Superintendent Certification

What is Superintendent Certification?

Harris County Department of Education is a public entity that services and supports over 1 million educators, students and parents and 25 school districts in the greater Houston area. As Texas continues to experience rapid growth in student population, our schools are becoming more diverse than ever with more than 75 percent of students now representing minority populations. We believe a critical element in addressing the persistent inequalities that impact students of poverty, English language learners, and students of color is ensuring a workforce of diverse district level leaders who are willing to bridge the equity gap.  Our superintendent preparation program places strong emphasis on issues of social justice and targeted recruitment of underrepresented educators of color with a proven record of successful leadership in diverse schools. 

The role of the twenty-first century superintendent is immensely complex and challenging.  With this in mind, we designed our curriculum to mirror the complexities of this one-of-a-kind job to equip our candidates with the necessary tools to be effective district leaders who can set strategic priorities to improve the performance of disadvantaged students.  We emphasize reflective practice, relevant, evidence-based, rigorous training and require candidates to demonstrate mastery through field-embedded performance-based assessments.  Our faculty are sitting and former superintendents with extensive expertise in superintendency, coaching, and executive level leadership development.  All of our courses are delivered onsite in a face-to-face environment.  Authentic leadership learning occurs in a small cohort format which allows for deep work and personalized coaching.

Contact Us:

NOTE: HCDE facilities are currently closed due to COVID-19 - please use email to contact us

Phone: 713-696-1348
Twitter: @HCDELeadNow
Facebook: /HCDEECA

Application for Admission


Texas Superintendency Outlook


  •   Texas Growth Occupations 2017 Annual Report projects 25% growth in the education administrators sector between 2014 and 2024
  •   For the past six years, Superintendent average pay increase maintains at 3 percent

State Prerequisites for Superintendent Certificate

(Texas Administrative Code, Title 19, Part 7, Chapter 242, Rule 242.20)

To be eligible to receive the standard Superintendent Certificate, a candidate must:

  •   (1)  satisfactorily complete an examination based on the standards identified in §242.15 of this title (relating to Standards Required for the Superintendent Certificate); and
  •   (2)  successfully complete a State Board for Educator Certification-approved superintendent preparation program and be recommended for certification by that program; and
  •   (3)  hold, at a minimum, a master's degree from an accredited institution of higher education that at the time was accredited or otherwise approved by an accrediting organization recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; and
  •   (4)  hold, at a minimum, a principal certificate or the equivalent issued under this title or by another state or country; or
  •   (5)  have at least three creditable years of managerial experience in a public school district.
    •   (A)  The managerial experience must include responsibility for:
      •   (i)  supervising or appraising faculty or staff;
      •   (ii)  conducting district-level planning and coordination of programs, activities, or initiatives; and
      •   (iii)  creating or maintaining a budget.
    •   (B)  The candidate must submit an application to Texas Education Agency (TEA) staff for the substitution of managerial experience as defined in this paragraph. The TEA staff will review the application and will notify the applicant, in writing, of approval or denial within 60 calendar days from date of receipt.

HCDE Superintendent Program Admission Criteria

2020 -2021 Cohort 

Cohort starts September 26, 2020


  •   Phase I – Application Packet
    •   Application for Admission Form
    •   Three Professional References
    •   Official Transcripts (both undergraduate and graduate degrees)
      •   Applicants with out-of-country degree credentials must have them evaluated by TEA-recognized foreign credential evaluation service provider and meet 19 TAC Chapter 230.11 (b)(5)(c) and (b)(5)(B) TOEFL requirements
    •   An overall GPA of 3.o on a 4.0 scale, or 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of coursework
      • a special consideration may be granted to overall/last 60 hours GPA in the 2.50 to 2.99 range with the director's approval
    •   Principal Certificate (or the equivalent) OR three creditable years of managerial experience
    •   District Service Record(s)
    •   Resume
    • $100 Application Fee
  •   Phase 2 – Interview - virtual format during COVID-19
    •   Scholarly Writing Sample
    •   Structured Interview
    •   Educator Code of Ethics Agreement
    •   Criminal Background Check

Superintendent Program Cost

2020-2021 Program Cost
Live in 
Harris County
Live Outside 
Harris County
 Application Processing Fee (non-refundable) $100 $100
 Admission Deposit (non-refundable) $400 $400
 Remaining Program Cost $3,900 $4,290
Total Program Cost$4,400$4,790

Other External Costs Associated with Superintendent Certification Process*

*Cost subject to change

TEA Technology Fee$35
Cost of official university transcript(s)Varies
TExES Superintendent Exam #195$116
Superintendent intern/probationary certificate, if needed $78
TASA Midwinter Conference (including Aspiring Superintendents Academy)Varies
T-PESS Appraiser TrainingVaries
Superintendent standard certificate$78

2019-2020 Academic Calendar of Activities

Superintendent Program Features


  •   Accelerated 10-month delivery model allows for shorter time to reach certification goal
  •   Fully on-site, face-to-face environment
  •   Convenience of once-a-month weekend seminars and weekday forums
  •   Experts-in-the-field instructors with extensive hands-on knowledge of the craft
  •   Focus on bridging the equity gap through culturally responsive leadership and emphasis on issues of social justice
  •   Small cohort format allows for personalization and one-on-one feedback

Superintendent Program Features


  •   Engage in authentic, practitioner-level, common practicum experiences with extensive support and feedback from program personnel
  •   Engage in reflective practice with support from cohort and program personnel
  •   Receive coaching and mentorship during and after certification
  •   Be part of the alumni network
  •   Receive TExES exam intensive preparation support
  •   Competitive pricing with payment installments and special discount for SFC members

Standards Required for the Superintendent Certificate




1.  Values and Ethics of Leadership

2.  Leadership and District Culture

3.  Human Resources Leadership and Management

4.  Learner-Centered Policy and Governance


5.  Communications and Community Relations

6.  Organizational Leadership and Management

7.  Curriculum Planning and Development

8.  Instructional Leadership and Management

Need more info?



Dr. Shelley McKinley, Leadership Development Officer