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In addition to its education public policy and statewide collaboration work, PSSAM also offers the opportunity for superintendents and those who aspire to become superintendents to learn and grow.

Maryland Superintendents Academy

The Maryland Superintendents Academy (MSA) is a yearlong professional learning experience designed to build the bench of qualified, prepared, and diverse Maryland superintendents. The Academy is Maryland’s first statewide, "grow your own" model intentionally developed by PSSAM in collaboration the Region 4 Comprehensive Center to meet the unique needs of Maryland school district leadership.

Selection Process

Participants undergo a rigorous application and selection process led by a selection committee. All participants must express a strong interest in being a Maryland superintendent, demonstrate effective leadership experience in central office, and commit to completing the Academy. The current cohort of participants consists of 18 participants representing a variety of local education agencies.

Program Overview

Academy participants function as a community of practice, learning from national experts, current and former Maryland superintendents, and other guest speakers. The program consists of both in-person sessions and virtual sessions, job shadowing experiences, and mock interviews. Throughout the yearlong Academy, participants:

  • analyze the disposition and competencies necessary to lead a Maryland rural, urban, and suburban school district

  • analyze shifts in leadership required by the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future

  • participate in a job shadow experience with a current Maryland superintendent

  • receive hands-on training on how to complete the application and interview process

  • learn how to negotiate a superintendent contract

  • analyze school funding formulas and revenue streams

  • learn how to collaborate with local boards, elected officials, and community members,

  • learn how to negotiate and select contracts for transportation, food services, and other items essential for school operations

  • examine effective practices for leading school construction and renovation projects,

  • analyze strategies to reduce achievement gaps for English learners, students with disabilities, and historically marginalized students

  • discuss how to build a district leadership team

  • develop a 100-day plan, and much more



Learn More: Maryland Superintendents Academy One Pager 


Advice for Aspiring Superintendents (From Current Superintendents)

If you are interested in participating in a future Maryland Superintendents Academy, please reach out to your superintendent for more information.

  • Allegany County | Dr. Wendy Main
    Dr. Wendy Main Supervisor of Special Education and Blueprint Coordinator Email | Website
  • Anne Arundel County | Dr. Shannon Pugh
    Dr. Shannon Pugh Director of Community and School Based Programming Email | Website
  • Baltimore City | Sandi Jacobs
    Sandi Jacobs Executive Director for Strategic Resourcing and Blueprint Coordinator Email | Website
  • Baltimore County | Dr. Melissa Lembo Whisted
    Dr. Melissa Lembo Whisted Executive Director, Division of Curriculum and Instruction, Academic Services Email | Website
  • Calvert County | Dr. Joe Sampson
    Dr. Joe Sampson Blueprint Implementation Coordinator Email | Website
  • Caroline County | Dr. Tara Downes
    Dr. Tara Downes Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, Blueprint Implementation Coordinator Email | Website
  • Carroll County | Angie McCauslin
    Angie McCauslin Blueprint Administrator Email | Website
  • Cecil County | Wes Zimmerman
    Wes Zimmerman Director for Education Services Email | Website
  • Charles County | Christina Miller
    Christina Miller Coordinator of District Innovation Email | Website
  • Dorchester County | Regina Teat
    Regina Teat Director of Leadership and School Improvement Email | Website
  • Frederick County | Dr. Sarah Sirgo
    Dr. Sarah Sirgo Chief of Staff, Blueprint Coordinator Email | Website
  • Garrett County | Dr. Nicole Miller
    Dr. Nicole Miller Chief Academic Officer Email | Website
  • Harford County | Katie Ridgway
    Katie Ridgway Director of Strategic Initiatives Email | Website
  • Howard County | Timothy Guy
    Timothy Guy Director of Assessment and Reporting Email | Website
  • Kent County | Thomas Porter
    Thomas Porter Assistant Coordinator of Accountability & Implementation Email | Website
  • Montgomery County | Janine Bacquie
    Janine Bacquie Blueprint Implementation Coordinator Email | Website
  • Prince George's County | Dr. Kara Libby & Dr. Nina Jacks
    Dr. Kara Libby Strategic Initiatives Officer Email | Website Dr. Nina Jacks Project Manager Email
  • Queen Anne's County | Dr. Matthew Kibler
    Dr. Matthew Kibler Director of Accountability and Implementation Email | Website
  • St. Mary's County | Dr. Jeffrey Maher
    Dr. Jeffrey Maher Chief Strategic Officer Email | Website
  • Somerset County | Jill Holland
    Jill Holland Blueprint Implementation Coordinator Email | Website
  • Talbot County | Kristen Tilghman
    Kristen Tilghman Blueprint Implementation Coordinator and Director, Gifted & Talented Educ. Email | Website
  • Washington County | Dr. Kara Burhans
    Dr. Kara Burhans Strategic Iniatives Coordinator Email | Website
  • Wicomico County | Dr. Rick Briggs
    Dr. Rick Briggs Chief Academic Officer Email | Website
  • Worcester County | Dee Shorts
    Dee Shorts Chief Academic Officer Email | Website

New Superintendents Academy

The New Superintendents Academy is designed to support effective entry and success in the superintendency. The convenings establish a collegial learning network, prepare leaders to proactively address the nuances of Maryland district leadership, and share effective practices for navigating the superintendency.

Selection Process

Participants include first year superintendents from any local education agency in Maryland. 

Program Overview

Each session provides the opportunity for participants to engage in collective problem-solving around real scenarios, reflect on lessons learned, ask questions, and engage with current and former superintendents. The learning plan consists of three sessions.

Session 1

  • Public School Superintendents’ Association of Maryland (PSSAM): Discuss the purpose, power, and partnership of PSSAM.

  • Maryland 101: Discuss the nuances of Maryland school district leadership and review who to know, key dates, events, resources, and key legislation (Blueprint for Maryland’s Future).

  • Lessons Learned from Current Superintendents and Chief Executive Officers: Discuss effective strategies for building and sustaining positive school board relationships.

  • Board Relationships: Discuss effective strategies for building and sustaining positive school board relationships.

Session 2

  • Public School Superintendents’ Association of Maryland (PSSAM): Review and discuss the by-laws for PSSAM.

  • Maryland Open Meetings Act Requirements: Discuss requirements and respond to scenarios related to the Maryland Open Meetings Act.

  • External Factors That Impact Funding and Budgeting: Discuss budget timelines, fund balance, process for public input on budgets, impact of enrollment on budgets, and impact of “hold harmless” from the last two school years.

  • Resources: Review and discuss resources that are available for superintendents from the following organizations: Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE); ASA, The School Superintendents Association; Maryland Negotiation Service (MNS); and Maryland Association of School Business Officials (ASBO).

Session 3

  • Training for School Boards: Review and discuss training provided by the Maryland Association for Boards of Education (MABE) for school board members.

  • Establishing and Sustaining Positive Board Relationships: Discuss effective strategies for working with boards of education.

  • Maryland Law: Learn the nuances of how laws are established in Maryland.

  • Navigating the Political Landscape: Explore strategies to successfully support navigating the political landscape.

AASA National Conference on Education

The National Conference on Education, presented by AASA, the national School Superintendents Association, is the premier professional development and networking event for school superintendents and administrators.


Many of Maryland’s Superintendents travel each year to this conference to hear from educational leaders who are championing our nation’s school systems and take home new ideas and approaches to invigorate Maryland’s local school system. With more than 3,000 superintendents attending from around the country, Maryland’s superintendents have the opportunity to network with industry professionals and learn more about solutions for improving equity, student outcomes, school system performance, and so much more.


Visit the AASA website to learn more about its conference and other professional development opportunities.

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