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Assistant Principal Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 30th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 30
How important is a student-centered classroom for you?
View Answers
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.
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Top 30 Assistant Principal Interview Questions with Full Content
1.
How important is a student-centered classroom for you?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Students make up the classroom and learning experience, so they are everything when it comes to a student-centered environment!"
Anonymous Answer
"A student-centered classroom is very important, especially if we want our students to have the skills to be successful in a 21st-century global society. Research shows that students need to acquire certain 21st-century skills. These skills include problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication. A student-centered classroom provides opportunities for students to learn these skills."
Rachelle's Answer
Excellent response! Well said.
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Anonymous Answer
"Student-centered classrooms are crucial to the development of 21 Century learners. We are living in a 21st Century Global World. With this in mind, we need to develop critical, innovative thinkers who can problem-solve, collaborate, and communicate effectively. Allowing the students to drive lessons and explore as they learn will help build these skills."
Rachelle's Answer
Very well said! You are very knowledgeable and passionate when it comes to optimizing student learning.
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2.
When have you made a difficult decision, in regards to education? What were the risks of your decision? What was the final impact?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"Launching a new site in Atlanta had its challenges, and this created some frustrations with my staff. I worked hard to maintain positivity and to build a culture based on TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More. One staff member was continually negative, complaining about every little thing. Several of my staff came to me about this because it was starting to affect them. I had to have a difficult conversation with this teacher because I could not allow her to keep filling our TEAM with negativity. It was a difficult decision to have this conversation because this particular staff member was headstrong, and I knew she would not take this conversation lightly. But, to my surprise, that did not happen. She was receptive and acknowledged her negativity and promised to have a more positive outlook. The risks of my decision could have been a confrontation, emotions, or dismissing the employee. The final impact was beneficial."
Rachelle's Answer
Your answer is very detailed and helpful. Nicely done!
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Anonymous Answer
"I made the decision not to change a grade for a football player-even though I was told to do so. He had 51% in my English class, and the administration wanted him to have a 79.5%. It was a large Catholic High School. They fired me!"
Lauren's Answer
Since you are comfortable sharing this example, add more context to your response so the interviewer gets to know who you are. You want to be a standout candidate, so adding more information with your example could be helpful.
"I have once confronted by a very difficult predicament. I was instructed to change a grade for an athlete. There were a multitude of risks for me, the student, and the school depending on how I decided to deal with the issue. Ultimately, I could not go against my integrity, and therefore did not change the grade. As a result, I was terminated from that school. That experience taught me many lessons. I stand firm my values, and know that I made the right decision. I lead by example, and will not alter my integrity personally or professionally."
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3.
When have you worked together with teachers to create a higher standard or a better way of teaching?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"We have just introduced Math Google Sites. After the Google summit held here at EMS, one of the teachers was excited about the idea and brought it to me. We took it to administrative, and they loved it. Since September we have been teaching Math Units through Google Sites as well as our Poetry Unit. We plan on adding other Units as well. Parents and students love the idea of having access at home to what is being taught in class."
Rachelle's Answer
This sounds like a very exciting initiative, and your enthusiasm really shines through here!
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Anonymous Answer
"I have been on the English Language Arts curriculum writing team for the last five years. I have collaborated on writing, reading, and word study with a team of 3 other people and have written the 4th-grade curriculum. I went through the training to learn how to write district benchmarks. I was also a Lab classroom teacher for two years for ELA. I would have 25 teachers come into my classroom four times per year and they would observe me teaching a lesson. This was my district-wide experience but on my team we data team every week to assess how to use our RTI time most effectively. We look at our CFA's and then divide them into groups so that each grouping is very strategic. We decide which teacher should take specific groups according to that teacher's strengths. The student then changes classes for that time. We set Smart Goals and usually do multiple rounds of instruction and reassessing before we end a cycle."
Alexandra's Answer
This is a good start to your answer. This clearly displays how you've collaborated with teachers. However, it's a bit unclear where the example of "creating a higher standard" or "better way of teaching" comes in. I recommend revising your answer so that part is very clear.
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4.
Who are the stakeholders in each child's education? Do any of these have a higher priority than the others?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"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."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"Anybody who cares about that child's success is a stakeholder in their education. I think that the important aspect of this question is not who the stakeholders are but how are you going to properly engage them, so that the child's needs are going to be met. Teachers are stakeholders and they need time to teach. Parents are stakeholders, and sometimes they need extra resources to parent. Administrators are stakeholders in a child's education, and they are the gatekeepers that ensure that fairness and accountability are being met by all the other stakeholders."
Alexandra's Answer
Great answer! I like that you describe the role of each stakeholder.
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Anonymous Answer
"Parents have the highest priority. Teachers and coaches and other school personnel also have a high priority, depending on what involvement they have with the student."
Lauren's Answer
I suggested making a generalized statement preceding your response. See below.
"All adults in a child’s life have the ability to impact their educational success. School staff have a large responsibility in supporting the educational values and consistency put forth in the home. To me, parents have the highest priorities followed by teachers, coaches, and other school personnel."
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5.
Why do you want a career as an assistant principal?
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.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I want to improve the structure of the school holistically, from staff relationship to classes implementation and professional development."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"I believe I am ready for this position. I've been influential in the lives of so many students over the past 19 years, leading, guiding, and supporting them. I am now ready to do more than just teach."
Rachelle's Answer
Good answer! You show wonderful career progression and a true desire to grow.
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Anonymous Answer
"I have been a teacher for ten years. I have taken every leadership position that was put in front of me as preparation for becoming an administrator. I understand classroom dynamics and how important relationship building is between children and teachers. It's important for teachers to empower children, engage them, and make them feel valued for their contributions. My career aspirations are to lead children and teachers to do their best."
Alexandra's Answer
Great answer! Your passion shows through in this answer.
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