FENG SHUI YOUR RESUME

For a moment, imagine that your resume is the living room of your home. As your guests enter the room, you want them to immediately focus on those special artifacts that are the centerpieces of your room. The placement of the furniture must be mindfully placed so that they are noticeable and maximize their impact. You want to remove the chachkas, those knickknacks and gaudy items that Aunt Sarah gave you as an engagement gift, that clutter the surfaces, and are distractions. The appearance of the room is a clear and powerful representation of your persona. The design of the room embodies what you are most proud of; how you define yourself. You want it to be inviting; to draw your guests into your home.

Likewise, your resume represents who you are. It should draw in prospective employers. Continuing the metaphor, sometimes an interior designer is employed to maximize the result you desire. It’s okay to have an educational career coach help you feng shui your resume.

Here are tips that you should find helpful while you feng shui your resume so that it provides the right impact:

1. Less Is More—do not overwhelm the reader with superfluous verbiage

2. Focus on Accomplishments; Not a Job Description

3. Lead with Your Strengths (list first—catch attention)

4. Ignore Most Rules (omit objective; determine your own sequence of categories and timeline; keep format simple)

5. Start Bullet Statements with Action Verb (past tense)

6. Emphasize Accomplishments that Match Job Posting (strengths)

7. Wherever possible, quantify your accomplishments and the magnitude of your duties

8. Omit Irrelevant Jobs, Activities and/or Accomplishments unrelated to the position

9. Interests & Activities Can Capture Attention– acting, fitness enthusiast, interesting hobbies (visits to Presidents’ birth sites), cultural travel experiences, speak foreign languages

10. Feng Shui Your Resume—the order and placement of the content counts

11. Adapt Resume for Different Positions (elementary, middle or high school; affluent or blue-collar community; urban, urban-suburban, small town, rural)

12. Set Maximum Number of Bullets—current position no more than 10 bullets; prior positions 7-8 bullets

13. Sweat the Mechanics– spelling, subject-verb agreement, capitalization and punctuation; grammar; word selection; consistent format; readable font size

14. Use a Format that is Logical and Enhances Clarity

15. Cover Letter– 3-4 paragraphs always required but seldom read

16. References upon Request

17. Get Constructive Feedback from school leaders who review resume

18. Never Confuse or Mislead the Reader– clear timeline; short and simple sentences

19. Never Lie

20. TELL YOUR STORY

Dr. Larry Aronstein is a career coach who assists educational leaders, aspiring leaders, and teachers in preparing their resumes and prepping for interviews. Visit www.larryaronstein.com to find out about Dr. Aronstein’s services and ebooks. Contact at larryaronstein@yahoo.com National and International clients are encouraged to seek assistance.

REMOTE COACHING: LESSONS LEARNED

Living through the pandemic has stimulated a shift in how we lead our lives and we do our jobs. As an educational coach who guides school leaders and aspiring learners in preparing resumes, and getting ready for job interviews, I’ve been forced to carry out my job remotely. What I’ve learned is that I can be just as effective over Facetime, Zoom and the like, and even over the phone.

The biggest advantages for my clients are that they do not have to commute 30 to 45 minutes each way to meet me in person, and that those clients who live nationally and internationally can avail themselves of my services.

Why didn’t I consider this before? Well, “necessity is the mother of invention”. Welcome to and take advantage of the new normal! If you think you can benefit from my services, contact me at larryaronstein@yahoo.com and check out my website at www.larryaronstein.com

BODY LANGUAGE

There is a lot of attention being paid to body language in regard to its importance over the course of a job interview. Some experts even say that ninety percent of what we communicate is expressed through body language. Body language is a two-way street between the candidate and the interviewers as well as among the interviewers. An effective candidate must be aware of, and try to control his or her own body language. You should also try to observe, interpret, and respond to the body language of the interviewers.

I learned the importance of my body language the hard way. I was interviewed by a small group of search firm consultants. They seemed friendly and nodded their approval to my responses throughout the interview. As I gained confidence, I became relaxed, sat back in my seat, crossed my legs (which are a little long), and balanced my knee on the edge of the table. I left feeling that I had aced it and would be called back. That didn’t happen.

I reported my rejection to my mentor with a sense of defeat. Based on my feedback my mentor could not diagnose any deficiencies. However, he did know the search consultants and promised to get their feedback the next time he saw them. Several months passed by.

