The interviewer wants to know that this is a long-term career move for you. It is a good idea to tell the interviewer that you like to help create a structure for the school and the environment where students succeed. Tell the interviewer that you enjoy working under the leadership of the principal and are eager to work on curriculum endeavors. Get excited about tackling areas for improvement, and most importantly, express that you desire to see the upcoming generations be set up for success. Be passionate, and share that you hope you can continue to make your community proud of what the school is achieving.
"I want to improve the structure of the school holistically, from staff relationship to classes implementation and professional development."
"I am excited at the thought of playing a more inspirational role in the lives of the students and teachers. In this fast-paced educational environment, I want to encourage them to be more curious and open-minded."
"I worked as a teacher for the past ten years. Throughout that time, I have always had a personal relationship with the students, leading them, motivating them, and helping them. I am ready to do more than just teach. My career aspirations involve leading and guiding children to do their best!"
The interviewer wants to hear that you think about your schedule before just jumping into it. It is good to start off with mentioning how you always keep your calendar up to date, your email inbox organized, or your trusty to-do list right next to you. This level of organization will show the interviewer that you always know what is on the docket. Then, jump into how you identify that top priority! Perhaps you spend 10 minutes each Monday morning determining which items have deadlines that week. Maybe you start each day off by categorizing each piece based on the level of urgency.
"I spend 10 minutes in the morning jotting down the day's tasks into a notes app, ranking them on urgency. I separate my tasks into urgent, not-as-urgent, and long-term. It's effective because it helps me keep track of my deadlines and prevents me having to rush to finish my tasks quickly."
"I usually arrange one or two important tasks to accomplish each day if I can. As soon as there are more than three tasks piled up I start getting less organized and more panicked, so mentally it's helpful to compartmentalize my priorities by day. If there's a lot to be accomplished, I'll separate my tasks by morning and afternoon."
"Time management is critical to the success of our school. When prioritizing, I look at the deadlines first. Then, based on urgency I decide where to focus my attention first. Most of the time other daily tasks need attention at the same time, so I keep track of these in my daily calendar, setting reminders and checking things off my lists."
Share with the interviewer that you feel leaders are people who others want to follow, and you do this through building relationships! Tell the interviewer that you try to spend time every day speaking with staff and students getting to know them better. The better they know you, the more responsive they are to your decision making.
"My leadership style is to be present and approachable. I want to know if my students are struggling in the classroom or at home. If my teachers need additional training, I like to be a part of their career development."
"I would describe my leadership style as strong and supportive. I engage with others, and I strive to truly add value to the work that I am responsible for."
"My goal, as a leader, is to inspire students and staff to strive to be their best continually. I achieve this through avenues such as speaking at school meetings and functions I also ensure my presence at school district events such as choir concerts or sports games. Giving encouraging announcements, and sending out kudos emails is another way that I demonstrate leadership."
Absolutely! Leadership skills are essential for the assistant principal role, so tell the interviewer, 'Yes, I do!' This is a great chance to share your desire to be a leader. Take a moment to share that you strive to be a role model for students as well as your peers and colleagues. Explain that you jump at the opportunity to lead groups, encourage your counterparts, and be the face of the school when challenges arise. You understand that these are vital pieces of being a real leader.
"I see myself as a leader. Not only have I managed a team of learning leaders in two prior roles, but also I believe that leadership does not always equate to management. I am sure to lead at all times by providing the best model of enthusiasm and work ethic. I am open to new ideas and love to tackle a new project which, to me, embodies leadership."
"I certainly do consider myself a leader, and I continue to strive to be a better leader each day. The role of assistant principal comes with great responsibility, and it calls for my ability to be an effective leader for the students and faculty."
"I have always been an enthusiastic leader, and I thoroughly enjoy being a team lead for our learning assistants. I have been in a leadership role for the past eight years and look forward to continuing this experience as the assistant principal in your school."
This question holds two purposes. First, the interviewer wants to see that you understand everyone holds the room for improvement. Second, this item provides insight into who you are as a person. Pick a quality that is not essential to your success in the role. We all have something to improve on, so don't be afraid to tell the interviewer what you would change.
