Allen Wilson

AU's School Superintendent Licensure program helps lead to CEO job at iSTEM School

Published on July 03, 2024
Ashland University

On the advice of one of his mentors, Allen Wilson decided to earn a school superintendent license from Ashland University.

“He pointed out that with the license I would be open to more administrative opportunities not just as a superintendent,” Wilson said about that mentor, former superintendent of Tri-County Educational Service Center, Eugene Linton.

One of those opportunities is his most recent position at RG Drage Career Center in Canton as tech supervisor and pupil services director, where he manages a staff of 80 and oversees an $11 million budget.

Come Aug. 1, he will start a job with superintendent in the title as the CEO and superintendent of Painesville-based iSTEM School.

“I am looking forward to the next phase of my career with iSTEM,” Wilson said. “We have a great board, and they are invested. We are also preparing for some major advances with facilities and programming.

“There is going to be a major demand for STEM-related careers in the years to come and I am excited to help students prepare for that,” Wilson added.

Many of the things he learned during his School Superintendent Licensure program at AU helped him reach this next phase of his career, said Wilson, who earned his license in 2013.

“The program definitely taught me the nuts-and-bolts aspects, but there was also an element of the value of people,” Wilson said. “It can be a job, or it can be an opportunity for service.”

Wilson really liked the flexibility of the program.

“As a parent working a full-time job, it was really helpful to have that,” Wilson said. “I know there were a few instances where I had a work commitment that conflicted with class and the instructors were great at working around that. AU has always had a strong reputation for its education programs and my instructors were either current superintendents or had recently retired so they brought a lot of credibility.

“I think AU saw the benefits in having experienced leaders serve as the instructors,” Wilson added.

Networking with fellow school administrators was another thing he liked about AU’s superintendent licensure program. Not only did several of them teach the courses, but many were also in his cohort.

Because of the program’s design, Wilson has been able to connect with other area administrators and go back to the relationships he developed to reach out to them for career advice.

“It’s been amazing how you seem to circle back and end up working with familiar names,” Wilson said.

AU also helped evolve Wilson’s leadership style to a more relational style.

“We work in a people-driven business, so developing genuine professional relationships can make a huge impact,” Wilson said. “I was all about theories and great ideas from leadership books, but listening to instructors who did the work every day helped change that.”

Wilson said he continually meets people around the state who have earned their administrative licenses from AU.

“What that means to me is that AU has a large footprint statewide,” he said. “People are familiar with the reputation and trust it. AU continues to evolve with the changes in the field.”