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Preschool Director Interview
Questions

40 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated September 7th, 2020 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Careers     Management    
Question 1 of 40
What experience have you had with students from culturally diverse backgrounds?
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How to Answer
The interviewers want to learn more about your level of experience with diversity in an educational setting. Share your experience in leading students from diverse cultural backgrounds. To ensure that your response is thorough, be ready to discuss your experiences working with students of different ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
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Answer Examples
1.
What experience have you had with students from culturally diverse backgrounds?
The interviewers want to learn more about your level of experience with diversity in an educational setting. Share your experience in leading students from diverse cultural backgrounds. To ensure that your response is thorough, be ready to discuss your experiences working with students of different ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Rachelle's Answer
"In my eight years as a teacher and now as a Preschool Director, I have worked with students from nearly all ranges of socio-economic status, culture, and religion. I firmly believe that a school should be a soft landing place for students of all backgrounds. We need to support those around us, no matter how different they are from us. Could you share with me how your school actively embraces a diverse student population?"
2.
What teaching techniques do you encourage to accommodate different learning styles?
The interviewers would like to know that you have valid methods for teaching students with varying learning styles. Not all students will absorb their lessons in the same manner. Visual, auditory, and tactical learners have very different needs. Think about the teaching methods you have used in the past, and the techniques you encourage your teaching staff to explore. Be prepared to give specific examples of how you, as a Preschool Director, support the needs of a wide range of learners.

Rachelle's Answer
"One thing I have learned, over my years of being an educator is that kids learn much better when they have the opportunity to move around and express themselves in a safe and welcoming environment. When I was teaching, I created learning stations in my classroom, where students would have 'free time' during the day to explore various stations. The stations they each choose showed me a great deal about their learning preferences. Some enjoy tactile-based tasks; some like to read - others, to practice writing their name. Now, as a Preschool Director, I help my teaching staff to develop a wide range of learning opportunities for their students. There are eight primary learning styles, all of which our school works hard to accommodate. These learning styles include visual, verbal, and aural learners. Also, we have logical, solitary, and naturalist learners. In addition to these, we have students who identify as social and physical learners. For visual learners, I ask my teachers to provide visual metaphors when storytelling or introducing a new concept. For verbal learners, we make sure there is time for the teacher to read aloud to the class. For aural learners, we provide access to audiobooks, and we introduce activities where students can problem-solve out loud. When it comes to logical learners, we present age-appropriate facts that they can memorize. Solitary learners receive independent problem-solving tasks throughout the day, and naturalist learners receive exercises where they can find patterns and perform experiments. Lastly, for our social and physical learners, we teach through group work, physical activity, and hands-on experiments."
3.
Discuss your experience creating new policies within an education environment.
As a Preschool Director, you should be capable of creating and establishing policies and facilitating proper communication with your teachers and other personnel. The interviewers would like you to walk them through your experience as it related to education-based policies. Show that you are highly capable of recognizing when policy change needs to happen and that you have the confidence to see change through when necessary. If possible, give a story-based example of a time when you changed or enforced policy in the workplace.

Rachelle's Answer
"When I first joined my current school, there were inadequate policies related to classroom safety. The lack of policy surprised me since a preschool should put the safety of the children as a top priority. First, I created a planogram for each classroom. I asked each teacher to organize the classroom space to allow for safer movement. The classroom layout that I provided allowed all students to walk around safety, and it also allowed the teachers to be more engaged in their lessons as they could walk around the desks and learning stations. The new plan also allowed for easier classroom control, which the teachers appreciated. Next, I developed a clearer plan for students who were marked absent or late. I wanted to ensure that if there was a concern with a student that the faculty and staff were aware much sooner in the day than previously recorded. Rest assured, when it comes to creating new internal policies, enforcing state-mandated policies, and communicating policy changes to my team, I am very diligent and detailed."
4.
Discuss a time you mentored a new educator. How did you effectively motivate, develop, and direct the teacher?
Teaching is a challenging vocation, and, as a Preschool Director, you are well aware that new educators have a multitude of responsibilities and tasks to learn. The interviewers want to see your ability to mentor new teachers for the sake of leadership but also to increase staff attrition. This question presents an excellent opportunity to discuss the ways you act as a mentor and a leader. Tell the interviewers how you built a great relationship with a new educator, how you built mutual respect, and the way you approached mentoring this individual.