“You’re not going to believe the feedback,” he reported. “They loved your answers. But one of them said that you were too relaxed—even appeared cocky. She said you sat back and put your knee on the edge of the table.”

About a year passed. There I was again interviewing with the same group of search consultants. Needless to say, I leaned forward this time. No sitting back for me, this time. They moved me on in the process, and I get the job.

Just your posture and manner of walking into the room has significance. Stride with an air of confidence and smile at your audience. Your posture should connote self-assurance, not arrogance. Your smile should reflect that you’re pleased to be there. Your first impression means everything. Most people begin forming an impression of you within thirty seconds. You must get off to a good start.

My advice concerning body language over the course of your interview is to lean forward in your seat. Slowly scan the faces and eyes of the interviewers. If they like what you are saying, they will tend to nod and smile, usually subtly.  Nod back even more subtly. Focus on the people who are not giving non-verbal feedback. Watch to see if they exchange knowing looks to one another. Often, you might say something that resonates with an issue they may have previously discussed. A glance, a smile, a frown, a nod, a negative shake of the head between interviewers means you may have confirmed or disagreed with something of interest to them. A negative shake of the head probably means that you have stepped on a potentially explosive issue. Quickly backtrack and clarify your statement, if you can, to neutralize the potential damage.

Your ability to mimic other people’s gestures and postures indicates you are in sync with them. If someone leans forward, lean towards him or her. If someone smiles and nods, then smile and nod back. Practice mimicking at meetings and social gatherings. You’ll find it really works.

Larry Aronstein provides one-on-one coaching in preparing candidates for interviews and in resume preparation. Visit his website at http://www.larryaronstein.com

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 you think 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, by the way, 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, be professional, 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 or email: larryaronstein@yahoo.com

YOUR CANDIDACY: WHAT ARE THEY REALLY LOOKING FOR AND HOW DO YOU PRESENT YOURSELF

As a candidate, everything you write and say contribute to building your narrative; the story you tell about yourself. This includes your resume and cover letter, how you present yourself in person, your answers to the interviewers’ questions, the questions you ask, your letters of reference, and what your references say about you. It’s about developing a picture of yourself, creating a chemistry, demonstrating you are a good match, an easy good fit for what they’re really looking for, and what their community wants.

Creating an attractive narrative requires many strategies for each unique position. However, the commonalities out-weigh the differences. Before describing some of the strategies that go into building your narrative, we first must understand what the interviewers are really looking for.

What They Really Want

  1. They want to know who you are, and what you’ve accomplished.
  2. They want to like you. Too often interviews are sterile; you must create an emotional and compelling context through your story telling.
  3. They want to be assured that you share their values and aspirations.
  4. They want to see that you look and act the role.
  5. They want to be sure that you’ll easily fit in and not cause conflict.
  6. You need to come across as humble, self-effacing, sincere, direct, plain spoken, good humored, and authentic.

If this is what the interviewers want, then how do you go about creating a narrative and presenting yourself as that candidate? What strategies should you employee?

Useful Strategies

  1. Find out everything you can about the school-community from a variety of sources. How many students do they have; what ate the demographics; what are they proud of; who are their leaders; what is their reputation; what is their fiscal status.
  2. Figure out what they really want you to do. Do not solely rely upon their job description—that’s what they think they want; it may not be what they really want. Do they want a change agent? Are they happy with their current status? What problems do they have?
  3. Analyze your resume, particularly your accomplishments, and emphasize those aspects that they are looking for and that are consistent with their values as a community, and their needs. It is not enough to assert, “I’m creative and hardworking”. Provide specific and vivid examples of your accomplishments, both professional and personal.
  4. Elude to some personal information, which is not on your resume and which they can’t ask you about. If you are married and a parent, let them know. School people love family-oriented candidates who can relate to children and parents.

The tactics as to how you go about carrying out these strategies requires careful planning and practice. However, the reward of moving through the steps of your candidacy and winning the job will be worth all of the effort.

Dr. Larry Aronstein is an experienced career coach who assists school leaders, aspiring leaders, and teachers in their resume and interviewing preparation. Find out more at www.larryaronstein.com. Contact him at larryaronstein@yahoo.com

Interview Coaching: What Does It Entail?

