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N.J. Adopts Alternative Route for Superintendents

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The New Jersey State Board of Education last week unanimously approved new regulations that will allow candidates without prior experience in education to become certified as school superintendents.

The revised standards are modeled after the state's new certification rules for principals, which include a pilot program that will allow 50 people with no previous experience in education to become principals by 1992. (See Education Week, Sept. 14, 1988.)

The standards for superintendents will take effect in September 1992. The regulations governing certification of principals took effect this month.

Both sets of guidelines require candidates to have a master's degree in a managerial field, such as educational, business, or public administration.

They also require candidates to pass a written examination and an evaluation of their managerial skills at a state assessment center. Then they must complete an individualized "pre-residency" induction program and a supervised internship under the guidance of mentors to become eligible for permanent state certification.

Unlike the standards for princials, the revised certification requirements for superintendents place no limit on the number of candidates from fields outside of education who can seek jobs as superintendents.

But prospective superintendents who have no teaching experience will focus on teaching during their 300-hour induction program. Those seeking to become principals without prior teaching experience are required to teach for one period a day during their two-year residencies. The New Jersey Association of School Administrators and the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association both opposed the provisions of the new certification standards allowing non-educators to seek jobs as superintendents.

But the n.j.p.s.a. supported the Lother provisions of the new standards, such as the internship, according to Walter Chesner, the organization's associate executive director.

Persons who were already certified as principals before Sept. 1 also will be required to serve a residency if they have not previously worked in jobs that require such certification.

To date, no school district has hired a principal with no prior education experience, according to Leo Klagholz, director of the state division of teacher preparation and certification. Two districts have hired principals with teaching experience who were certified under the new rules.

About 50 non-educators have ap plied to the state to become princi pals, Mr. Klagholz said. They must complete their degree requirements and pass the written examination be fore being allowed to seek jobs as prin cipals. The remaining requirements would be fulfilled after hiring.--ab

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