Latest Principal Interview Preparation Guide
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Principal related Frequently Asked Questions by expert members with experience in Principal. These questions and answers will help you strengthen your technical skills, prepare for the new job test and quickly revise the concepts

54 Principal Questions and Answers:

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Latest  Principal Job Interview Questions and Answers
Latest Principal Job Interview Questions and Answers

1 :: Who do I talk to when things aren't going well?

Now, you may be thinking that you don't want to suggest that things won't go well. Don't worry. Wise principals know that even the best, most experienced, teachers have problems during a school year. Like question number 1, there's only one reasonable answer to this one. The principal should eagerly reply, "Me."

2 :: What is your Twitter handle?

If the principal says she is not on Twitter, it may not be a deal breaker, but it's definitely a red flag. Being a connected educator is essential to every educator's success in the digital world in which we live. If a principal counters with, "Why is this important?" you should simply repeat my last sentence.

3 :: Is there anything you'd like to add?

Summarize by emphasize your qualifications as they apply to this job. Also cover anything you missed from your opening.

4 :: How Do You Handle Student Discipline?

As an assistant principal, your first and foremost task will be to assist the principal in his or her duties. From time to time, this means that you will be called upon to discipline an unruly student. You may be asked to determine whether the student should get detention, in-school or home suspension, or even expulsion in extreme cases. To answer this question, you should reply with a past scenario if you can. Explain the offense and the steps you took to discipline the child. If you do not have experience with student discipline, create an imaginary scenario and explain how you would handle it.

5 :: Have You Ever Handled an Upset or Irate Parent?

The parents of schoolchildren are often very involved with their children's education, and as such, you will sometimes need to participate in meetings or conferences with parents. Sometimes, and especially when students have been suspended or otherwise disciplined, parents can become very upset. Your interviewer will ask you if you have ever dealt with such a situation, and you should answer honestly. If so, describe the situation and how you handled it. If not, you should provide another example of a situation in which your communication skills were able to dissolve the angry party's frustrations.

6 :: What is your philosophy on mobile learning?

If the answer is, "We have a strict policy stating that all mobile devices must be left at home or in lockers," you can forget your other questions and politely excuse yourself. It's the 21st century, for crying out loud. Who wants to teach in a school that forbids the use of the most powerful teaching and learning tool ever created?

7 :: What are your major strengths as a principal?

Focus on these competencies when formulating your interview answers to these principal interview questions.

8 :: Have You Ever Evaluated a Teacher Who was Not Performing to Expectation?

Aside from disciplining students, you will also likely be called upon to evaluate the performance of individual teachers on a regular basis. You may also be asked to evaluate a teacher whose students' test scores are not on par with national averages; you may even be required to evaluate a teacher about whom you have received multiple complaints from students, parents or even other staff. As such, the interviewer will need to determine your capabilities. Here, you should use another scenario if you are experienced with such evaluations. If you are not, explaining that you would take the time to listen to both sides and then create an effective remedial plan should suffice.

9 :: Am I required to assign homework or give a particular amount of tests?

For me, a Yes reply here is a deal breaker. However, there are ways around traditional homework and many alternative forms of assessment, so if all other questions are answered appropriately, you might still keep the school on your short list.

10 :: Outline the role that parents should play in the school?

Discuss your vision of positive parental contribution and how you have facilitated and promoted this through the implementation of school initiatives.

11 :: What qualities are you looking for in a teacher when you do a walk through or formal observation?

The answer to this question helps you know precisely what the principal expects from you, which will prepare you for future evaluations. More important, though, the answer tells you exactly what is important to the person running the school where you may soon work. Does she want to see a classroom that is orderly, where the teacher is in control? Or, is she looking for a vibrant, messy place where children are laughing, collaborating, and exploring?

12 :: Who has most influenced you to become an educator, and how did they influence you?

I believe that personal life experiences in education relate directly to the type of teacher someone will be," Lotspeich told Education World. "The candidate's response to that question should come from the heart, and it will give me insight into the 'heart' the candidate will draw on as he or she relates to students.

13 :: Tell us about your qualifications for the position of principal?

Focus on the aspects of your experience that apply to this position.

14 :: What limits, if any, are there on the environment I create in my classroom?

Apart from anything that might break fire codes, it's difficult to imagine this being answered with anything other than, "Do anything you wish; it's your room." If asked what you want to do, explain that you want an inviting, fun, learner-centered classroom. This may require you to move some chairs and tables, bring in some plants and maybe a few beanbag chairs, and a variety of other things that make learning fun.

15 :: Sample Questions to ask in Principal Interview (Part Two):

► How are parents included in this school?
► Do you have Title I at this school? What percentages of the students qualify?
► What duties do the teachers have? (Before and after school, bus, recess, etc.)
► Do you do any lateral planning as well as team planning?
► Can you give me some background as to what my team members are like? (Are all the Kindergarten teachers new? If so, why? How long have they been teaching? The answers to these questions will give you an idea as to what kind of support you will have.)
► What makes this school stand out from others in the area?

