Questions to Ask at an Assistant Principal Interview

by Neil Kokemuller; Updated September 26, 2017
Assistant principal's often manage the

An assistant principal's role within a primary or secondary school is often misunderstood and under appreciated by outside observers. Assistant principals, APs, typically plan and supervise student activities and events, according to "Career Planner." They often guide students with personal, education and vocation issues. A common AP role is student discipline regarding attendance and behavior. When interviewing assistant principal candidates, consider the most important questions to ask.

Motivation

In a Marian University list of potential "School Administrator Interview Questions," a simple starter question such as "Why do you want to be an assistant principal" is noted. This general, open-ended question gives the candidate a chance to explain his reasoning and motivation for a career in school administration. Ideally, the candidate talks about a desire to improve the educational experience of students in the school district by using his educational skills and background in a leadership role. An overly power-centered response is a red flag.

Discipline

Asking questions about the candidate's approach and experience handling discipline is necessary in an assistant principal interview. "Give me an example of how you resolved a student discipline problem," is a simple request suggested by the Interview Tips and Tricks site in its "Common assistant principal interview questions" overview. A good response shows experience in a discipline and conflict resolution role, as well as a clear philosophy and consistent approach. Listen to see that the candidate's philosophy is a good fit for the school district and see that the candidate realizes the importance of discipline in the assistant principal position.

Community Relations

In public school settings, school administrators have an informal -- and sometimes formal -- responsibility to maintain good relationships with the community. Administrators, like teachers, interact with students, parents and other community members. This is especially true when APs are involved in supervising school activities. A good question from the Marian University list is "How would you improve school-community relations?" This gives the candidate an opportunity to share something that has worked well in previous school districts. It also gives you a chance to see if they understand the importance of good community relations.

Change Management

Another Marian University-suggested question is "What changes have you made in your school since becoming an (assistant) principal?" This is a great exploration question to see if the candidate operates with a status quo mentality, or attempts to participate in making improvements in his school. Assistant principals that operate in a narrowly-defined box may have a hard time interacting with others and functioning well in a leadership role. A good answer includes specific mentions of times when the AP has shared ideas and implemented plans to improve the educational environment or experience for faculty and students.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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