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Assistant Principal Interview Questions

30 Assistant Principal Interview Questions
Question 1 of 30
How important is a student-centered classroom for you?
How to Answer
School is all about the students! Administrators want to hear that this is your perspective. Tell the interviewer that the classroom must be student-focused. After all, the goal is to see students achieve success through dynamic teachers engaging with the students.

Answer Example
"A student-centered classroom is critical. When I taught ESL in China, I noticed that the teacher was speaking most of the time and students would be taking notes. The students lacked discussion ability and had little chance to develop their own opinions. I always ask my students to write down or talk about what they think about a certain issue."
Entry Level Example
"Students make up the classroom and learning experience, so they are everything when it comes to a student-centered environment!"
Experienced Example
"I think the student-centered classroom is most important for subjects such as a foreign language or creative writing or art class. In the hard maths or sciences, student participation should be encouraged, but the teacher spends more time explaining and teaching concepts, so it's a bit different for every subject."
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Question 2 of 30
When have you made a difficult decision, in regards to education? What were the risks of your decision? What was the final impact?
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How to Answer
The interviewer wants to determine your level of experience with making complex decisions. The best answer to this question will involve something that directly impacts the students or teachers. Examples may include curriculum changes after budget cuts or changing the start and end time of the school day. Telling the interviewer that you recognize how your decision will impact the lives of the students or teachers is a great idea.

Answer Example
"The school I worked for was making budget cuts and I, along with the principal and board, had to decide which of two teachers to lay off. This choice was tough as they were professionally capable and I had good personal relationships with them. I made a pros and cons list, talked to their students and their students' parents, and discussed options with each of them extensively before making a decision. In the end, I wrote a stellar recommendation for the teacher we let go, and he got into an amazing school. I think it's essential to go the extra mile when making difficult decisions like this."
Entry Level Example
"I have had to make difficult decisions, along with my principal, on a regular basis. The most challenging situations are surrounding students displaying behavioral issues. Often we need to make recommendations for these kids to be put into other programs. It is a challenge to talk to the parents about our concerns regarding their children."
Experienced Example
"We recently had to evaluate our educational offerings at the school, and for budgetary reasons, make necessary cuts to maintain for the upcoming school year. Valuing the aspects of math, science, history, language and the arts, we had some difficult decisions to make. My team and I worked together to combine the arts program and create a hybrid language program as an offering for student electives. We were able to meet budgetary requirements without compromising the integrity of a complete education - and it is something we are very proud of."
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Question 3 of 30
When have you worked together with teachers to create a higher standard or a better way of teaching?
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How to Answer
This question is designed to see how well you collaborate with teachers to achieve desired outcomes. Interviewers want to know that you understand the importance of teachers and the vast knowledge they have of the classroom. Show that you are able to collaborate well with the teachers on your roster.

Answer Example
"A couple of students from different classes had discipline issues, and I held a meeting with everyone to discuss the cases and how to work on them. We shared our experiences and success stories and came up with a communication workshop for those students instead of sending them to detention or suspending them."
Entry Level Example
"Recently, a group of teachers and I worked together to bridge some of the lesson plans from various classrooms. We wanted to add value to our classrooms with the goal of introducing a more holistic approach to teaching and learning. We implemented technology to help students stay on track and held peer work sessions before/after school where students could share their learnings."
Experienced Example
"Once, I organized a professional development day for 14 teachers who taught the same subjects. I wanted them to compare experiences and learn from each other. The teachers at my school benefitted from hearing other approaches to teaching."
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Question 4 of 30
Who are the stakeholders in each child's education? Do any of these have a higher priority than the others?
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How to Answer
Highlight that all staff members, board members, volunteers, and community members are stakeholders. In public schools, each voting member of the community is a stakeholder making decisions through elections that affect the students' education. At the same time, families and friends are also stakeholders. No group of people takes priority over another. Show the interviewer that you are willing to collaborate with all of these stakeholders to positively affect each child's outcome.

Answer Example
"I believe everyone is a stakeholder. This goes from faculty to the members of our community. Simple interactions in the hallway can impact students just as much as their home life."
Entry Level Example
"We are all stakeholders of our children's education. The parents, the teachers, the school leadership, and administration, alike. While some of these stakeholders have a closer connection with students than others, it is something that is important to everyone."
Experienced Example
"I've been paying special attention to families and friends in the school system. Parents are especially crucial because they are often the ones driving students to sports practices and registering them for music lessons, or taking them to tutoring. They also share with each other their children's progress."
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Question 5 of 30
Why do you want a career as an assistant principal?
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How to Answer
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.

Answer Example
"I want to improve the structure of the school holistically, from staff relationship to classes implementation and professional development."
Entry Level Example
"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."
Experienced Example
"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!"
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Writers for Assistant Principal Answers and Questions

Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is an executive head-hunter and job search expert. Utilized by top executives from Fortune 100 & 500 companies like Fitbit, Microsoft, General Electric, Nestle, and more, she helps professionals position themselves in a competitive marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume, a company that focuses on helping job seekers get their edge back. Renovate My Resume creates stand-out resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and professional summaries for new grads, all the way to corporate executives. Rachelle spends much of her time training career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers. She also holds interview workshops for students and interns, globally. For great tips and tricks, follow Rachelle on Instagram @_rachelle_e or @renovatemyresume.
Ryan Brown
Ryan Brown, is the creator of MockQuestions. He has over ten years experience creating interview questions. His website has helped over 10 million job seekers in their interview preparation.
First written on: 06/05/2013
Last modified on: 08/30/2018

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About Assistant Principal

August 17th, 2017

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.