16 :: Sample Questions to ask in Principal Interview:

► What are the teacher hours?
► What are the student hours?
► What is your teacher turn-over rate?
► Are there before and/or after school programs?
► What is the average class size?
► What kind of mentors, help, or support is available for new teachers?
► What is your policy regarding lesson planning-would I need to keep records in my room or turn them into you?
► What is the number of hours expected in school activities outside of class time?
► What special services are available for students? (Counselors, psychologists, health services)
► Do you have a school-wide discipline plan? What is it?
► What consequences are there for disciplinary infractions?
► What tools/aides are available…? (Library, TV/VCR, textbooks for each student, music, computers, etc.)
► How are supplies ordered and received?
► What are some of the strengths of the school?
► How are teachers supported and appreciated by the administration of this school?
► What is the student population like?
► What is the ethnic / socio-economic make-up of the students? (Are there any immigrants? If needed do you have access to bilingual resources?)
► What are the main challenges facing the school?
► In what ways does the school link with the local community?
► Are extracurricular assignments available?
► Does your school/district offer faculty in-service training during the school year?
► What curriculum is used in Reading / Math / Language?
► Do you have an active parent-teacher association?

17 :: What professional goals have you set yourself for the next 5 years?

Focus on broad goals that contribute to the overall improvement of the school. Consider student results and achievement, staff performance and development, instructional quality, the school culture and reputation, community involvement.

18 :: I've read your application and resume, but what are the most important things I should know about you, your life, your experiences?

What I'm looking for when I ask that question is whatever the person really wants to share with me," principal Tim Messick told Education World. Besides the basic responses, "I'm looking for candidates to get away from the 'canned' responses. I'm interested in hearing what the candidates feel is most important. I'm looking to learn how they see themselves and what they value about themselves.

19 :: How do you motivate and encourage staff?

Highlight the steps you take to create a climate in which people want to perform to the best of their ability. How do you assess an individual's strengths and develop them? Highlight the mechanisms you put in place to support staff through collaboration and inclusion.

20 :: Do You Multitask Well?

You will have many duties as an assistant principal, so being able to perform many tasks all at once is imperative. In some cases, your interviewer will provide you with a hypothetical scenario in which the principal is out of the office and you are in the cafeteria supervising lunch break. During this time, you receive not only a report about a fight in a classroom, but you are also notified of an angry parent in your office demanding a meeting. Here, your interviewer is asking you to prioritize these tasks efficiently. Your answer should be short but precise. "I would ask another teacher to supervise the cafeteria long enough to bring the fighting students into my office and schedule a meeting with the parent."

21 :: What would be your top priorities in this position?

The school want to know that you have an action plan in place. Understand the needs, demands, culture and values of this particular school or district. Show you are willing to confront and remediate inadequacies in the school, to modify school structures where necessary and to identify and capitalize on current strengths.

22 :: How Would You Evaluate and Respond to a Teacher Who Does Not Meet Expectations?

One of your duties may be to conduct evaluations of teacher performance. If a classroom scores lower than anticipated on a standardizes test or if the school has received numerous complaints about a particular teacher from parents, students or staff you may be required to investigate the situation and confront the individual. The interviewer will want to understand your method for evaluating a teacher's instructional effectiveness as well as their behavior towards students, parents and coworkers, including how you would gather all relevant information. The hiring manager will also want to know that you are capable of confronting a coworker while maintaining a good working relationship. You should be able to detail how you would work with the teacher to design a plan for improvement and a means of evaluating the effectiveness of that plan. As with all questions, include real examples from your own experience whenever possible.

23 :: What professional development activities have you undertaken recently?

Research has shown that effective principals derive much of their professional development from community partnerships and colleagues. Demonstrate how your professional development activities have addressed the personal areas you identified as needing improvement or strengthening. How have these activities allowed you to perform your job more effectively?

24 :: Have You Ever Dealt With an Angry or Upset Parent?

Interacting with parents is another important part of an assistant principal's day. Most parents are eager to be involved in their child's education and are heavily invested in their success. You might participate in formal and informal meetings and conferences with parents whose children are not meeting academic or behavioral standards. Parents can become very angry or upset in these meetings, particularly if they feel their child is being treated unfairly. You will need to be adept at handling an emotionally charged situation. If you have ever dealt with this type of situation, give your interviewer some context for what was happening and why the parent was upset. Explain how you handled it, how the parent responded, and what you learned from the situation that you can apply to future conflicts. If you have never deal with an angry parent, provide an example of another time when you were able to diffuse a tense situation.

25 :: How do you set about building good relationships with staff and parents?

The ability to build constructive and effective relationship is key to success in this role. How do you establish trust and confidence? Sharing relevant information, setting a clear direction, objectives and measures and providing and encouraging constructive feedback all contribute to successful relationships.
Principal Interview Questions and Answers
54 Principal Interview Questions and Answers