Rachelle's Answer
"This year I have taken on more mentorship based responsibilities since I hired three new educators. I am working to create a formal framework when it comes to approaching mentorship. I have based the foundation of this mentorship program on helping new teachers enter their profession with confidence. I focus on helping these new teachers become an active part of their community, develop a professional growth plan, and learn how to lead engaging classrooms. Currently, I provide these three new teachers with feedback about their performance in our weekly one-on-one meetings. In these meetings, I allow them to ask for help with curriculum, problem-solving strategies, and student and parent relationship management. This ongoing feedback also improves staff retention and overall attrition in my preschool. I thoroughly enjoy motivating teachers by being their cheerleader and helping them uncover strengths they did not realize they had! I also like to encourage their professional development by providing ongoing education opportunities for them to boost their teaching skills. So far, by building this mentorship program, I have helped make a positive impact on these teachers' confidence levels, which will greatly benefit everyone in the school community."
5.
Do you hold the National Administration Credential (NAC) from the National Child Care Association?
Preschool Directors in the USA have the opportunity to earn the National Administration Credential (NAC) from the National Child Care Association. This credential is a recognition that a person has the knowledge and skills needed to run a preschool. To earn the NAC, a person must take the NAC course that covers topics including:

- Organization development
- Administrative planning
- Marketing
- Personnel management
- Laws and regulations
- Community relations
- Finance

The National Child Care Association is a trusted voice for many preschool facilities in the United States. If you have these credentials, be sure to express the fact that you value these credentials. If you do not hold this credential, take some time to uncover whether this is a non-negotiable requirement for this position. If this credential is non-negotiable, express your willingness to obtain this credential.

Rachelle's Answer
"I completed the National Administrator Credential three years ago, and found a great deal of value in this 45-hour course. By obtaining this credential, I learned to master many administration skills required for a director in an educational environment. I also learned how to manage child care programs better. I believe in the NCCA's mission and would encourage any child educator to complete this coursework."
6.
Discuss your passion for educating preschool children.
The interviewers want to see that you have a genuine passion for your career as a Preschool Director. When approaching this question, be open and share your heart with the interviewers. Be a real person, and describe the impact you want to make on others. Perhaps another person positively impacted your life as a child, leading you to this career path. If you have a hard time pinpointing what you are most passionate about, try asking yourself - even on the most challenging days, what factors of your job keep you happy and engaged?

Rachelle's Answer
"My passion for the education field sparked from an early age, and I always knew that I had a desire to help children set a healthy foundation for their future. Growing up, both of my parents were educators. My mother was an elementary school art teacher, and my father, a high-school chemistry teacher. They loved their jobs and, in fact, just retired a couple of years ago. I was always so proud to see them helping young students achieve their educational goals. Before becoming a Preschool Director, I was an elementary school teacher for ten years. I grew into a director role after realizing that I had strengths in building curriculum, communicating with the community, and mentoring other educators. I am thrilled by the career path that I have taken and consider it an honor to develop and nurture our next wave of leaders."
7.
Describe a time when you faced an ethical dilemma in the workplace.
Preschool Directors and early childhood educators face a plethora of ethical dilemmas. Along with these ethical challenges comes great responsibility. Situations that challenge our ethics, or the ethics of our coworkers, can be sensitive to discuss. First, show that you can differentiate an uncomfortable situation from an ethical dilemma. You may face a moral problem when the issue defies your ideas of right and wrong. An ethical dilemma could include a case that infringes on the rights of others, hurts the best interest of others, or threatens fundamental human rights.

Give a specific story-based example of a time when you faced an ethical challenge in the workplace. Answer with grace, being sure never to discredit any particular person or facility. When offering a story of a 'time when,' you may find it helpful to follow the STAR framework. STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result.

Rachelle's Answer
"(Situation) When I was a Preschool Teacher, I had a parent ask me to ensure that their child ate all of their lunch. The parent did not have time to feed the child immediately after picking them up from school and found that the child would often say they were hungry right after being picked up, around 4:00 in the afternoon. (Task) I knew from observing the child that they did not eat their entire lunch because they were sharing their food with a friend who had less than they did. Although I knew the child was hungry because they were sharing food with their friend, I could not provide this information to the parent as it would disclose the financial situation of another family. (Action) I approached my director at the time to gain sound advice on how to handle this situation. The director and I agreed that we needed to accept the preference of the one family while still protecting the dignity of the other. The following day, I approached the parent of the giving child. I told them that, through observation, it seemed they had raised a very generous and kind child who seemed to love nothing more than to share her delicious lunch. I explained that although I could not stop their child from sharing food, perhaps they could discuss with their child the effects of sharing their lunch, which would be feeling hungry until dinner time. (Result) In the end, the child continued to share because it was in her nature. The parents of the giving child began to keep healthy snacks in their vehicle, ready for the child at pickup. This situation also prompted our Preschool Director to push forward with further funding requests, which allowed us to provide more nutritious options for our preschool children from underserved families."
8.
What resources do you lean on to stay current on new child development, learning, and teaching techniques?
The field of education is continually changing, and the interviewers want to see your willingness to adapt to new introductions. Show the hiring authorities that you are entirely open to research, learning, and trying new teaching techniques that align with your schools' mission and vision.

