What's in a certificate?
During the race for Pasco superintendent, critics of incumbent Heather Fiorentino have argued she lacks the academic credentials to hold the school district's top job. (Nevermind that the state Constitution sets forth limited qualifications.)
In fact, Fiorentino -- though a teacher and former lawmaker -- doesn't meet the minimum requirements to hold an assistant principal's job in Pasco schools. She would need a master's degree for that. Challenger Stephen Donaldson, by contrast, has his master's in education leadership and time spent as a military officer.
To counter the attack, Fiorentino has noted that while actually doing the job -- a qualification of its own -- she completed not just basic superintendent training through the state superintendent's association during her tenure, but also the group's second-level CEO leadership program.
In turn, some of our readers have asked for more explanation of these certification programs. Just not familiar with them, you said. So we dug up the information on the programs, which superintendent's association executive director (and retired Leon superintendent) Bill Montford calls "legit," and present them to you now.
For more details, read on.
The Superintendent's Special Certification Program requires successful completion of five two-day training institutes for those elected superintendents who don't have a master's degree or higher. After passing a written exam on those institutes, the superintendent must take another five two-day training programs.
Those who successfully complete this certification, which is provided for in statute, are eligible for an additional $2,000 in salary. (For a more detailed paper on this program, click here.)
The Chief Executive Officer Leadership Development Program includes two phases. Phase 1 is formal classroom training on leadership concepts from business, military, education and social sciences. It is delivered in two, three-day sessions.
Phase 2 is a yearlong Learning Project to address the improvement needs of the superintendent's district. Each superintendent gets a mentor, must maintain a journal and must submit a written "learning summary." After the year is up, a team of peers conducts a site visit to determine whether the superintendent has learned anything, implemented the learning project and impacted the district positively.
After initial certification, the superintendent must complete a performance assessment annually to maintain it. (For more information, click here.)
Well, hope that helps.