"I would make myself a super-speed reader to breeze through my emails quicker each day which would allow me to have more time to spend interacting with my students and teachers."
"I would become more mindful of getting to know the students and teachers on a personal level. I tend to dive into work so deep that I could better remind myself that some play at work is alright, too."
"I would facilitate more harmony between the teachers. We see each other for many hours in a day, but maybe we don't even know the most basic things about each other. I'd organize get-togethers, parties, or even workshops to get teachers more involved in each others' lives. These efforts would create a stronger workplace support system."
The key component to answering this question is your relationship building skills. Tell the interviewer that you work each day to build relationships with your peers and colleagues. Explain how you get to know them, learn about their families and special interests, and ensure that you engage with each person on a regular basis. Share that these relationships have helped you gain respect and trust from your peers because they allow these people to see that you care about them. Tell the interviewer that when you approach your peers or colleagues with a new idea, they typically accept right away because they know who are, respect you, and understand that you care about them!
"I think the most important thing is to listen to what my colleague wants. I ask them open-ended questions to get a good sense of their opinions and preferences about a certain topic. I try to combine their ideas with mine."
"I am good at laying out compelling reasons why my colleague should accept my ideas. I'm very persuasive. I address the problem at its core and present my ideas in easy to consume points, which is usually very effective."
"The best way to get a peer or colleague to get excited about an idea is to include them in the process, early and often. People like to feel heard. Keeping this in mind, I ask them quality discovery questions to help craft the idea and then gain their insights on the idea itself or plans for execution. It is an exciting process!"
Think about a quality that makes you stand out from others in the workplace. A good strategy to approach this kind of interview question is to ask a few former co-workers or family members what they feel is the one unique thing that sets you apart from the other candidates. Their perceptions will help you understand how you are perceived and what makes you the perfect person for the opportunity.
"I'm an extremely passionate person. I initiate projects and make ideas happen pretty quickly. I think that would be helpful for implementing any new system or for inspiring students and teachers."
"I bring the right experience in teaching and administration. I also bring a level of enthusiasm that will blend well with the students at this educational institution. I'm excited to exceed your expectations and add value to the overall team."
"My talent is holistic thinking. I'm able to see the bigger picture, and that helps me to ensure the school runs in concurrence with our vision."
Share the commonalities that your current job have with the assistant principal position you are seeking. Talking about people interaction is a great place to start as well as the variety in your day. Highlighting your desire to problem solve and develop innovative solutions is a nice touch. And, discussing your passion for helping people is a great way to wrap things up!
"I like that my present job gives me the opportunity to express my passion. I work with a group of similarly-minded teachers who put a lot of effort into their teaching and genuinely care about their students."
"What is not to like! I enjoy making the difference in the lives of children in this community. Everyday, I get to work towards this goal through my work as a teacher, peer advisor, and liaison for families throughout this local community."
"My present job has a lot of variety. I get to teach students, talk to parents, and work with teachers. It's a great way to hone the people skills necessary to deal with different types of people."
The best responses to this question are examples of situations that stretched your heartstrings or ones that challenged your traditional way of thinking. Think of those cases that affected your emotions or one that made the wheels of your brain spin!
"One of the most difficult situations I've ever faced was when one of our senior teacher's wife passed away. He taught biology, and we had to find a couple of different substitute teachers for his year of sabbatical. The students had a tough time that year, and we had to give them extra encouragement."
"Recently, I had to intervene in an occurrence of inappropriate behavior by a small group of students. The intent was to assist the students in modifying such behaviors and help them to build successful interpersonal skills. I met with the students, one on one, to coach them through the situation, then we brought their families into the process. Throughout the process, we have held follow up sessions weekly to continue to coach the behaviors. It is going well!"
"Last year some students were involved in drug use. Over a period of months, we collected evidence to see who was responsible. We contacted parents, arranged meetings to talk to students individually, and finally came to the decision to expel a few students. Expulsion is a tedious and difficult process."
