Students in classes

AASA-USC Urban Superintendents Academy

This program is designed for aspiring and current education leaders working in our nation’s most complex urban districts.

The AASA-USC Rossier Urban Superintendents Academy is a program designed to support current and aspiring superintendents as they navigate the complexities of equity-centered leadership in school districts. Participants gain the knowledge, insights, skills and practices needed to make a lasting meaningful impact as superintendent. The USC Rossier Urban Superintendents Academy reflects the commitment of Dean Pedro Noguera and our team of veteran faculty to prepare current and future superintendents to thrive in their roles as breakthrough leaders. Led by experienced superintendent Dr. Maria Ott, you are invited to join the Academy and bring your innovative thinking, your experiences as a problem-solver and your vision for a high performing system to engage in learning with other leaders.

Program Overview

If you are considering a position where you will be asked to provide leadership in a school district that serves communities with diverse populations and broad socio-economic representation, you are the person this program is designed to develop and support. You will learn how to improve communication with and management of your teachers, fellow administrators, students, parents and the community as a whole.

When you join the Urban Superintendents Academy you will:

  • Receive coaching and mentorship from practitioners who have had successful careers in complex districts
  • Practice and receive feedback on leading courageous conversations with school boards and other key stakeholders
  • Develop a network of professional colleagues with a common goal of improving education through an equity framework
  • Receive job placement support, including direct access to search firm representatives who will support your job search efforts
  • Receive Urban Superintendent Certification jointly issued by AASA and USC Rossier School of Education

In August, you are invited to attend (virtually or in-person) an Urban Superintendents Academy Kickoff Summit, hosted by AASA, Howard University and USC. You will meet with your colleagues in September 2024 for an in-person two day retreat at the USC University Park Campus. Sessions then meet virtually every other Monday from 4:30PM-6:30PM PST.

In March of 2025, you are expected to meet in person at the AASA NCE pre-session convening held in New Orleans, LA. Costs to attend the pre-session convening are included in your program fee. Costs to attend the actual NCE conference are not included.

Admissions are accepted on a rolling basis with a cap of 25 participants per cohort.

Applications are now being accepted for Cohort 10 for September 2024. Interviews will be scheduled upon application submission.

  • If you wish to have a representative contact you prior to submitting an application, please email Marie Dacumos EdD, Program Administrator at
  • Application are now being accepted. Please click here to apply.
  • Upon receipt of your application, the USC Rossier School of Education will contact you to arrange a phone interview with Faculty Director Maria Ott. The meeting is designed to calibrate expectations for the work commitment and outcomes of the program.

This program will provide our participants with a safe place to learn from experienced and practicing professionals as well as study cutting-edge research-informed data from research experts.

Topics Addressed

  • The Future Face of Public Education and the Urban District

  • The Superintendent and the Elected/Appointed Board

  • Equity, Inclusion, and Cultural Responsiveness

  • Ethical Principles and Professional Norms

  • Caring and Inclusive School Community

  • Unions, Charters, Mayors: How to Lead Through Adversity

  • Operations, Management and the Urban Leaders

  • Becoming an Urban Superintendent

Program Details

Degree Awarded


Estimated Length

9 months



Program Cost

$6500-for AASA members

$7000- for Non AASA members


  • Hybrid

Next Deadline

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with a cap of 25 participants per cohort.

Start Date

September 2024

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People Are Saying


“The readings and discussions of our sessions have afforded me the opportunity to grow and become a more reflective leader. The topics covered and the amazing access to a faculty of practitioners—as well as current leaders as guest speakers—have provided me with a strong foundation going into my first superintendency.

Angelica Ramsey

Superintendent, Midland ISD

Hilda maldonado

"When you become superintendent there’s not really a playbook you can rely on. The Academy talked about the skills a superintendent needs to navigate community, governance and administration and how to do that while keeping students at the center of all your decision-making."

Hilda Maldonado

Superintendent, Santa Barbara Unified School District

Rupak gandhi

"What makes the Urban Superintendents Academy different is a recognition that urban school districts may have different challenges than rural or suburban school districts and each situation requires its own set of solutions and strategic plans.”

Rupak Ghandi

Superintendent, Fargo Public Schools

Contact Us

Marie Dacumos

Dr. Marie Dacumos

Program Administrator