflects the highest education level of your parent(s) and/or guardian(s)?

  1. Some high school, high school diploma, or GED
  2. Some college, college, graduate school
  3. Is your first language English?

Application Deadlines: 

Admission to this two-year program is offered quarterly; to receive full consideration for admission, applicants must submit application materials to the Graduate School by the deadlines listed below.

August 1 to be admitted  for Fall Quarter
October 1 to be admitted for Winter Quarter
February 1 to be admitted for Spring Quarter

Applications will be forwarded to the program for review after all required materials have been received by the Graduate School.

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.

Curriculum: 32 Credits

The following courses are required for Washington State initial superintendent certification; tuition and fees currently for the academic year will be $344/credit (subject to change).


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


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