This question offers a great chance to show that you understand your greatest strengths. Graciously share your best asset, and explain how this asset affects your work performance. One possible example may be sharing that your best asset is your ability to create a connection with all types of people. Discuss how this has helped you work with students, parents, and teachers from all walks of life. Struggling to come up with your best asset? Think about the typical praises you received in past performance reviews. You can also ask a respected colleague for their opinion.
"I'm a great team-player and work well with others to incorporate theirs and my ideas. I make everyone feel included by listening to them and make sure parties are all happy with the final decision."
"I'm outgoing and proactive. I get things done, and I'm goal-oriented. I see the bigger picture and put a great amount of effort into teamwork."
"I have been told that my best asset is my ability to recognize, work with, and lead groups of people while creating an environment where all are having fun. I enjoy facilitating learning experiences where our faculty can grow together."
As an educator, you are in the people business. The interviewer wants to hear that you work well with all types of people from every walk of life! Get excited to toot your own horn and share how you seem to easily interact with anyone and everyone. If the interviewer presses you about how you work with demanding parents, you merely state that demanding parents are just people who care a lot about their child. Share that you have a knack for showing parents that you are an advocate for their child. On the flip side, challenging teachers are usually just trying to do what they think is best for the students.
"I'm good at listening to parents' needs. I've had positive experiences in which parents come into the parent-teacher conference with anxiety about their child's academic performance but were able to leave feeling reassured that their child is improving."
"I enjoy working with people of all age groups. Every day, I interact with various groups of students, teachers, faculty, families, and administrators. When you work with people well, they can surprise you with their accomplishments. It is what drives me to work harder/better/smarter each day."
"I enjoy giving my students the chance to figure out questions on their own instead of providing them with a textbook answer. We get in a discussion circle, and I encourage them to keep exploring and guide them to analyze the text."
Select three words that truly define who you are Be sure to select words that have no possibility of being taken negatively. Just be yourself, and remember to keep it positive!
"I would say my students would describe me as fun, innovative, and passionate. I like to make my work environment and everyone around me comfortable."
"I think my greatest assets are in my leadership skills, my friendliness, and my high level of organization."
"My students would describe me as enthusiastic about learning. I am also dependable. Third, I am dedicated to the learning experience and focused on enriching the lives of my students."
The interviewer wants to know that you will be engaged and passionate about your role as assistant principal. The best answer to this question is to share your heart with the interviewer. Be a real person, and candidly describe the impact schools have had on you, who impacted your decision to become an assistant principal, and how you feel like you are bettering the upcoming generations through your work in this capacity.
"I had an amazing principal in elementary school. I remember I was struggling with transitioning to a new school and she let me spend my breaks hanging out in her room, drawing and chatting. She cared about me. I probably wouldn't have made it through that year so successfully without her help."
"In high school, our assistant principal worked closely with the student council to organize prom and school carnival events. I enjoyed working with him and saw how well he shared his responsibilities with the principal."
"Being an impactful leader drives my passion for being an effective assistant principal. Making a difference in the lives of students in this community, and giving them a foundational for learning, are two things that make it all worthwhile!"
Tell the interviewer that you would work with teachers and other school leaders to develop fun activities and themes that create an environment where the students are a part of something bigger than themselves. Explain that you would be out-and-about each day talking with staff and students showing them that you care about their educational environment. Share fun ways that you have participated in the students' day such as dressing up for themed days.
"My students have enjoyed birthday parties. I usually teach in small classes, so I keep a list of students' birthdays and prepare a surprise for them if I have them in my class. It's just cupcakes or a small cake but I think the students get really into it and some of them will bring some snacks too. Parties and public recognition are great motivators for young students."
"Engage them more! Involve them in the crafting of programs. Students feel valued and appreciated when they are included in the process. Start there and see what you can accomplish together!"
"I do Secret Santa with my students during Christmas. We draw names out of a bowl and have students guessing who each other's Santa's are for a week before the big reveal. The students loved it!"
