Aspiring Superintendents Workshop 

 Superintendents logo

The Aspiring Superintendent Program represents the commitment of AWSA and WASDA to invite and nurture the development of future school district leaders in Wisconsin.

This effort will result in an ever-growing, high-quality pool of prepared candidates for district administrator positions to ensure that the condition of our profession will continue to improve as we meet the challenges of the future.

This vision will be realized by:

  • Attracting highly motivated, talented, and committed educators to pursue leadership in Wisconsin’s school districts;
  • Supporting principals and other administrators to explore and prepare for service as district administrators; and,
  • Connecting aspiring district administrators with an active network of other future leaders and practicing district administrators for mentoring and guidance.

Potential superintendents are introduced to the profession through a variety of publications, professional development offerings, and networking opportunities. The program addresses the following issues:

  • What superintendents do
  • What it takes to be an effective superintendent and how to know if you are ready
  • What school boards are looking for
  • How the search process unfolds
  • How school boards and candidates work with search consultants
  • Connecting aspiring district administrators with an active network of other future leaders and practicing district administrators for mentoring and guidance
  • Job search, interview strategies, and tips
  • The transition to the superintendency
  • Finding the district that is the right fit for you

The program is led by Joe Schroeder:

Photo of Joe Schroeder

Dr. Joe Schroeder combines successful leadership experience in teaching and administration with a passion for leadership development.  Before joining AWSA as Associate Executive Director in 2012, Dr. Schroeder served five years as Superintendent of the Muskego-Norway School District.  Prior to this, Joe was the Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services in the Elmbrook School District (Brookfield, WI), Principal of Brookfield East High School, Associate Principal and Principal of Evansville High School, and English Teacher at both Menasha and Parker (AZ) High Schools. 

During his 35 years in the field, Joe has been an award-winning teacher, principal, and superintendent.   For example, he was named the 2011 Wisconsin Superintendent of the Year and also received the 2010 AWSA Distinguished Service Award for Contributions to the Profession.  In addition, Joe led Muskego-Norway Schools to Wisconsin Forward Award Mastery Level recognition in 2010, only the third K-12 school district to ever be so honored in this program of organizational quality based on the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence.  

Dr. Schroeder has three degrees from the University of Wisconsin:  BS Secondary Education-English (1988), MS Educational Administration (1995), and PhD Educational Administration (2001).  He also is a 2017 Learning Forward Academy graduate.  Joe and his wife Annie continue a multi-year home renovation of their small farmstead in Waukesha County that is filled with all sorts of critters and which provides “almost endless opportunities for life-long fitness” outside the gym as well as abundant ongoing humility training.  Joe and Annie are celebrating 31 years of marriage and the ongoing developments of their three adult daughters and families— including the exploits of their now walking and talking grandson!

Full Benefits Enrollees of the Aspiring Superintendent Program will receive:

  • A 50% discount to attend any WASDA conference
  • A collection of resources to help through the process of finding and starting your first superintendent job.
  • Networking opportunities with successful superintendents, search consultants, and representatives of preparation programs
  • A job search helpline including resume, contract review, and advice

Further Information

Cost:  AWSA/WASBO/WCASS Member - $104.00      Non Member - $208.00

Date: February 16, 2022, 8:00 am - 3 pm | Hilton Garden Inn, Sun Prairie 

8:00-8:45 Welcome / Envision Yourself in the Role
8:45-9:30 The WI Landscape for Superintendents
9:30-10:15 A Superintendent’s Inbox Activity
10:15-10:30 Break
10:30-12:00 Panel of Superintendents, Within Their First Few Years in the Role
12:00-12:45 Lunch and Networking 
12:45-2:00 Presentation/Q&A with Superintendent Search Firm Consultants
2:15-2:45  Entry Plans - Your First 100 Days
2:45-3:00 Potential Next Steps/Check-in and Debrief
3:00 Adjourn


Full Program of the Days Events:

Click here for the full workshop program.


Click here for the Aspiring Superintendents resource page. 


Joe Schroeder
Associate Executive Director
[email protected] 
Dr. Tonya Olson
Lake Mills Area SD

Jon Bales
Executive Director
[email protected]

Melissa Thompson
Swallow SD
[email protected]


Dr. Demond Means
Wauwatosa SD

Damian LaCroix
Howard-Suamico SD
[email protected]


Dr. Stephen Plank
Burlington Area SD