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C.A.S. in School District Business Leadership

The School of Education and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs offer you the opportunity to help shape the future of public education by becoming a school district business leader, responsible for overseeing most non-instructional functions of public school districts and ensuring that those functions support the core educational objectives of a school system.

As a graduate of the Certificate of Advanced Study in School District Business Leadership (SDBL) program, you will have met all the requirements to receive New York State certification as a School District Business Leader, as well as the professional preparation standards for school business management of the national Association of School Business Officials (ASBO).

School district business leaders are typically the chief financial officer of school districts and manage a broad range of non-instructional functions, such as budgeting and finance, information technology, procurement, human resource management and labor negotiations, facilities management, food service and transportation. The SDBL program provides candidates with state-of-the-art preparation in the organization, leadership, and management of all these functions. The program also provides candidates a general background in educational leadership and administration so they can support other school district leaders and personnel in providing an environment in which all children can thrive and reach high levels of academic achievement.

The Syracuse University SDBL CAS program is unique in New York State in that it combines the strengths of nationally recognized programs in Education Leadership and Public Administration. The program draws on the expertise in educational leadership from faculty of the School of Education and expertise in school finance and public management from the faculty in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Program Overview and Requirements

To receive certification as a School District Business Leader a candidate must have 60 graduate credits, a masters degree, and successful completion of a state-administered examination in School District Business Leadership. The program-of-study for SDBL certification at Syracuse University includes required courses accounting for 37 graduate credits (see Courses below). The number of courses that a candidate will be required to take will depend on their previous graduate experience. Decisions on a candidate’s program-of-study will be determined by the program faculty at the time of admissions to the program. We expect that for the typical candidate they will require significantly less than 37 credits for completion of the SDBL certification program.

  • The program is designed so that MPA candidates can earn both an MPA and receive SDBL Certification in two years.
  • For practicing school administrators or public administrators, the program could be completed in two years of part-time enrollment.

Program Goals

Our overall purpose is to ensure that every individual who graduates from the Syracuse University’s School District Business Leadership preparation program will (a) have the breadth and depth of knowledge to effectively manage all school district business operations; b) have the technical training to manage a diverse set of technical specialists ranging from accountants to information technology specialists; (c) have an understanding of financial control systems and the ethical commitment to assist school boards in meeting their fiduciary responsibility; and (d) have the background in education management and leadership to be able to assist the superintendent of schools in providing a learning environment that focuses on success for all students.

The SDBL CAS program at Syracuse University also provides rigorous training in a range of skills required for effective leadership of educational organizations:

  • Strong written and oral communication skills are essential to be an effective school district business leader. The coursework required for the program stresses oral and written communication skills through numerous written assignments and oral presentations.
  • The program emphasizes the importance of long-term strategic planning, developed through a collaborative process with key stakeholders, as the foundation of effective leadership. School district business leaders play a particularly important role in strategic planning since they will be responsible for long-range financial forecasts for the school district.
  • Effective leadership can help an organization move away from simply reacting to crises to a more proactive management approach that focuses on accountability for accomplishment of long-term goals. Courses in education leadership and public management examine factors affecting organizational change and innovation and the role educational leaders can play in the development of an organizational culture that encourages accountability, collaboration, and organizational learning.
  • Candidates will be required to take coursework in personnel management and labor-management relations, which stresses that effective leadership in organizations of skilled professionals, such as teachers, involves a collaborative decision-making process, rather than traditional hierarchical command-and-control approaches to management.

Program Contact

Michelle Mondo
Email: mrmondo@syr.edu
Phone: 315-443-2685

Ready to apply?

Click here to go  to the Syracuse University online application information page.