It is always a good idea to talk positively about change. Be sure to only talk about new teaching trends or techniques that you enjoy or support. Show the interviewer that you are entirely open to trying new technologies or teaching trends. Describe to the interviewer trends or techniques that interest you, and give them a little insight into why you like it. Be sure to tell the interviewer about any conferences or workshops you attended where you learned about new trends.
"During one of my trainings, the teacher explained that the most effective way to learn a foreign language is through situational learning. We brought our students to the local Asian market and gave each of them money and a list of items to locate. By the end of the class, everyone knew basic phrases in Mandarin and were able to name a few fruits and vegetables."
"There are a lot of new, exciting trends in technology that are sweeping learning environments. I stay current on new offerings by following industry trends through Google alerts, education-related publications and networking with fellow educators."
"One of the workshops I went to this year taught an active listening teaching method which focused on having the students talk 80% of the time and teachers 20% to facilitate their understanding instead of relying on teachers for every answer. Teachers would then give guiding responses to further student learning in the Socratic discussion."
The interviewer wants to see that you can work together, with your teaching staff, to enhance the educational environment. We recommend that you discuss how you would talk with the teachers to gain their insights about how to further the performance of the students. After all, they spend the most one-on-one time with the students. Tell the interviewer that you would advocate for the teachers to have professional development opportunities to learn up-to-date teaching techniques which would allow them to further excel their classrooms.
"I would talk to each teacher to explore their students' learning styles and ask them what they need to help students. Then, I would work on acquiring those resources for them."
"I want to set up a self-assessment system for each student to respond to their progress at the end of each learning period so they can stay responsible for their learning."
"There are some strategies we can apply to achieve higher student performance. First and foremost, I always say that we need to put our vision for a better school at the forefront of everything we do. We can analyze data and introduce students to the important analytics. Ultimately, we want to teach smarter, not harder."
With any job interview, it is crucial to understand the organization of which you are applying. Visit the school district website as well as the school webpage to learn essential information such as core school hours; awards received upcoming events, particular focuses for that academic year, and even fun facts like the mascot and school colors. Most school and school district websites offer information about the Board. Showing the interviewer that you are savvy with how the Board is structured is impressive. As a bonus, be sure to mention any positive interactions you have had with current school district staff as well as the positive things they have told you about the district.
"I have read through your board notes and understand that the biggest struggle your school, and this district, are facing is surrounding funding. I would be interested in coming in with some financial suggestions surrounding fundraising and budget development."
"To understand that you are first in your district. I frequently read about the events happening here in the local paper and visit your website to read about your programs, updates, and leadership changes."
"The school which I currently work is in the same district as yours, so I bring a strong level of familiarity when it comes to your district, and Board. Your school has excellent spirit and a great level of parent and community involvement. I look forward to joining a team like yours with a strong level of collaboration and excitement for learning."
The interviewer wants to see your resourcefulness and your creativity. Think about a single improvement you have made in the classroom with teachers. Explain the problem using positive language without demeaning any students, teachers, or parents. Delve into how you interacted with the teacher. Talk about how you delegated the work to staff members as well as what specific pieces of the puzzle you handled yourself. Finally, wrap it up by highlighting the positive outcome you achieved and the impact it had on helping the school achieve success.
"This year my primary focus was on adding more technology to the classroom. This generation needs to become accustomed to working on laptops, smart boards, and using board-approved applications."
"I have recently worked with teachers to improve the classroom evaluation process. We have streamlined it and found a way to engage students in the process."
"I introduced a communication application to our teachers, parents, and student body this year. It's called ClassDojo, and it allows for posting, messaging, and easy communication between all parties. Parents now have real-time insights into what we are doing in the classroom on a daily basis."
Interviewers want to hear that you dream big things for their school! Tell the interviewer that you envision a place where children are engaged, are encouraged to excel and are inspired by their teachers and leaders. Tell the interviewer that you envision the school being fun; after all, being a child is supposed to be fun! Talk about how you desire to work together as a team with the principal, teachers, and other school administrators to reach the most significant success the school has seen.
"I want to make the school more fun! I've noticed a few extracurricular events, but I want to bring back student-organized carnivals and spirit week. I also want to organize relationship-building training for teachers to get more involved in the lives of their students."
