Getting the Admin Interview
Congratulations is in order! You’ve made the life-changing decision to become a school administrator. Depending on your region, the position may be titled Assistant Principal, Vice Principal, Associate Head of Schools, or Student Services. You are ready to take on more challenges and to improve schools on a larger scale. Welcome to school administration! These tips and strategies are here to help you take your dream and make it a reality. With Assistant Principal interview questions and step-by-step ideas to prepare and land the job, this guide will help you perform at your best.
Prepare for the Interview
Many Assistant Principal jobs receive dozens if not hundreds of applications. The job application is the first, vital step to landing an Assistant Principal job. Every detail matters. Take your time, proofread, and submit your very best work on your application. For example, ensure that you use proper grammar, complete every detail on the application, and pay specific attention to putting your best foot forward in this initial step.
Letters of Recommendation
It’s important to ensure that every letter of recommendation is tailored to a school leadership role. For example, don’t submit letters of recommendation that are meant to get you a teaching job. Be sure that the letters speak to your abilities as an instructional leader. Now, this could take some work. You may need to call your old references and ask them for an updated version of your letter. I’ve served as a reference for countless teacher leaders and am always willing to update an address and change a few words ~ even from someone with whom I worked many years ago.
As a principal, I’m also always looking for a letter of recommendation from an applicant’s most recent supervisor. Now, there may be excellent reasons why someone doesn’t include a letter invitation from a current supervisor; however, a missing reference can cause a Hiring Committee to wonder, “Why not?” It may not prevent you from getting an interview, but it may put a question in the Hiring Committee’s mind. Therefore, if you can get a current supervisor’s reference or letter of recommendation, I highly encourage it.
Research the School and District
We know that leaders who are ready for their first administrator job are often applying to many schools. It’s good practice, however, to not look like that’s the case. When a candidate interviews for a leadership position at my school, I’m always wondering, “Why do they want to work here? What is it about our school that drew them to apply? Are they just ready to lead anywhere? Or do they have an invested passion in our school and community?” Even if you are just looking for your first leadership role (which most of us are!), invest time and do research about the school to which you are applying.
Questions to research include:
How has the school fared on its state Report Card?
What are the school's values? Mission, vision, mascot, colors, legacy?
Who are the key players: Principal, other administrators, head secretary (the real boss!)?