Month: November 2018

SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

1. How would you provide leadership in order to improve learning and teaching?
2. How do you go about building support from constituencies?
3. What do you anticipate being the most difficult types of problems that you will face in our district?
4. How would you go about effectively dealing with an angry hostile crowd that shows up to a public meeting?
5. What process will you use to build an effective leadership team?
6. How might you go about succession planning?
7. What strategies would you use when response to a crisis?
8. What steps do you go through in developing a District Budget?
9. Assume that there is a serious need to improve buildings and grounds, how would you go about Capital Improvement Planning?
10. What is your approach to effectively evaluate teachers and principals resulting in their professional growth and development?
11. Outline your Entry Plan for your 1st hundred days
12. What qualities do you look for in teaching and administrative candidates?
13. How do you build strong and trusting Board-Superintendent Relationships?
14. How do you decide what you will communicate to your Board?
15. Describe the process you use in building consensus with school board members.
16. How do you go about making visits to schools?
17. Describe the process you use in communicating with school leaders and Central Office
18. How do you teach and mentor school leaders?
19. What functions or problems should the Superintendent personally take charge?
20. What criteria do in use in tenure decisions?
21. What process do you use in developing annual district goals?
22. What role do you play in negotiations with various unions?
23. How do you determine when it is necessary to communicate with school legal counsel?
24. How do you handle Superintendent Hearings?
25. How do you prefer to develop Agendas for Board Meetings?
26. What should be the role of the Board President?
27. What is your role in dealing with grievances?
28. How do you deal with conducting investigations of wrong doing?
29. How do you prefer that the Board do your Superintendent Evaluation?
30. Walk through the steps of developing and putting up a Bond Issue
31. How do you go about deciding on a Snow Day?
32. What is your approach to dealing with the Union Leaders?
33. How transparent is your approach to “transparency”?
34. How do you go about building morale?
35. Taking a long-term view, how do you go about Sustaining Positive Change?
36. Describe your Decision-Making Process
37. Tell us about an unpopular decision you made? What did you learn from it?
38. Tell us about any innovations you brought about in the area of School Security and Public Safety
39. How do you develop positive relations with Police and Fire Officials?
40. What creative ideas do you have about maintaining positive public image for the district?
41. How will you make yourself more accessible to your publics?
42. How will you deal with “special requests and favors” from “entitled” constituents?
43. How do you deal with disloyal school leaders who speak ill of your leadership?
44. What would you do if you strongly disagreed with a decision of the Board?
45. How long do you expect to remain in the district?
46. What are professional or personal issues that are non-negotiable?
47. How do you deal with free speech and student publications?
48. What is your vision of the role of technology?
49. How do you deal with the ever-rising costs of special education?
50. What do you consider to be your three great professional accomplishments?
51. Do you have ideas about cost savings?

TEN RULES ON HOW NOT TO MESS UP YOUR INTERVIEW

1. Don’t talk too much. Answer each question within two to two and one-half minutes. Give one good example. The panel is working within a tight schedule. Nobody likes a chatter box. If they want to hear more, they will ask you to elaborate.
2. Answer the question. Stick to the interviewers’ questions. Stay on topic. Panelists commonly ask the same questions to every candidate in order to compare answers. Be careful about getting on a roll and going off on tangents which might result in not answering the question. Not answering the question will be noticed.
3. Never fake an answer. If you’re asked about something that you don’t know, simply admit that you don’t know. Nobody likes a faker. You should add, “I don’t know the answer to that, but I am a quick learner, and will learn whatever I need to know in order to get the job done.” If you don’t understand the question, it’s acceptable to say that you don’t understand the question and ask if they can repeat or rephrase it.
4. Don’t overdo It. Laughing too long and too loudly at a joke that’s not all that funny, becoming overly enthusiastic about one of your own answers, being argumentative and emphatic about a minor issue, are all examples of “over doing it.” Professionals maintain an even keel. Act like an adult. Being over-the-top just raises eye brows and generates side glances.
5. Direct yourself to the whole table. In a group interview, you have to try to please everyone who’s sitting around the table. You can’t afford to please administrators but alienate the teachers. Seek out the middle ground and demonstrate your diplomatic skills. As you speak, slowly look at all of the panelists.
6. Don’t misrepresent yourself. With the availability of Google, Facebook, and on-line newspapers, it is pretty easy to check out your background. Stretching the truth or misrepresenting yourself and being found out is fatal. The regional educational community is a small circle. You will be checked out.
7. Say calm. Don’t expect that every answer will be a homerun. Try not to get rattled if your answer to a question is weak. As the song says, “Just keep on keepin’ on!” Interviewers are people too. They know that you’re nervous, and they are forgiving. They will recognize it if you redeem yourself by giving a strong response to the next question.
8. Act like a guest. I’ve witnessed candidates come into the room and move their table and chair to be closer to the panel. I’ve encountered several candidates who became insistent about setting up a PowerPoint presentation, even after they were told not to do so. Most commonly, there are candidates who drone on and on, despite being told, “Thank you. Now, let’s go on to the next question.” You’re not throwing the party. Act like a guest.
9. Be respectful. No matter how disrespected or provoked you might feel, always remain respectful. As a candidate, I have sat out in a waiting room for up to an hour and a half. I have been asked to do a writing sample, even though I’ve been published dozens of times and written a doctoral dissertation. A questioner has even criticized my current employer. Through it all, hold your tongue, smile, and be polite. Don’t be combative.
10. Leave your baggage home. Question: “What do you expect from us in order for you to be successful?” The best response would be to say, “I work best as a member of a mutually supportive team.” Unfortunately, I’ve actually had candidates say, “My last boss was verbally abusive, I could not work under those conditions.” Another response was, “I need to have flexibility. As a parent, I must be home by 4:30, and I can’t attend evening functions.” Don’t put up obstacles, and don’t present yourself as someone who may be difficult to deal with.
The best advice that anyone can give you is to just be yourself, let them know who you are and what you stand for, speak from the heart, and be appropriate.

Dr. Aronstein provides one-on-one coaching which prepares you for interviews, and helps you prepare your resume. Find out more– www. larryaronstein.com