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 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.

Application Process

  • Go to Western's Graduation School "How to Apply" website, click on "create an account".
  • After you have created an account, click on "Online Application".
  • After selecting Educational Administration, 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 be required to submit 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.
    • One copy of valid Washington State Certificate (teacher, educational staff associate, principal or program administrator).  
    • Letter of Recommendation from your prospective mentoring superintendent supporting your application and indication of their willingness to serve as your mentor.
    • The State of Washington requests the following information from educational administration applicants, however this information is not used with the review of your application.
      • Which most closely reflects the highest education level of your parent(s) and/or guardian(s)?
        • Some high school, high school diploma or GED
        • Some college, college, graduate school
      • Is your first language English?
        • Yes/No

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 1st to be admitted  for Fall Quarter
October 1st to be admitted for Winter Quarter
February 1st 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.



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