How to Become a Chief School Administrator in the US

School inspectors, also known as chief school administrators, ensure public elementary, primary and high schools in a given school district provide quality education to students. If you are interested in an administrative job in the education system, and you possess excellent leadership skills, you could become a chief school administrator.

See Also: How to Become an Elementary, Middle or High School Principal

1. What Do Chief School Administrators Do?

Their duties include:

  • Analyzing the quality of educational programs and other services offered to students by schools
  • Participating in the development of school curriculums
  • Physically inspecting the schools’ facilities
  • Submitting regular reports detailing inspection findings and recommendations to the board of the school district
  • Supervising and evaluating the performance of assistant school inspectors and other district staff
  • Controlling the budget allocated to school inspection activities
  • Reviewing student suspensions effected by school principals
  • Planning and supervising fire and other emergency drills in schools
  • Advising the board on various issues
  • Monitoring educational leadership developments in other school districts.

2. Work Environment

Chief school administrators typically work from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Although they travel to various schools within the district to conduct inspections, they spend most of their time in their offices which are usually located in the headquarters of a school district.

3. Salary

According to Indeed, chief school administrators earn an average annual salary of $85,000.

4. Entry Education and Experience

It takes vast experience in the education sector and the right academic qualifications to be hired as a school inspector or chief school administrator.

Ideally, you would want to begin as a teacher and gain substantial teaching experience. To become a teacher, you generally need a bachelor’s degree in education, and a teacher certificate if you want to work in public schools.

After gaining at least five years of teaching experience, proceed to graduate school and pursue a master’s degree in education administration or education leadership. This will enable you to move into an administrative role such as assistant school principal, where you can work your way to principal.

With vast experience in school leadership and administration, you are ready to move up the ladder and become a chief school administrator.

5. Important Qualities

To be an accomplished chief school administrator, you need:

  • Excellent leadership skills
  • Excellent personnel management skills
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • An interest in promoting quality education
  • The ability to motivate
  • Strong decision-making skills
  • Good analytical skills
  • Planning skills
  • Organizational and coordination skills
  • Skills in public relations
  • An understanding of labor relations
  • Good communication skills
  • To be resourceful
  • The ability to maintain an effective educational climate.

6. Career Advancement

After getting hired as a chief school administrator, undertake the following steps to heighten your career advancement prospects:

7. Job Opportunities

The employers of chief school administrators include:

  • School districts
  • State governments
  • Private school systems

With vast experience as a chief school administrator, you stand a good chance of becoming a superintendent of a school district (superintendent of public instruction). It is important to note that in some states this position is elective, and appointive in others.

See Also: How to Become a Superintendent of Public Instruction in the US

Finally, there are 13,506 school districts, 178 state-dependent schools and several private schools systems, all of which are potential employers of aspiring chief school administrators. Given that this is a job that is typically obtained by working your way up, having vast relevant experience is key to standing out from the crowd.

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So if you aspire to lead change in the education sector and make a difference in the lives of millions of students who go through the primary and secondary school system, then you could become a chief school administrator.




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