AASA to Host 7th Urban Superintendents Academy Conference


James Minichello

Gathering involves Howard University, University of Southern California

Alexandria, Va. – Aug. 19, 2021 – With a commitment to bolstering school district leadership in America’s rapidly growing areas, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, in partnership with Howard University and the USC Rossier School of Education, is hosting its seventh annual Urban Superintendents Academy (virtual) Conference, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021.

Featured speakers for the event, entitled, Bold Leadership: Leadership, Equity, Accountability and Disruption, include Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at the Howard University School of Communications, and Erin Jones, former assistant state superintendent for student achievement in Washington state.

Participants of the superintendents panel, which will focus on urban leadership, will include:

  • Vivian Ekchian, Glendale (Calif.) Unified School District
  • Michael Hinojosa, Dallas (Texas) Independent School District
  • Avis Williams, Selma (Ala.) City Schools

“This program offers opportunities for educational leaders to become involved in a network of support, mentoring and professional development related to the challenges facing the 21st-century urban leader,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “We are grateful for our continuing partnership with Howard University and USC in our efforts to provide sitting and aspiring superintendents with a thorough and visionary program designed to develop and support effective urban leadership for the benefit of students and their families.”

“There has been an enormous amount of talent that has graduated from the Urban Superintendents Academy in our previous six years, and I am so proud that Howard University has been a part of this great movement,” said Dawn Williams, dean, Howard University School of Education. “More importantly, those who have successfully completed the program have made significant impacts in their school communities. This past school year has presented educators with new challenges and opportunities, which is why I am pleased to welcome the seventh cohort of outstanding educational leaders to this exciting program.”

“More than 50 percent of children in our public schools today are children of color and more than 50 percent of children in our public schools are children in poverty. We must find the leadership that truly understands the kinds of demographics in our communities,” said Pedro Noguera, dean, USC Rossier School of Education. “I am so proud to join Howard University and AASA in our efforts to build leadership in our urban school settings on behalf of the next generation of children.”

Specific goals applicable to the program include:

  • Prepare for and successfully acquire a position as an urban superintendent;
  • Delineate and apply key skills of 21st-century leadership;
  • Address critical problems and issues facing all urban superintendents today in a strategic and creative way; and
  • Deal effectively and creatively with community relations and politics in the urban setting

“The Urban Superintendents Academy is the ideal solution for honoring and building the equity-driven leadership skills that we need to create the changes necessary to have a positive impact on communities across the country,” added Williams.

The program brings the most effective and inspiring thought leader practitioners to serve as instructors, mentors and presenters. The Howard University and USC cohorts will engage in virtual site visits and develop capstone projects, action plans, resources and other publications that will be shared with AASA members and other administrators. Click here to view Friday’s agenda.

For more information about the AASA Urban Superintendents Academy, visit the AASA website. For questions, contact Mort Sherman, AASA associate executive director, Leadership Network, at msherman@aasa.org.


About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit www.aasa.org.