Education

Q&A: Positioning for a School Administration Job

By Anthony Rebora — December 11, 2008 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Pamela Murphy is Senior Manager of Human Resources with Harford County public schools in Bel Air, Md. In that capacity, she has facilitated search processes for new principals, and conducted training sessions for teachers on administrative opportunities in the district. She helps conduct a course on site-based HR management for existing administrators, as well other staff looking to move into administrative positions. We recently asked what schools look for in principal candidates and how teachers can make the transition to school administration positions.

What qualities do schools in your district generally look for in a new principal or assistant principal?

Principals are looked upon to be the “instructional leader” in the building. They head the School Instructional Leadership Team and the oversee the School Improvement Plan. Therefore, when reviewing an application we look at past leadership roles, prior work on curriculum/instructional projects, committees, etc. Has the person demonstrated and effective use of data in their decision making?

At the secondary level, we have a tiered assistant principal system. That is, an AP “1” is entry level and someone who is typically right out of the classroom. When interviewing for those positions, we’re looking for potential. Will they be able to handle the transition to administration (i.e., handle discipline referrals, employee issues, building scheduling, etc.). The highest tier is the AP “4”. Those candidates should have a good understanding of the day-to-day managerial aspects of the building and are now fine tuning the instructional leadership role. Whether a principal or AP, we always look for student-centered focus, good communication skills, time-management skills, comfort with and ability to use data, and effective use of technology.

What advice would you give to a teacher who is interested in advancing to a principal or assistant principal position? How might he or she improve his or her chances?

I would strongly encourage them to talk with a good mix of current administrators and shadow them if possible—both on the instructional and noninstructional sides of the house. Find out what the real challenges are to being in administration. Of course, making sure you hold or are eligible for the required certificate/license is important. I have found many new administrators are unprepared for how different it is outside the classroom. For example, the pay increase is nice, but some don’t realize there is a corresponding time increase. Another hurdle many have difficulty with is the “management” piece of the job. My colleagues and I are always getting phone calls asking what to do with a problem employee.

What licensure requirements must principal candidates meet? What are the options for a teacher who might want to pursue them?

In our district, they must hold or be eligible for an Advanced Professional Certificate with an Administrator II endorsement. And “APC” means that they have at least 3 years of successful teaching experience and a master’s degree. They can get the Admin II endorsement by either doing their masters in school administration or taking specific courses (e.g., education law) beyond their masters.

How have you identified teachers who you think might be ready for administration positions? What traits or skills do you look for?

Many are identified by the Education Services Department as well as their principals. They are then encouraged to go through the leadership development program. Again we look for those teachers that have already begun to assume leadership roles both within their schools or in other arenas. They could be members of the School Improvement Team, served on a professional learning committee, worked on curriculum review, taught a course at the college level, or served on a state-wide committee of some sort. We’re trying to identify are those who are self-motivated.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP
Education Massachusetts National Guard to Help With Busing Students to School
250 guard personnel will be available to serve as drivers of school transport vans, as districts nationwide struggle to hire enough drivers.
1 min read
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass. Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, activated the state's National Guard to help with busing students to school as districts across the country struggle to hire enough drivers.
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass.
Michael Dwyer/AP
Education FDA: ‘Very, Very Hopeful’ COVID Shots Will Be Ready for Younger Kids This Year
Dr. Peter Marks said he is hopeful that COVID-19 vaccinations for 5- to 11-year-olds will be underway by year’s end. Maybe sooner.
4 min read
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in the Food and Drug Administration, testifies during a Senate health, education, labor, and pensions hearing to examine an update from federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19 on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 11, 2021. On Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, Marks urged parents to be patient, saying the agency will rapidly evaluate vaccines for 5- to 11-year-olds as soon as it gets the needed data.
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in the Food and Drug Administration, testifies during a Senate health, education, labor, and pensions hearing to examine an update from federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19 on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 11, 2021.
Jim Lo Scalzo/AP