Have you considered being coached to improve your performance during an interview and wondered what it entailed? As a successful coach of 100’s of educators over the last ten years, let me give you an overview of my approach: (1) a preliminary review of your resume and cover letter; (2) an in-take conversation; (3) several one-on-one, face-to-face or remote one-hour coaching sessions. The following is a brief summary of what takes place:

1. Preliminary Review of Your Resume—evaluate the resume using the following criteria:           

   a. Is the resume to the point, simple and logical?

   b. Cite accomplishments; not a Job Description

   c. Lead with Your Strengths

   d. Does your timeline make sense?

   e. Emphasize accomplishments that match the scope of the job, and omit irrelevances

2. In-Take Conversation

   a. What position(s) are you seeking?

   b. How long have you been applying for jobs? How many jobs have you applied for?

   c. How many first-round interviews have you had? Second-round? Beyond second-round?

   d. What do you think the problem might be in not moving on in the process?

   e. Information regarding fee; scheduling; feedback on resume; answer additional questions

3. Coaching Sessions

  • Review and edit resume and cover letter; how to prepare for an interview; and begin analyzing and crafting response to “Tell Us About Yourself”
  • Finalize and practice response to “Tell Us About Yourself”; strategize answers to 10 to 20 of the most frequently asked questions.
  • Analyze what your future supervisor is really looking for.
  • Mutually create your narrative that emphasizes your strengths and neutralizes any potential weakness.
  • Do mock interviews and get constructive feedback.
  • Learn strategies and tactics on “how to close the deal” and negotiate salary.

Dr. Aronstein provides one-on-one coaching in the preparation of resumes and preparing clients for job interviews. For more information go to www.larryaronstein.com

HOW TO ANSWER KILLER INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

I have been coaching school leaders and aspiring leaders in preparation for their interviews for ten years. My clients frequently ask me how to answer questions that they struggle with. Here’s a sampling of a few of those questions, my strategies as to how to answer, and my answers:

1. “What would your direct supervisor say about you if I called her?” (You think you might not get a positive recommendation from her; what can you do?)

Analysis: You can’t criticize your supervisor, and you can’t say that she might say something negative about you. What you can do is to speak to your supervisor; let her know that she might be getting a reference call; and ask her for a positive recommendation that emphasizes the positive things that you’ve done. Most supervisors are not out to destroy your career. Who knows; she might see this as an opportunity to get rid of you, and give you a positive recommendation?

Answer: “I think she will say that I have great relationships with my students and their parents, that I’m always well prepared, and that I’m always willing to give my time and attention to assist my students.”

2. “If you get this position, how long do you plan on staying in it?”

Analysis: You probably don’t know how long you’ll stay or how things will work out. Your new supervisors probably don’t want to go through additional transitions in the short run. However, you won’t be credible if you say you’ll stay for the remainder of your career. Employers seek leaders who are honest. Your answer needs to offer a logical rationale that supports your response.

Answer: “Assuming that things will work out well, I think five to seven years would make sense. The literature says that it takes at least five years to implement and sustain structural improvements. I’m committed to see my work through to positive outcomes.”

3. “You’re a certified school leader with very little leadership experience, why should we hire you over more experienced candidates?”

Analysis: Your aim is to present yourself as a self-confident, “can do” person who will grow on the job. Your selling points are your accomplishments as a teacher, your potential and willingness to embrace being mentored and molded into the culture of your new school and district, and your raw undeveloped talent and energy.

Answer: “I may not be your most experienced candidate, but I can assure you that no one will be more eager to grow and learn, and work harder than I. I believe my colleagues will tell you that I’m a teacher leader who has played leading roles in some of our most important school improvements. My resume outlines some of these projects. Let me add that as a high school and college athlete I was often chosen as team captain. I’ve been told that I’m a “natural born leader.”

4. “I see on your resume that you live more than an hour away. Is that going to be a problem?”

Analysis: Never hesitate to “shoot down” any obstacle that might diminish your value. You should provide evidence that any of their concerns have been overcome or resolved in the past. Employers want to be assured.

Answer: “I take full responsibility for my attendance and timeliness. Although my present place of work is 15 miles less of a commute, my time in traffic commuting here would be about the same. It is fair to say that I’m never late and usually one of the first people to arrive. It’s not a problem.”

5. “As an experienced school leader, tell us about a failure you experienced, and more importantly, what lesson did you learn from it?”

Analysis: This is similar to the often-asked question, “What is your greatest weakness?” The worst answer is, “I really can’t think of one”. Being humble and self-reflective are very desirable characteristics. The example you provide should be designed to resonate with the interviewers’ experiences and evoke their empathy.

