Month: December 2020

Superintendent of Schools Interview Questions

Below are the kind of questions you will be asked as part of the interview process for the position of Superintendent of Schools. Do you need help in effectively responding to these and other challenging questions? Consider being coached.

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

Dr. Larry Aronstein is a retired Superintendent of Schools who has confidentially coached scores of central office administrators land their jobs. He can help you. http://www.larryaronstein.com

Can You Be Over-Prepared for an Interview?

Can you be over-prepared for an interview? The answer is NO. Being carefully and thoroughly prepared is an important key to successfully giving an outstanding interview. Being well prepared includes: (1) building self-confidence; (2) demonstrating to the interviewers that you’ve done your homework; (3) and providing well-constructed evidence that you have mastered the knowledge, attitudes and skills that they are seeking in a top candidate. What can you do so that you do not come off as sounding rehearsed? How can you prepare yourself? How do you know if you’re well prepared?

  • Practice how not to come off as sounding rehearsed—Your tone should be conversational. Slow down your speaking pace. Speak directly to the question; do not go off on tangents. Eliminate using excessive verbiage and jargon. Listen to the entire question and do not start answering before the questioner has stopped talking. Briefly pause before you speak. Thoughtful people think before they speak. If you manage to do all of these things, you will come off sounding more natural.
  • Be prepared– Preparation has to do with taking a deep dive into all of the information you can gather about the town, district, school, school leadership, and school priorities and issues from a wide variety of sources. Try to anticipate areas or themes of questioning derived from the job posting and your research. Craft thoughtful answers and rehearse your responses. Time the length of your responses; keep your answers down to two minutes. Get high quality feedback from knowledgeable and a trusted mentor and coach. Based on feedback, carefully fine tuning your answers.
  • Am I fully prepared—Do you remember the saying, “The proof is in the pudding”? If you have a pattern of getting interviews but are failing to move more deeply into the process, then you probably are not adequately prepared. You can waste years in your job search trying to figure out what went wrong and attempting to make adjustments by self-diagnosing and “self-modifying” your answers based on shreds of incomplete feedback, and well -intended advice.  In other words, using “trial and error”. Be careful about getting too many opinions. Opinions are often contradictory, and it will be confusing. The answer is to find yourself an experienced coach. A good coach can evaluate your answers, help give you clarity, and remediate your approach to interviewing.

An interviewer once challenged me during an interview that I had anticipated his questions and that my answers appeared to be well rehearsed. Somehow I found the presence of mind to respond this way: “Assuming that you’re right, I would think you’d conclude that my ability to anticipate your questions were impressive pieces of research and thinking, and I assume you want well-prepared  and smart leaders working for you.” The result was that I was moved on to the next stage of the process. There is no downside in being “over-prepared”.

Dr. Larry Aronstein coaches school leaders and aspiring leaders in preparing for interviews and in the preparation of resumes. Learn more about him by visiting www.larryaronstein.com