"As a person of vision, I imagine creating an environment where learning is collaborative and exciting. We will work with parents and faculty to evaluate our progress and continually improve our efforts to make education rewarding."
"I want to see the faculty and students become more united than they currently are. I think it's important for the faculty to feel like they're a part of a supportive family not only professionally, but also personally. It helps with teacher management when we know them personally, and they trust us to have their best interests in mind."
This is a great time for the interviewer to learn more about your existing experience and how great of a performer you already are! Tabout the times when teachers, students, or parents have given you the most positive feedback about programs or projects you have been responsible for implementing. If possible, it is best to pick options that have been implemented within the past 5 years. Be eager to discuss how you selected the program or project as well as how you implemented it and the glowing remarks you received from others following its implementation. If you do not have project development experience, share what you would like to get involved in. "I organized a charity concert at an international school to raise money for a local school that had a damaged building from the recent typhoon. This was the first time our school had had this kind of event, and it happened during the busy college application season, so it took a lot of effort to collaborate with the choir and orchestra. The event was a success and we managed to raise a few thousand dollars to donate to the school. The parents loved the performance and the students enjoyed contributing as well."
"I organized a charity concert at an international school to raise money for a local school that had a damaged building from the recent typhoon. This was the first time our school had had this kind of event, and it happened during the busy college application season, so it took a lot of effort to collaborate with the choir and orchestra. The event was a success and we managed to raise a few thousand dollars to donate to the school. The parents loved the performance and the students enjoyed contributing as well."
"I implemented our schools LGBTQ student group. It is student led which offers our student body the opportunity to make decisions on their learning and the types of diversity events they offer. It's been a great awareness program for our school."
"So glad you asked! I recently led a team of teachers to implement an e-scheduling tool for students and parents to enroll classmates in for the upcoming school year. The app development was an upfront investment, but we weighed the costs and ended up saving on administrative hours. Now, students have an excellent way to learn about classroom offerings. Meanwhile, administrators are saving time on human resource related tasks, and on the enrollment process."
Answer by telling the interviewer about your short-term goals as an assistant principal, preferably while reinforcing that your goals are related to the position and school for which you have applied. Should your short-term goals significantly differ from the job or school's immediate needs, the interviewer may assume you will leave the position too soon.
"In five years from now, I would like to have grown within the school as well as have created strong relationships with the faculty here. I hope to move up the ladder and become a principal eventually. I wish to commit to my employer and contribute to the school's success."
"Five years from now, I would like to be supervising or managing a team of learning leaders. I feel like I am progressing at a rate that will make this a possibility."
"In five years I would like to be seen as an authority in this school district. I would like to be well-connected and trusted when it comes to my work in this community."
This question is something that you should have an answer ready for at all times. Perhaps you look up to a parent who was a hard worker, or a teacher who encouraged you to become who you are today. Whomever this inspiring person may be, remember that the interviewer is looking for a heartfelt response.
"My inspiration comes from my grandmother. She has spent every day of her life working hard, and I have never once heard her complain about being tired and overworked. She taught me the value of a good reputation, and I still seek out her opinion when I need inspiration."
"Many leaders inspire me, but I would have to say that my greatest inspiration comes from my mother who always taught me to stay focused and goal oriented, no matter the obstacles that come my way. This way of thinking has greatly attributed to my success."
"While it may sound cliche, my father is inspiring to me. He moved here in his 30s with two kids, a wife, no English, and no transferable education. He worked as a pizza delivery driver to make ends meet while going to school to learn to code. We may have moved a lot when I was little, but it was because he was always trying to find the next better school for us. I learned my work ethic from him and that I'm never too old to learn something new and push out of my comfort zone."
When an interviewer asks an open-ended question like this, it can be difficult to know where to begin...and end! This question haunts many individuals who may accidentally go a little too in-depth into their personal lives. It happens. Keep your reply light, and work relevant. Share how you became interested in this career path and what you enjoy about it. This question offers an excellent opportunity to describe yourself by discussing the strengths and qualities that you bring.