Answer: “As an inexperienced leader years ago, I made decisions based on gut feelings or intuition. What I’ve learned over the years was to put more trust in my ability take time… listen to people I trust even when they have divergent opinions and gather credible information and data. I’ve learned what I call, “watch the movie”. In other words, listen, suspend judgement, slow down the inquiry, and ultimately decide on what is in the best interests of my students. The example that comes to mind was when I was serving as a superintendent, I had a strong desire to initiate an International Bachelorette Program. As we debated the merits of the program, I became more inclined to start the program. However, I encountered some strong opposition from a segment in the community and from the teachers’ union. My gut told me that it would be divisive, and I backed away from moving ahead. I regret not listening to my leadership team.”

Larry Aronstein provides career coaching to school leaders and aspiring leaders. Learn more at larryaronstein.com

MY 20 MOST FAVORITE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

  1. Tell us about yourself. Make your resume come alive.
  2. Why do you want to become a leader?
  3. What do you know about our school/district? Why do you want to work here?
  4. How would you deal with a veteran teacher who is not receptive to your recommendations?
  5. What role and what aspects should remote learning play once the pandemic is over?
  6. What are most important things you look for when doing a classroom visit?
  7. What expertise do you bring to your staff in enhancing student learning through the use of technology?
  8. How do you know (what evidence do you seek) that students are learning the concepts and skills that are being taught?
  9. How would you go about assisting a teacher who is having difficulty with classroom management/student discipline?
  10. What are the most productive ways of doing staff development so that teachers can enhance their teaching repertoire?
  11. How would you go about determining what your priorities should be in your new position?
  12. Assuming that your primary assigned duties as an assistant principal are:  bus, corridor and cafeteria duty; scheduling of assessments; student discipline; ordering textbooks and other supplies and materials—how will you learn to become an effective instructional leader?
  13. How would you go about leading a committee or a professional learning community?
  14. Assume that there is a fight in the corridor, how would you deal with this?
  15. What would you do if one of your teachers refers 40% of your total discipline cases?
  16. Assume that an unpopular policy has been made and many parents are unhappy about its implementation. How would you deal with a room full of angry parents at a PTA meeting?
  17. What would you do if your supervisor was making a decision that you believed to be illegal and/or immoral, and you felt would be harmful to others?
  18. If you interviewed candidates for a teacher vacancy, what three questions would you ask them?
  19. Tell me about a student who you helped that might have changed that child’s life.
  20. How would you deal with a parent who is dissatisfied with how a teacher is treating his/her child? Assume that the parent has already spoken to the teacher.

WHAT TO DO WHEN POSSIBLY FACING A CAREER ENDING SITUATION

Are you facing a potentially career ending set of circumstances? (1) Were you denied tenure, or are you facing being denied tenure? (2) Were you or have you been forced to resign? (3) Have you ever been terminated? (4) Are you suspended (re-assigned to stay home)? (5) Have you been demoted or are you facing being demoted? (6) Are you facing serious charges that may result in termination or loss of license? (7) Do you have a bad reputation and are you being black balled? (8) Do you face getting poor references? (9) Has your job been eliminated or are you facing job elimination?

Although all of these situations are serious, confusing and anxiety provoking, you must deal with them in a measured and rational way; no not panic, do not be distracted or motivated by your pain and anger and make things even worse. In most of these cases you will probably need help from your union, a personal attorney, highly informed and well-intentioned colleagues and friends. You must act strategically and in your own best interests. And you must also pay attention to your health, including your mental health. Here are some strategies you to consider:

(1) Denied/being denied tenure—If you are informed that you will not be getting tenure, you must jump start a search for a new job. (If you even had an inkling of being denied, your resume should be ready to go.) Find out from HR the last possible time that you can resign. Always resign rather than being formally denied tenure or terminated by action of the Board. Every job application has a question, “Have you ever been terminated or denied tenure.” If the answer is “yes”, your career in education is most probably over. Therefore, resign. If you are asked during an interview, “Are you being denied tenure?”, or “Have you resigned?”, your truthful answer at that moment is “No”; not until the effective date that your resignation is accepted by the Board.

