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Principal Interview Questions

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  1. Our school is currently working on an improvement plan. Can you tell me a bit about this plan and how you can contribute to it? See answer
  2. You may need to handle certain situations with a lot of sensitivity as a principal. How have you handled delicate situations professionally in the past? See answer
  3. Some of our teachers have complained that they feel there is no administrative support at this school. What might you do to address this issue? See answer
  4. You may need to deal with some difficult students as part of your job. At what point do you involve the parents in these situations? See answer
  5. You’ll be working a lot with incoming teachers as part of your job. What advice would you give them to ensure success in the classroom? See answer
  6. What steps would you take to encourage your teachers and staff members to grow and improve in their roles? See answer
  7. What methods would you put in place to ensure the safety of students and teachers at all times at your school?
  8. What’s your process for evaluating teachers and providing them with constructive feedback?
  9. How do you measure success of your students in the classroom?
  10. Tell me about an accomplishment at your previous school that you’re most proud of.
  11. How do you approach disciplining students who have broken your school’s rules or policies?
  12. What does your ideal educational institution look like?
  13. What would you do to maintain a positive educational atmosphere and culture?
  14. Do you have any methods you use to recognize and praise students and teachers on their achievements?
  15. Do you believe a school principal should have advanced teaching experience?
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6 Principal Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Our school is currently working on an improvement plan. Can you tell me a bit about this plan and how you can contribute to it?

A:

Incoming principals should have some basic knowledge of the school to which they are applying and any recent plans for it. If they notice plans for improvement, they should study them as a way to offer helpful suggestions during the hiring process. This question can help you gauge the prospective principal’s skill at gathering information and their knowledge of the overall school community.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Concrete examples of school improvements
  • Knowledge of the surrounding community and how improvements would benefit everyone
  • Ability to think creatively

Example:

“I’ve studied your school’s improvement plan. I noticed that expanding the variety of extracurricular activities could lead to higher satisfaction rates among all students.”

Q:

You may need to handle certain situations with a lot of sensitivity as a principal. How have you handled delicate situations professionally in the past?

A:

Many principals will already have some experience in dealing with the complex social situations that can arise at any school. As administrators, they may need to step in and offer guidance or support or make a decision in the best interests of the students. These situations can be sensitive or volatile, and you need to know that your principal is capable of handling them.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Specific anecdotes of past successful conflict resolutions
  • Training or personality traits that deal with listening and learning
  • Understanding of psychology

Example:

“I remember mediating a heated dispute between a student and a teacher. I was able to listen to both sides and resolve their issues.”

Q:

Some of our teachers have complained that they feel there is no administrative support at this school. What might you do to address this issue?

A:

Principals work at the administrative level and are responsible for keeping many aspects of the school running smoothly. When teachers run into technical problems or red tape that might hinder their ability to instruct students, they often turn to administrators for support. If some of the teachers at your school feel like the administration doesn’t listen to them, they’ll want a principal who does.

What to look for in an answer:

  • General knowledge of issues teachers face
  • Understanding that both groups must support each other
  • Specific strategies to improve teaching resources

Example:

“I have experience in the classroom and understand what it is like to feel alone there. I’ll always be approachable and ready to listen.”

Q:

You may need to deal with some difficult students as part of your job. At what point do you involve the parents in these situations?

A:

Although teachers often deal with difficult students in their classes, principals may be required to address serious student issues. In some cases, it may be necessary to get the parents of a student involved. A good principal knows the right time to do this and how to handle both teachers and students with grace and sensitivity. This question speaks to conflict management skills.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Training that relates to mediation of arguments
  • Knowledge of specific school codes regarding student behavior
  • Understanding a parent’s perspective

Example:

“Based on school codes, I know when an issue is serious enough that parents must be involved. I have specific processes to facilitate this issue.”

Q:

You’ll be working a lot with incoming teachers as part of your job. What advice would you give them to ensure success in the classroom?

A:

Principals often take on the duty of welcoming incoming teachers and helping them get familiar with how the school operates. In addition, many of these administrators understand that the first year of teaching can be fraught with challenges. Answers to this question can help you see how a new principal might bridge the gap between teachers and admins and keep instructor turnover low.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Specific methods for encouraging new teachers
  • Ways to make new teachers feel supported
  • Methods for helping new teachers face challenges

Example:

“I’d work to make sure incoming teachers understood the logistics of the school right away. I’d also provide tips for effective classroom management procedures.”

Q:

What steps would you take to encourage your teachers and staff members to grow and improve in their roles?

A:

Principals should stay ahead of educational trends and constantly think of ways to help their teachers advance their strengths and develop new skills. Encouraging teachers to adopt innovative teaching techniques provides students with an advanced and well-rounded education, which can lead to high-performing students. Candidates should have ideas for ways to improve their teachers' abilities, like offering training classes, workshops or seminars.

The candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Passion for helping teachers improve
  • Ideas for ways to expose teachers to new educational trends
  • Motivational and leadership abilities

An answer to this question could look like this:

Example:

"I'm constantly looking for ways to help teachers and my other staff members develop new skills and enhance their knowledge. As more childhood development studies come out, professional educators will continuously create new techniques to help students learn more efficiently. To make sure my team is ahead of these alternative teaching methods, I regularly sign the teaching staff up for new classes, workshops and seminars that I believe will help them teach subjects in a captivating and engaging manner that the students will enjoy."

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