Speak positively about change while also highlighting the fact that you are careful to make calculated decisions when it comes to the introduction of new learning or teaching techniques and tools. After all, you must be mindful of the needs of your teachers and student body. Bring your response to life by discussing a new teaching trend or technique that has recently piqued your interest. If you have attended any conferences or workshops lately, talk about the experience and how you grew professionally.

Rachelle's Answer
"I have used a range of tools and resources spanning my ten-year career as an early childhood educator and Preschool Director. My favorite resource for learning new developments in child learning is the Center on the Developing Child from Harvard University. I visit this website weekly and catch up on new thoughts and research regarding the core concepts of early development. For new teaching techniques, I lean on my network of other experienced teachers and directors. I also subscribe to the blog by Edutopia.com, where they discuss many new tech-integrated teaching tools. I am always open to exploring new resources, and if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them!"
9.
How do you monitor the performance of your work and the work of others?
As a Preschool Director, you will monitor the performance of your teachers and other personnel. You might track performance as it relates to student assessments, program standards, and feedback from the families of your students. When it comes to your administrative staff and other personnel, perhaps you keep a close eye on how closely your school is abiding by industry regulations and how well the facility is maintained.

A successful leader focuses' on leading their team members to success, but they must also remember to measure the actions that led to that success. By measuring success, you can show your team how far they have come towards reaching their goals or how much harder they need to work if they miss targets.

The interviewers would like to know that you keep a thumb on the beat of your team members, their performance, and results. Give specific details around how you track, monitor, and analyze the work performance of others.

Rachelle's Answer
"I monitor the performance of my staff against numerous benchmarks in a variety of areas. I make careful note of attendance, punctuality, and sick days. With that data, I can draw a correlation between the team members' performance and their overall engagement levels. I also take note of how often they help their colleagues to succeed. When their coworkers are winning, they are also winning, and our student body benefits. I look at the amount of classroom time the educators are putting in. Then, I compare that data to the overall performance of their students. I also measure performance and success through peer-to-peer and parent feedback. Taking all of these measurements, I share the results in the monthly one-on-one performance reviews that I facilitate. When an employee knows that I notice even a small uptick in their productivity, they are more likely to perform at their peak ability."
10.
What is your greatest weakness as a Preschool Director? What are you doing to improve?
The interviewers are looking for gaps in your knowledge related to the duties of a Preschool Director. When discussing your weaknesses, genuine vulnerability is essential. The interviewers want you to be honest about your weaknesses and, at the same time, they want to see that you are proactive and dedicated to professional growth. It's essential to maintain a positive tone, show confidence, and display a desire for growth. Avoid cliche answers such as 'I work too hard,' or 'I am loyal to a fault.' These are 'false' weaknesses that candidates use when they are unprepared, and interviewers never appreciate this approach.

Rachelle's Answer
"I believe my biggest weakness is preparing budgets and allocating program funds. I spent most of my career in the public school system, where the school district did most of the fund allocation and budget preparation. It was up to me to ensure we were abiding by the set budget; however, I had very little say when it came to funding allocation. To improve in this area, I have enrolled in a course called 'Financial Management in Education.' This course is a 4-week program offered online, and I am approximately 50% of the way through now. I am performing very well in the class, and I am eager to apply my new skills in this Preschool Director role."
11.
Outline your process for recruiting, interviewing, and hiring teachers and other personnel.
Recruiting, interviewing, and hiring teachers and other personnel will likely be a significant part of your role as a Preschool Director. The interviewers would like to know your approach for attracting new talent to your school.

Perhaps you keep open job ads on the school website, or maybe you maintain close relationships with a local college so that you have the tip on new graduates who might be a good fit for your school. Perhaps you attend career fairs at regional college campuses' to attract recent graduates.