(2) Forced to resign—If you are non-tenured and the administration has fulfilled their contractual and legal obligations, you will probably have to resign if asked. However, always check with your union and have them review your case with legal counsel. On the other hand, if you are accused of a serious wrong-doing and are asked to resign or be brought up on charges which might lead to termination and the loss of your license, then you should consider getting your own attorney. Your state association’s attorneys are usually over-committed, working on a multitude of cases, and cannot spend sufficient time on cases; some of their attorneys are inexperienced and can be outgunned by the district’s legal counsel. If you hire your own lawyer, make sure he or she is highly reputable and experienced in school law and labor law. Do not be surprised if you’ll be required to pay a substantial up-front retainer. Legally pursuing a serious case is usually a long and costly process for both sides. Most of these cases wind up being negotiated.

(3) Terminated—Being terminated will end your career. Avoid termination at all costs. The best way to avoid termination is through negotiation. Expect that resignation usually will be a non-negotiable part of the deal. What you might get in return can be extended salary and health insurance, a neutral letter of recommendation, and a sealed case file. Union lawyers are usually pretty effective at this kind of negotiation.  

(4) Suspension—The term “suspended” is usually called “re-assigned or assigned”. It means that you will be relieved of the duties of your position. Oftentimes, you can be directed to stay home and are not permitted on school property or events; or the district may assign you to report to an isolated space to perform some busy work—some call that a “padded room”. If the suspension occurs in connection to a termination process, you can find yourself in this state for many months or even years. In most cases you will receive a “suspension with pay” and regular benefits until the case is resolved. Other suspensions can be part of a penalty for a less significant charge. This is usually part of a negotiated agreement and can be without pay or even with a fine. Usually there’s a specific duration for the suspension. Suspensions are also given to provide time while a more complete investigation is taking place.

(5) Demotion and Layoff–A common issue is reduction in force (RIF); that is the need to eliminate positions based upon budget cuts, job consolidations and school closings. Administrative contracts and school laws have language that covers the processes that are used. The processes usually come down to areas of certification and longevity in a position. Frankly, some districts exploit RIF’s as a strategy to get rid of what they consider to be personnel who are undesirable. Unions usually review these RIF plans very closely. If you are demoted or laid off due to a RIF, be certain to get a letter from your district detailing the situation. Demotion can also stem from being promoted within the district and that new position not working out. When you agree to a promotion, try to avoid resigning from your tenured position until you earn tenure in your new position. This is sometimes included in your contract.   

(6) Loss of license –When a serious charge is filed, the district has a legal obligation to file the complaint with the State Education Department (SED). They will then monitor the progress of the case. Potentially, the State could exercise its prerogative to file charges and hold hearings which could lead to loss of license. The SED provides public information that names persons and their status. The duration of this process and the potential appeals can take years to resolve.

(7) Bad reputation (black balled) –Alleged wrongdoing, complaints, and/or disciplinary charges should all be handled confidentially. However, gossip, rumors, and leaks do occur and can become exaggerated in their re-telling. Unfortunately, the public relishes juicy gossip. The educational community is actually small, and word will get around and can ruin reputations. This can lead to being black balled within the job market. It is difficult to rehabilitate a reputation. A bad reputation can persist for decades. Perhaps the best antidote to neutralize unfair and unfounded allegations is for highly respected colleagues and friends to publicly defend you as soon as possible. I refer to these good people as “angels”.  If all else fails, sometimes the last alternative is to re-locate.

(8) Poor references—Experienced HR people do checks beyond letters of reference. So, it’s not enough to get good letters. If supervisors feel they can’t write you a positive letter. Problems can occur when the potential employer calls your supervisors. It is time consuming to place calls and make contact at a mutually convenient time. Therefore, calls for references generally are not made until the end of the search process when it seriously gets down to one to three candidates. Most likely you will be asked to provide a short list of references. You should provide the names of all of your supervisors who know you and the quality of your work. If you omit key people, it will be recognized and there’s a good chance that they will be contacted anyway. Always give your references a heads up that they might be called. Most supervisors will give you a positive or at least a neutral recommendation unless they feel that they’ve been aggrieved by you. If asked a direct question, they will not lie on your behalf. If your potential new employer really likes you, they may choose to select you anyway, assuming that you’ve done nothing terribly wrong. You should be prepared to answer “uncomfortable” questions as they follow up to a criticism that a reference may make about you. You should never lie. Just respond in a manner that mitigates or clarifies the criticism without attacking the source.

___

I am not an attorney. My advice is solely based on my years of experience in dealing with these situations as a supervisor and coach. My best advice is to get good advice from an objective well-informed professional who will confidentially guide you. These are difficult situations which have neither easy nor always successful outcomes.

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