Newman University announces new program to train educators for district positions

Feb 15, 2015

Newman University is now accepting applications for the first cohort of its new District Leadership Licensure Program. The program is being offered for the first time Fall 2015.

The master’s degree level curriculum received approval by the Kansas Board of Education in January. Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Education John Burke, Ph.D. researched and helped create the program.

“I wanted to give students across the state of Kansas the opportunity to access a high quality, five course program that would lead to them getting district level licensure,” Burke said, “There are similar programs around but this being a program that would take a year or less, and it would be fairly economical (makes it unique).”

The 15 credit-hour curriculum provides an opportunity for persons who have completed a Building Leadership program to participate in advanced graduate training. The licensure program will qualify individuals for positions such as superintendent, assistant superintendent, special education director, or other district-wide positions.

The program is designed to provide ultimate flexibility for the student. All 8-week course are taught within a varied delivery model that includes face-to-face, video conferencing, and online modules.

Gina Marx, Ed.D., director of Newman’s Graduate Education Program and assistant professor of education, touts the program’s focus on helping students overcome the particular personal challenges they face as adult learners.

“We are outcomes based, which means we care more about candidates’ learning, and have flexible deadlines,” Marx said, “These innovative methods, with timely and rich feedback, are the hallmarks of Newman’s outcome based “personal touch” program.”

Classes in the program include Leadership for Learning, Leadership for Special Programs, Leadership for Business Management, The District Leader, and the District Leadership Practicum.

Marx believes this licensure serve an important need in the education community and she is excited to be able to add this quality graduate level curriculum at Newman University.

“(The program is) unique in that we provide two simulated online School Superintendent Assessment opportunities and provide rich data analysis to help prepare students to successfully complete their praxis exam to be able to apply for their PreK-12 District Leadership license,” Marx explained. “We do this in our Building Leadership program as well and have a 100% pass rate, and student’s average in the 180’s (165 is required to pass).”

In addition to the five eight-week courses, candidates must successfully complete the School Superintendent Assessment (SSA) praxis to apply for PreK-12 District Leadership licensure. The SSA is based on the Interstate School Leadership Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) leadership standards regarding the knowledge, performance, and dispositions necessary for a district level position.

Marx gives credit to Burke for developing the program.

“One thing Dr. Burke is particularly proud of is, as he has studied other programs across the state (offered by other universities) there was not a single program that had a course in it with the word ‘learning’ and he said, ‘you know, that’s kind of what superintendents are there for’”, Marx said, “He’s very proud of one of the first courses in the program is called ‘Leadership for Learning.’”

Burke indicated the new District Leadership Licensure Program will be accessible to every educator in Kansas.

“It’s going to be sensational; you want to be in the first cohort,” Burke added.

For more information about the program visit: