Month: March 2023


The screening interview, the committee interview, the central office interview and the board of education interview are the typical stages in the series of interviews that a candidate for a leadership position must face. Each of these interviews is unique by nature. The differences pertain to the goals, length, composition and number of interviewers, the substance of the questions, and the form of the interactions. The interviewing process can be perceived as a sports analogy. In basketball for instance, the first quarter strategy is often characterized as getting off to a fast offense start, during half-time the team makes adjustments to their strategy, at the end of a close game the strategy often evolves into a tight defensive game. In other words, the nature of the interviewing process evolves, and the candidate’s approach must adapt in order to continue to be successful and move on to the next phase.

One of the most frequent comments I hear from clients is, “I do well on my first interview, but seldom do I move beyond that in the process”. The reason for that is that most candidates are unprepared to make adjustments. Strategies that work early in the process such as making a good initial impression, demonstrating knowledge of the school-community, exuding self-confidence and positive energy are all approaches that make you successful at the initial phase. Demonstrating good judgement, a strong set of pedagogical knowledge and skills, and a sensitivity to understanding diverse stakeholders’ views in dealing with controversies are examples of strategies that work in the middle of the process. Finally, the ability to assure school leaders that you are a good fit in the leadership team and your ability to close the deal are essential at the end of the process.

Your skillfulness in making these adjustments is the key to your success in getting the job. Navigating this journey on a trial and error basis can turn into a long, disappointing and frustrating process. Consider the reality that you need guidance, like any other trips into unfamiliar territories. Wherever you are in the world, I’m just a phone call away. I can be your coach.



The Cover Letter

A cover letter is always required, unfortunately cover letters are seldom carefully read and there’s a good chance that it might never be read. Yet, you should develop the best one that you can. Here are guidelines and an effective template you might use.

General Guidelines:

  1. Keep the letter to one page.
  2. Carefully proofread for any mechanical errors—spelling, punctuation, grammar, word choice, capitalization, complete sentences. Have a colleague who has excellent writing skills proofread.
  3. Avoid adjectives and adverbs. Avoid flowery language (“It is with great pleasure that you kindly accept this humble letter of application for your recently posted position on OLAS for elementary school assistant principal.”) This should read: “I am applying for your assistant principal position.”
  4. After researching the school and district, identify what they need, and let them know that you represent the solutions to their needs.
  5. Emphasize your accomplishments, particularly those that are related to their school-community.
  6. Avoid presenting your job description.
  7. Address your letter to the person identified in the job posting. If a name is not identified, then address it: “To Whom It May Concern:”
  8. Make certain that you address it to the right district. You will usually send a similar form of the letter to various districts, so be careful to change the name when addressing the new letter.
  9. Use a four-paragraph format.
  10. Sign off as “Sincerely”.

Paragraph 1:

  1. “I am applying for the position of______________.”
  2. “For the last five years I have been serving as ____________ in the ____________School District.
  3. “As a result of researching your school/district, it appears that one of your priorities is _________________. One of my most significant accomplishments involved______________ which seems to be related to your priority.”
  4. “I earned my _____________________________. “(list your academic degrees, major areas of study, and the universities)
  5. Specifically indicate why you are interested in applying for this position. Why are you attracted to this job and this school-community? Be positive.

Paragraph 2:

  1. Briefly describe two or three other accomplishments that relate to this new position and/or school-community.

Paragraph 3:

        Identify three professional qualities and/or guiding principles that colleagues would use to describe you and define you, and briefly provide an example for each quality.

Paragraph 4:

     Briefly conclude with two sentences: “I look forward to meeting with you in the near future in order that I might provide you with more information regarding my candidacy. Thank you in advance for your serious consideration.”

Sign off: “Sincerely,”


Contact him:


Improvement of Job Performance:
1. How would you deal with a staff member who is either continuously late to work or excessively absent?
2. Please outline the process for evaluating teachers that you believe to be most effective.
3. Identify the essential elements of a plan for improvement for teachers whose performance is not satisfactory.
4. A teacher who has been employed by the district for many years is not performing
satisfactorily…how would you proceed?
5. A popular teacher is doing an outstanding job. How would you approach the required evaluation of this employee?
6. Describe reliable indicators of an effective classroom.
7. What have you done to assist a teacher in improving his/her areas of weakness and supporting his/her strengths?

Multi-Cultural Diversity:
1. How would you effectively promote or facilitate multicultural environment?
2. Cite specific examples where you have initiated programs and opportunities to meet the diversified needs of students.
3. How have/will you promote multi-cultural awareness and appreciation for diversity?
4. Share your experiences in meeting the needs of a culturally diverse student body.
5. What are your visions on multi-cultural education? How have/would you include this in the average operation of a school?
6. What strategies have you used to bring about unity and to increase inclusiveness in ethnically and economically diverse student populations?
7. What strategies have you utilized to increase student achievement of minority students where that has been a concern?

Exceptional Educational Needs:
1. What do you see as regular education’s core in servicing special education students?
2. What are your experiences and beliefs about fulfilling the needs of special education students?
3. What are your experiences and beliefs about fulfilling the needs of students at risk?
4. Describe your experiences in developing school programs for students with special needs.

Leadership Qualities:
1. Why would you like to be a (principal)?
2. What qualities do you consider essential for an effective (principal)?
3. Share the details of the implementation process by which you introduced an innovative practice in your current building/district.
4. What is your vision for this building/district in the next decade?
5. Describe how you prepare for and spend a typical workday.
6. What leadership attributes do you believe to be your strengths? Cite examples in which you demonstrated these qualities.
7. What are some beliefs and practices related to education administration which you absolutely will not compromise? Cite examples where you held to these beliefs and practices in the face of adversity.
8. How do you initiate/facilitate change? Cite an example.
9. Highlight the basic elements of delegation and share an example of how you typically delegate responsibilities.
10. How do you get staff members excited about new ideas/changes?
11. How do you motivate staff members?
12. What are the most important functions of an administrator in this position?
13. What are appropriate organizations/community activities for an administrator in this position?
14. If you were observed in your normal workday, what would be seen which would help to understand your leadership style?
15. What is your vision for your school/position? What special talents do you bring to facilitate this vision?
16. How have you provided educational leadership for classroom teachers?

Student Discipline:
1. What role should a principal take in regard to student discipline?
2. When is it appropriate for the principal to intervene in a student disciplinary concern?
3. Describe the process or system you believe to be most effective in addressing student discipline.
4. What techniques for managing children’s behavior have you used?


1. What type of relationship would you establish with the employees you supervise?
2. How have/would you encourage the involvement of parents and community members in the educational process?
3. How have/would you promote articulation and cooperation between departments?
4. What are the elements of effective communication?
5. What type of relationship would you like to have with students and staff? How would you develop these relationships?
6. How can cooperation and camaraderie be maintained in spite of competition for limited resources?
7. Please share a time in which you worked with parents and the community in some kind of school-community partnership. What did you do?
8. Just as the student population has become more diverse, so has the parent population. How have/would you make parents feel more a part of their child’s education and increase their level of comfort in a school setting?
9. What role have you taken as an educator and a leader in interacting with the community?
10. Describe a situation in your current position in which you had to deal with a volatile or sensitive encounter concerning a student, staff member, or parent. How was this situation resolved?


1. How have/would you utilize technology to be most effective as an administrator?
2. What new technologies and applications do you foresee for the future of education?
3. How does technology interface with education at this level?

Professional Growth and Development:

1. How have/would you insure an effective staff development program for your staff members?
2. What professional development activities have you pursued in the past year? How have you found them to be beneficial?
3. What are your main goals and aspirations for your professional career?
4. How do you determine your effectiveness as an administrator?
5. How do you balance the demands and stress of education administration with other demands and needs in your life?
6. What are your interests outside of education administration?
7. What is it about being an administrator that brings/will bring you the greatest satisfaction?

Problem Solving/Decision Making:
1. Share your beliefs/experiences with site-based decision making.
2. What areas lend themselves best to site-based decisions and what areas should not be open to a site-based decision-making process?