When it comes to interviewing and making hiring decisions, mention that your interviews are well structured and that you keep a consistent and fair decision-making process. If you are responsible for making the final the hiring decision, discuss the factors that you look for when making your final selections.

Rachelle's Answer
"Hiring the right teachers and staff for a preschool setting is a very dedicated and meticulous process. I take my hiring decisions seriously as they impact our existing team, our school community, and the students in our care. I primarily recruit through existing staff referrals since these types of hires have a much higher stick-rate and tenure. I also have a strong relationship with the director of our local college, offering degrees in early childhood education. When they have an outstanding graduate, the director facilitates an introduction. More often than not, these leads end up being solid. When interviewing, I have a list of non-negotiables for hiring educators and other personnel. First, they must pass a rigorous background check, which includes criminal, drug, and education checks. Each successful candidate must show enthusiasm and support of the school's mission and vision. I look for answers that show actionable results and traits such as empathy, kindness, and self-awareness. Our school environment is diverse, so I also ask a variety of questions surrounding diversity and inclusion, and I ensure that they agree to our D&I plan. I have a robust 90-day onboarding plan to ensure that each new hire sticks and that every person introduced to our school community feels welcome and empowered."
12.
Our Preschool Director must be active in this community. How do you plan to immerse yourself in our schools' surrounding community?
Community and family partnerships are essential for the success of a preschool serving a specific public or private community. For that reason, the interviewers want to know how you plan to create and nurture community-based relationships. By having good community relationships, you open up your school to valuable and exciting resources such as funding, volunteers, and public relations opportunities. Discuss the ways you are active in your community currently, and how you plan to be an active community member should you be hired as this facility's next Preschool Director.

Rachelle's Answer
"Community involvement has always been critical for publicly and privately funded schools. I realize the importance of active community participation, and I follow through in a variety of ways. First, I serve in a volunteer capacity every weekend at our local servery, where lunches are pre-packed for children in underserved communities. I have also helped to head our school districts' breakfast program, as part of the 'No Child Hungry' campaign in our area. When it comes to our school community, I help arrange two major fundraisers each year. One fundraiser is to raise funds for child literacy and the other for children's' mental health. I also develop strong relationships with the families of our students. By doing so, I have been able to create a strong volunteer network that greatly benefits our students and teachers. When it comes to this new Preschool Director opportunity, I would like to take a bit of time to observe the needs in this community to see where to best direct my efforts, but I plan to be just as active in this community, should I be hired."
13.
Walk us through your education and how your studies will benefit our preschool, should you be hired.
Being asked to take your interviewers on a journey through your background can be a challenging task. The question is open-ended, so it can be tough to know where to begin and where to end! Using the Past, Present, Future model, you can provide useful and relevant information while organizing your response in a way that keeps your thoughts organized and on track.

- Past: Provide a brief overview of your education.
- Present: Discuss your current work and how your post-secondary knowledge has helped you succeed.
- Future: Talk about your career aspirations and how your education has prepared you for success in this new Preschool Director role.

If it feels more natural to you, you can also frame your answer as Present, Past, Future.

Rachelle's Answer
"(Past) My post-secondary education is in Early Childhood Education. Specifically, I completed a 5-year concurrent pathway in BEd, allowed me to earn two degrees in five years of study. I graduated with both a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Science. My favorite courses included Integrating Arts Education and Diversity in Learning. (Present) Currently, I work as a Preschool Director for an arts-based preschool, where I spend a lot of time building and introducing programs based on various education-based art, dance, drama, and music techniques. These programs have helped our students to build skills in collaboration, physical awareness, movement, and emotional intelligence. (Future) If hired, I plan to apply this experience while also utilizing my knowledge in diversity to help grow your school community in terms of mindfulness, while introducing more contemporary educational perspectives. As you can see, your schools' mission aligns well with my core passions and educational background. It would be an honor to grow my career with your preschool."
14.
Our Preschool Director will have a variety of administrative responsibilities. What type of admin duties do you take care of in your current role?
A Preschool Director will oversee the administration and day-to-day operations of a preschool. These administrative and operational duties may include recruiting teachers and other staff as well as training and retaining personnel. Requirements may include overseeing the care and maintenance of the school building, ensuring that the building is safe and clean for your students. Other administrative duties may consist of financial responsibilities, marketing, and relationship management with families and the community. Discuss any related responsibilities you currently take care of and assure the interviewers that you are capable of proper administrative care.

