Thursday, November 15, 2012

Picking a New Principal

I love being in my classroom, it’s one of my favorite places to be. When I’m asked to be out of my classroom it has to be for a really good reason and last week I was invited to take part in an interview panel for candidates applying to be the new principal of my school. I consider this an honor so I accepted and explained to my students where I was going and why I felt it was important for me to go. I had no idea that I would learn so much about myself, my school and my community!

This was my first time in this country being involved in an interview where I wasn't the one in the hot seat, so I was very curious about the procedure. The first thing that struck me on arrival was how the entire community was represented on the panel. There were teachers, parents, a student, other principals from the district and representatives from central administration. The first hour together was spent reviewing the process and the norms and I felt totally confident about my roles and responsibilities when the first candidate arrived. After the fifth candidate left my head was buzzing, trying to make sense of all the wonderful responses and I couldn't imagine how we could move forward. I was amazed at the process that followed.

Everybody had an opportunity to share and discuss their observations and this was translated into data, which I didn't think possible. Having data to look at, instead of just personal opinions, patterns became immediately apparent. These patterns were discussed and it was a really smooth and reliable way to identify two candidates to move forward. Last night the two candidates visited with staff, parents and administrators to answer their questions and move one step closer towards the goal of being principal of BCS.

The most amazing part of the process for me was being able to hear all of the different stakeholders in our community speak about the key competencies they are looking for in a new principal and how different they all are. I am so grateful that I work in a district that invites this kind of community input into making such an important decision and that value and balances the many different perspectives. It was a fabulous process to be involved in and I have a much greater appreciation for the fact that we all have different needs and valid opinions. I realize that I am also fortunate to work in a community that is passionate about education and with and for people who care so much about our kids and our school. BCS is a great place to be!

I asked my students to tell me what they would look for in a new principal and this is what they came up with:

Honest, trusting, good communicator, not too strict, patient, sense of humor, caring smart, problem solver, serious, someone who makes student safety a priority, physically fit, entertaining, fun.

Because of the great process that was used to determine their new principal, I am sure that they will not be disappointed!


  1. I'm curious to hear more about how the opinions of the various stakeholders were translated into a data set. Care to share some detail for a curious future administrator??

  2. It is always important to appreciate our varying roles and responsibilities. I, too, value our ability to rotate in and out of different jobs and participate in processes without always having to be the final arbiter, a job to which we are much accustomed as classroom teachers.