37 Interview Questions That Will Help You Find Effective K-12 School Superintendents
A school district is a collection of schools that operate within a specified area of a state. It is ultimately governed by a school board that is entrusted with overseeing its overall management. Think of it as being the equivalent of a corporate board of directors. In a corporate board structure, the members represent the shareholders, and in a school board, its members represent community stakeholders, which include private citizens, business owners, parents, and students.
At the end of the day, a school board appointment is only a part-time obligation, and so the board must hire a school superintendent to oversee the day to day operations of the school district. The superintendent is also charged with implementing the school district’s policies and carrying out the decisions of the school board.
If you are a school board member in charge of leading the search for a new school district superintendent, how can you be sure that you are hiring an effective leader, every time, without fail? The key is asking the right questions during the interview process. Let’s look at 37 interview questions that will help you find a quality school superintendent.
- Why are you considering leaving your current position?
- What qualifies you for this position? Do you have the educational background, the proper credentials, or professional experience needed to assume a job of this magnitude and scope?
- Have you researched our school district and the surrounding communities? What did you find out?
- If your current district tried to entice you to remain there after we offered you the position, what would you do?
- Would you commute from your current community or move to one within our school district.
- How do you plan to keep yourself and the board abreast of current trends in the field of PreK-12 education?
Questions Regarding Board-Superintendent Relations
- As you see it, what is the role of the superintendent? What is the role of the school board?
- Are you capable of working with the board to set district goals?
- Have you ever worked on or authored any school board policies?
- Should the superintendent make a recommendation to the school board on every agenda item that would require any type of board action?
- Do you have any experience using Robert’s Rule of Order-Revised?
Questions Regarding Personnel
- How do you see the chain of command operating in a district of this size?
- In the hiring process, what is the job of the teachers, principals, superintendent and board of education?
- In the personnel evaluation process, what is the job of the teachers, principals, superintendent and board of education?
- Have you ever authored or revised an evaluation system for school district personnel?
- What are your thoughts on delegating authority? How do you do it?
Questions Regarding Professional Negotiations
- What are the pros and cons of employee unions?
- In the negotiation process, what is the role of the principals, superintendent, and board of education?
Questions Regarding Public School Finance
- Do you understand the financial accounting system that our state uses?
- Have you ever developed a comprehensive school budget?
- What are your thoughts on deficit financing and deficit spending?
- Are you familiar with how the funding formula for this state works?
- How would you describe the financial condition of our district?
- Have you ever been required to conduct a campaign for an annual general budget vote or a capital project campaign and vote?
Questions Regarding Curriculum & Instruction
- Should be school district be held accountable for improving the effectiveness of its teachers?
- How would you implement a curriculum change?
- How would you organize the district, regarding curriculum, in a way that maximizes student performance and potential?
- What should the superintendent’s and the board’s job in the curriculum development process?
- How many curriculum offerings should a district of our size offer?
- How will you ensure that the district’s curriculum is audited and aligned with state and national standards?
Questions About Maintenance, Transportation, and Food Service Programs
- Do you have any experience managing a district transportation program?
- Should the district maintain its own transportation program or contract with a transportation service?
- Would you create a custodial and preventive maintenance plan for the district?
- Do you have any experience managing a district food-service program?
- Questions Regarding School/Community Relations
- How would you establish positive public relations between the district and the community?
- Are you open to the community using district resources?
Well, that’s it for my list. Let me know how it goes.