Rachelle's Answer
"Currently, as the director of a private preschool, I am responsible for financial management duties such as creating the annual budget, presenting the financial plan to the Board of Directors, and allocating funds throughout the year. I am also responsible for talent attraction strategies, with a focus on recruiting experienced preschool teachers with a focus on language and the arts. I spend a lot of time on our marketing plan as well, and I give media interviews upon request. Looking at my overall job mandate, I have a hand in nearly all administrative responsibilities. Rest assured, I am very comfortable in handling a wide range of admin-related tasks."
15.
A Preschool Director must hold the highest ethical standards. How have you proven yourself to be a trustworthy individual?
A Preschool Director holds ethical obligations to their students, their families, and their coworkers. These standards include respecting each child for who they are, accepting their abilities, and creating an environment of trust. As a Preschool Director, you must be trustworthy and abide by the strictest ethical standards. After all, parents are leaving their children in your care. Show the interviewers that you carry through on your word, build healthy relationships, and are a respected professional with a positive career path.

Rachelle's Answer
"As a Preschool Director, I have a legal and moral responsibility to report any suspected cases of child abuse. I am also responsible for maintaining confidentiality for each child and family. I work in a climate of trust, and I act in a way that supports this trust. I help empower and build up the students in my care. In my current position, I prove to be trustworthy by keeping open communication with the families of our students, while respecting the fact that we have a diverse array of beliefs, backgrounds, and family values."
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40 Preschool Director Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. What experience have you had with students from culturally diverse backgrounds?
  2. What teaching techniques do you encourage to accommodate different learning styles?
  3. Discuss your experience creating new policies within an education environment.
  4. Discuss a time you mentored a new educator. How did you effectively motivate, develop, and direct the teacher?
  5. Do you hold the National Administration Credential (NAC) from the National Child Care Association?
  6. Discuss your passion for educating preschool children.
  7. Describe a time when you faced an ethical dilemma in the workplace.
  8. What resources do you lean on to stay current on new child development, learning, and teaching techniques?
  9. How do you monitor the performance of your work and the work of others?
  10. What is your greatest weakness as a Preschool Director? What are you doing to improve?
  11. Outline your process for recruiting, interviewing, and hiring teachers and other personnel.
  12. Our Preschool Director must be active in this community. How do you plan to immerse yourself in our schools' surrounding community?
  13. Walk us through your education and how your studies will benefit our preschool, should you be hired.
  14. Our Preschool Director will have a variety of administrative responsibilities. What type of admin duties do you take care of in your current role?
  15. A Preschool Director must hold the highest ethical standards. How have you proven yourself to be a trustworthy individual?
  16. What do you enjoy most about being a Preschool Director?
  17. As a Preschool Director, what measures do you take to ensure that your students are safe and in excellent care?
  18. If asked to create a behavior modification plan for ongoing student behavior concerns, what would the plan look like?
  19. Which valid state qualifications and licenses do you currently possess?
  20. How do you build healthy relationships with challenging parents?
  21. Why did you choose to pursue a career as a Preschool Director?
  22. How do you evaluate the productivity of your teaching staff?
  23. A Preschool Director must have harmonious relationships with personnel, parents, and other stakeholders. How would others describe your personality in the workplace?
  24. How do you handle facilitating difficult performance reviews with your personnel?
  25. If you could develop your knowledge in any area of childhood education, which topic would you choose?
  26. Talk about a time when you demonstrated excellent teaching skills.
  27. If you could change anything about your role as a Preschool Director, what would you choose?
  28. What factors make you an effective leader of young students and other educators?
  29. Tell us about a time when you had to come to a program or education-related decision while under pressure.
  30. Talk about your experience building a curriculum for preschool students.
  31. What do you know about our preschool?
  32. Describe a program-related improvement you initiated. Why was it essential, and what was the impact?
  33. Do you have a preference between the public or private education system?
  34. In what kind of educational environment do you believe students best thrive?
  35. Our Preschool Director must pass a criminal record check and education verification. Is there anything you would like to disclose?
  36. Share an experience in which you successfully helped a teacher solve a problem related to a student's progress.
  37. Which critical skills are most important for a Preschool Director to possess?
  38. What is your greatest strength related to this Preschool Director role, and how will it benefit our preschool?
  39. What are your short and long-term career goals in the field of education?
  40. Why are you the best Preschool Director for us?
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