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First-Time Superintendents Academy

TASA’s First-Time Superintendents Academy (FTSA) — the go-to training for beginning Texas superintendents for decades — has been designed around the most important learning outcomes for first- and second-year superintendents. Led by TASA Deputy Executive Director and former superintendent Dr. Jill Siler, this academy is designed to support the ever-changing role of those leading school districts today.

FTSA Fulfills State Requirements for Superintendent Mentoring

As an FTSA participant, you will automatically be part of  TASA’s Superintendent Mentoring Program, which encourages deeper connections and engagement between FTSA participants and mentor superintendents trained to provide effective mentoring. Your participation in FTSA and the mentorship program will fulfill State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) requirements for a one-year mentorship that includes at least 36 hours of professional development and contact with a mentor at least once monthly. Note that your mentorship must be completed within 18 months of employment in the superintendency. There is no charge to participate in the TASA Mentoring Program.

(TASA also offers mentoring and coaching to first-time superintendents who aren’t participating in FTSA. Contact Jessica Arceneaux at TASA to inquire.)

Receive Six Executive Coaching Sessions at No Additional Charge!

Additionally, as an FTSA participant, you will have the opportunity to take part in the TASA Executive Coaching Network at no additional cost! We strategically pair first-time superintendents with experienced executive coaches (most are current or former school superintendents) who are trained to guide you through a thought-provoking and creative coaching process.

Together, you’ll identify strategic goals, develop actionable plans, enhance your leadership practices, and unlock your full potential. Through the coaching process, you will learn how to show up as the best version of yourself, maximize your impact in your district community, and achieve higher levels of fulfillment in all aspects of your life.

Upcoming Events

About the First-Time Superintendent Academy

Session 1

Understanding the Dynamics of Your District, Community, and Board | July 24-25, 2024

Learn strategies for gaining a better understanding of the dynamics of your new district, including the logistics of working with your school board and assessing the district’s financial situation. Connect with mentors and formulate a plan for the first 90 days of the school year. Session 1 includes a special kick-off dinner and reception.

Session 2

Establishing Leadership and Prioritizing Change | September 4-5, 2024

Dive into prioritizing the needs of your new district, the most effective board practices, and shaping the narrative about your district through public relations. Begin work on a portfolio of supportive evidence for your superintendent’s evaluation. Includes a reception/dinner on Day 1.

Session 3

Advocating for Your District, Your Students, and Yourself | November 6-7, 2024

Check in on the success of your 90-day plan, find out what you need to know about advocacy at the state level, and dig into superintendent contract issues, the superintendent evaluation instrument, and managing crisis through communication. Continue work on your portfolio. Includes a reception/dinner on Day 1.

Session 4

Setting Direction for Your District | February 19-20, 2025

Focus on finance and end-of-year issues, learn about engaging your board in school transformation, and setting a vision and direction as superintendent. Create a plan for moving into the next school year. Includes a reception/dinner on Day 1.

Bonus Session

Participants also have the opportunity to meet and engage with others during the Inspiring Leaders Luncheon during the TASA Midwinter Conference in January in Austin. (Separate conference fee applies.)

Each event is hosted at the Austin Marriott North 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Day 1, with a reception and dinner from 5-7 p.m., and 7:30-11:30 a.m. on Day 2.


School Year Start/End – Learn how to handle both the beginning and end of a school year – from the mechanics of orchestrating convocation and graduation to the broader work of establishing leadership strategy and planning for changes in the district.

Vision & Communication – Vision and communication is key. Learn how to go about determining district beliefs and values, adopting a vision and goals, and prioritizing and responding to district and community needs. But first – learn how to gain trust and garner respect!

District Finances – Find out everything you didn’t know you needed to know about your district’s financial situation – from how to determine its financial status to establishing a budget and setting a tax rate and synthesizing multiple data points to inform district stakeholders about the financial outlook.

School Board Relations – Understand the logistics of working with a school board as well as the ins and outs of the superintendent/school board relationship – from the basics of setting an agenda and understanding the purpose of executive sessions to establishing two-way communication with your board, creating/revising procedures, and assessing the effectiveness of board practices. Learn how to develop your “Team of 8!”

Superintendent’s Contract & Evaluation – Dive into the superintendent’s contract and evaluation, learning how to collaboratively set annual priorities, select or develop an evaluation instruction, and create a portfolio of supportive evidence for your evaluation. Learn how to advocate for yourself!

Public Relations – Get a crash course on public relations! Learn how to establish a relationship with local media and your community, leverage social media, highlight the successes of your faculty and staff, manage crisis through communication, keep your community informed, and create an inclusive culture.

Advocacy – Find out why advocacy at the state and local levels is important and how you can advocate productively for your district and for pro-public education policies at the state level.

Expert Speakers

Each FTSA session provides new superintendents with the opportunity to learn from some of the state’s most experienced, effective, and respected superintendents.


Online Resource Repository

Participants also have full access to an online repository of exemplars for all of the topics covered (board goals, priorities, and operating procedures; superintendent evaluation tools; communication samples, and more).

Housing for FTSA

All four sessions of FTSA are held at the Marriott Austin North at 2600 La Frontera Boulevard in Round Rock, Texas. A housing block has been reserved for each session. Click on “Learn More” for the session you are attending (see above) to access a housing reservation link.

2024-25 Rates for FTSA

TASA member: full, four-session academy $845
Non-member: full, four-session academy $945
Individual sessions $295 each

If you register for the full, four-session academy, but you find you cannot attend one of the sessions, please contact Maria Cruz to find out how to attend the session during the next school year. If you cancel, you must cancel the full, four-session academy. See the TASA Event Cancellation Policy.

First-Time Superintendents Academy Leader

Jill Siler

Jill Siler

Jill Siler served as the superintendent of Gunter ISD from 2012 to 2021, when she joined the full-time TASA staff as deputy executive director, professional learning.

Prior to joining the TASA staff, she chaired TASA’s Future-Ready Superintendent Leadership Network (FRSLN) Design Team, which brings together innovative leaders from across the state to learn, share, and grow together. She was also a member of the TASA 2025 Task Force, which helped launch the redesign of this academy.

Jill has a passion for helping others reach their goals and has been a frequent speaker at TASA’s Aspiring Superintendent Academy and First-Time Superintendents Academy, as well as the Texas Council of Women School Executives (TCWSE) Annual Conference and other leadership conferences.

She published her first book in 2020, focused on thriving through the most difficult moments of leadership. Her writing and other resources helpful to aspiring leaders can be found at

2024-25 FTSA Sponsors

CPE Hours

The First-Time Superintendents Academy offers up to 48 hours of Continuing Professional Education credit.


Maria Cruz

Learning & Events