Press Release: For Immediate Release
  • Dr. Richard Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, is available to discuss the role of chief education officers in a difficult economic and political climate.



    Role of Superintendent More Important as Resources Decrease


    Professional development, not provisional licensing, is key to district success

    TRENTON, N.J. Feb. 8, 2011 — The proposed amendment to relax certification requirements for superintendents in some New Jersey school districts would not solve school district problems and may even have an unintended adverse effect, according to the New Jersey Association of School Administrators.


    “Watering down the superintendent certification process is not an antidote for failing schools,”

    said Richard Bozza, Ed.D., executive director of the NJASA. “It’s like saying, ‘Let’s loosen the requirements for being a physician so that we can widen the pool and get more people practicing medicine in the areas where we need it most.’ It simply doesn’t work. In education, we need an individual who understands teaching and learning to oversee a community of learners.”


    Under current law N.J.A.C. 6A: 9-12.4, superintendent certification is an extensive process that includes testing, an internship and one year of mentoring. Candidates must possess a master’s degree and years of educational leadership experience.


    The proposed amendment grants a provisional superintendent’s license to candidates with just a bachelor’s degree and some managerial experience. If approved, the provisional certificate will be available only in certain struggling districts. These include districts in need of improvement, those that are state-operated and those whose test scores have shown only partial proficiency for 50 percent or more of their students. Under supervision of a mentor, provisional superintendents would obtain permanent certification after three positive performance reviews during their first year.


    “Essentially, this amendment puts a talented individual, without experience in education, in a leadership role in a failing school district,” said Dr. Bozza. “That individual may be a brilliant businessman or an award-winning scientist. However, without the right background, that person faces additional challenges in learning what works and what doesn’t — with the district and the students paying the ultimate price if he or she fails.”


    The current certification guidelines are necessary, according to the NJASA, to prepare school administrators properly for the critical role they play in school districts. This includes reaching state and national performance benchmarks, establishing safe and secure learning environments,

    leading school staff to higher achievement, managing budgets, and partnering with the local community to lead the state in the development of a well-educated workforce.


    The NJASA advocates professional development rather than relaxed requirements for certification. “Let’s invest in our people so that we can move teachers and principals up the professional ladder toward school leadership. That will help to widen the pool for superintendents.”


    “The quality of a school hinges on the quality of its leadership,” added Bozza. “Loosening the certification requirements is a risky proposition that could be detrimental to districts that are already failing.”


    About NJASA

    The New Jersey Association of School Administrators is an organization of chief education officers and school administrators who lead school districts in New Jersey’s 21 counties. The association’s mission is to ensure a superior statewide system of education. Through ongoing professional training and education, the association shares knowledge among its members about best practices from both educational and administrative perspectives. Its goal is to move education forward by ensuring the highest quality of instruction for all New Jersey children.



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