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5 Tips for Hiring A New Principal


It's that time of year when schools sometimes find themselves in the position of seeking a new leader, a new principal.  Have you been there before?  We have.  More than once.  Now is a good time for tips for hiring a new principal.

Tips for Hiring an elementary school Principal
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 As everyone knows, finding the right administrator for your building is crucial. It can make the difference between a school year reaching new heights, a year of just moving along or even a season of discord and feeling lost.  

Tip #1- Know What Your Building Needs Are


Tips for Hiring an elementary school Principal
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If you are on your building's hiring committee, you know this is an important task to undertake.  It is an duty to be taken seriously.  You need to know what the needs are overall for your building.  Not just for yourself or for one or two teachers.  But overall, what areas does your school need someone to step in on day one and be a leader?  Is it literacy, core instruction, discipline, staff morale or school culture?  Whatever it is, make sure you know what is most needed for your building.  This will be key to helping you find the right person for the job.

Tip #2- Know the Style of Leadership Your Staff Responds to Best

Tips for Hiring an elementary school Principal
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Every group of people will respond and react to different leadership styles in various ways.  So the hiring committee needs to consider this.  Does your school staff like high energy, on the move, take charge personalities?  Do they respond better to changes if someone makes the tough decisions and then lets them know what the changes are or do they want to be more involved in all the decisions?  Some school's staff love change and challenge and others handle change if it comes in small amounts at a time. One is not better than the other...just different and you need to know what will fit with your group of people best so everyone can get on to the job of educating students in the best way possible.

Tip #3- Get to Know the Candidates

Tips for Hiring an elementary school Principal
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The hiring committee needs plenty of time to not look over, but really get in and read with a critical eye over the resumes, letters of reference, and form their own questions for the days of interviewing.  Do they really have experience or was their principal experience that they listed filling in a day here and there.  Which is good, by the way, but it is not the experience of a full day, every day principal.  Is your school in a situation where a great candidate, but one who lacks experience, could still come in and learn on the job and it could still go well?  Or is your need one of a leader to come in and deal with tough situations on day one?  This will help you as you consider who to call in for an interview.

Tip #4- Know the Candidate's Knowledge

Tips for Hiring an elementary school Principal
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This is an important tip to understand.  Dig in a bit to the candidate's answers to your questions.  Do they have an in-depth knowledge of literacy, differentiation, PBiS, PLC's, etc....Or are they throwing in these buzz words because that is the trend or they think you as a committee are looking for them?  They need to be specific in their knowledge and not use general answers to your questions.  It should be pretty easy to tell who really has knowledge of important educational issues and who does not know have that in-depth knowledge.

Tip #5- Know What Questions to Ask

Tips for Hiring an elementary school Principal
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You have a limited amount of time with each candidate, so the questions the committee will be asking needs to be thoughtful and for a purpose.  Your committee should spend some time on these to make the most out of your interviews.  Ask specific, open ended questions.  Ask tough questions- have they ever had to fire a teacher- tell us about how you handled it.  What discipline problems have you faced and how did you deal with it?  What will you do when you have a angry parent screaming at you about the way a teacher has handled a situation?  Getting the tough questions out there will help you learn about the candidates, what they will bring to your school if chosen, and how well they will fit with your building's needs.

Hope these tips help you if your school is seeking out a new leader and you are on the hiring committee!  I would love to hear about your experience with this!

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