"I am a competitive individual who is driven and likes to win. In addition to my successful sales career, I also spend time playing competitive sports. I give back by volunteering at the local animal shelter and working for a variety of annual fundraisers in our community."
"I am a very active individual who loves to workout and go to the mountains on the weekend. I feel that my level of activity on my off time greatly improves my work during the week. I have a high amount of energy to offer!"
"I am a passionate, excited team player who loves to learn on the fly, take the lead when possible, and I have a proven track record of success. I'm loyal and have shown that through my decade-long career in the same school. I have risen through their ranks, and am ready to take on the next challenge as an assistant principal. Outside of work, I love to travel and do DIY projects in my home."
Employers are looking for individuals who can perform under stress and pressure. For instance, tell the interviewer you remain calm, professional and productive under stress and when faced with numerous deadlines. Are you someone who can handle stress on the job? How do you manage the stressful times? Talk to the interviewer about your ability to control pressure in the workplace.
"I handle stress very well, and when you call my references, they will attest to this fact. When I am under pressure on the job, I focus on the task at hand and make sure not to get distracted. Staying on deadline is very helpful, and I will delegate when necessary to alleviate some stress."
"I thrive under pressure and stress serves as a motivation for me to perform to the best of my abilities."
"Stress is part of any demanding job, and I embrace it to the fullest. I take good care of myself and prioritize my workload to maintain a healthy balance in my stress levels."
Before your interview, make sure you have a start date in mind for the new employer. If you are currently working, you should always show professionalism by offering two weeks' notice to your current employer. No hiring manager is ever impressed when they hear 'I can quit my job today and start tomorrow!' Show that you are professional and reliable in all situations.
"As a professional courtesy, I would like to give my current employer two weeks' notice. I could start anytime after that."
"I am currently unemployed; however, I have a long weekend trip planned from the 12th to the 15th. I would be thrilled to start the Tuesday after that."
"I would need to give a customary two weeks' notice to my current company so that they could choose if they want me to stay and transition my class. But, out of courtesy to them, I need to let them make the decision."
It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the company website and other online resources to ensure the questions you are asking are not mundane, or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of items you could have found the answers to from merely watching a video on their company site!
"A few questions come to mind. What's the next educational technique your school is looking to tackle? Also, what is the next step in your interviewing process?"
"Here are some sample questions: - When would you like to have this position filled? - How long has this role been vacant? - Is this a replacement search or a newly created role? - What is your favorite part of working here? - What is the school board's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months? - Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you? - What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years? - Is there any reason why you would not hire me? "
"Thank you for asking - I do have a few questions. What is top of mind when it comes to filling this role? Also, what types of career growth opportunities would follow this position? And lastly, do you have internal candidates who are also interviewing for this position?"
Assistant principals (also known as Vice Principals) manage school operations and have a wide range of responsibilities. They typically work for a school and report to the school's principal. Depending on the size of the school and other factors, there may be more than one assistant principal. Assistant principals interact with the staff to communicate priorities and provide support so that the school meets performance standards. Key performance areas include leadership and management, conflict resolution, and organizational skills. You typically will need a master's degree in a related field to qualify for the position.
Vacancies for assistant principals are typically found on school websites, trade publications, and online job boards. The interview process will be quite involved, considering that it's a key leadership position that impacts the daily operations of the school. As a leader, you'll be held accountable for certain key performance areas for the school. This responsibility may range from disciplinary issues to academic performance. The interview will most likely assess your integrity, reliability, leadership ability, as well as your personality and ability to handle responsibility. The interviewer will be comparing your competencies with the needs of the school.
To prepare for the interview, think about examples of your ability to communicate to and influence a wide range of people, such as parents, students, teachers, and staff. Think about situations in which you excelled under high pressure and were able to adapt to an increase in responsibility and accountability for others. You will be a vital part of the daily operations of the school, so it's extremely important to give very concrete examples. Do research on the school and try your best to get an understanding of the values and mission, and how the assistant principal will fit into the plan for the school's future. Inspire confidence in your interviewer by being direct and concise in your responses.