Get Your Leadership Job

How do I distinguish myself in order to get that leadership job? Share what works and what doesn't work.

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What to Do When a Job Interview Goes Wrong

Started by Michael Keany Apr 21, 2018. 0 Replies

What To Do If You've Blown a Job InterviewWhat to Do When a Job Interview Goes Wrong•••BY ALISON DOYLE Updated January 23, 2018Sometimes, no matter how much effort you put into …Continue

What Teacher Leadership Looks Like for the New School Year

Started by Michael Keany Aug 8, 2013. 0 Replies

What Teacher Leadership Looks Like for the New School YearAUGUST 7, 2013This post by JOSÉ VILSON originally appeared in Edutopia's …Continue


Started by Michael Keany May 28, 2013. 0 Replies


5 reasons being a mentor is good for you

Started by Michael Keany Apr 25, 2013. 0 Replies

SL 2.0 Note:  Written for business, this piece has application to educational leadership as well.5 reasons being a mentor is good for you…Continue

Interview Tips For When Someone Asks, "What Questions Do You Have For Us?" BY DRAKE BAER

Started by Michael Keany. Last reply by Joseph Sapienza Mar 6, 2013. 1 Reply

Interview Tips For When Someone Asks, "What Questions Do You Have For Us?"BY DRAKE BAER |Fast Company About the author: Kelly Gregorio writes about employment trends…Continue

How to Deal with Bad Interview Questions

Started by Michael Keany. Last reply by Angela Sigmon Feb 10, 2013. 1 Reply

How to Deal with Bad Interview QuestionsFrom the Marshall Memo #432In this Educational Horizons article, Berry College (GA) professor Mary Clement advises teacher candidates on how to respond to poorly thought-out interview questions: talk about…Continue


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Comment by Dr. Larry Aronstein on August 13, 2012 at 1:04pm



Most screening committes have a union representative at the table. The union has an interest that any new supervisor will be sensitive and perhaps even friendly to teacher unions. They don't want candidates who might be hard on teachers, unreasonable, insensitive to the needs of teachers, or ignorant of contractual obligations and the right to due process. Of course, administrators are also on the committe and they are listening carefully to your answers to make sure that you're going to be a loyal member of the administrative team. So, you've got a fine line to walk.


How do you handle questions from union reps without alienating administration? Here are a few suggestions:

*assure everyone that you will always provide full opportunities for due process and will never knowingly violate the terms of the contact

*indicate that you will fully and fairly investigate any allegations brought to your attention, looking at all the evidence

*assert that you are always guided by the principle of "do no harm" to children and that if you discover that a child is being hurt, that it is your duty to protect every child       *make it clear that you respect teachers and will safeguard their academic freedom, and appreciate that they have a difficult job

*guarantee that you will protect teachers from unreasonable demands of parents


Be guided by the guiding principle that you will be "firm, fair and friendly".



Comment by Dr. Larry Aronstein on July 27, 2012 at 7:23am



I posted this several months ago, and I think it's worth repeating:


Once you get an interview, it's all about preparation and delivery. You can't do anything about the competion-- insiders/outsiders; more experienced; local people... The key variables under your control are the quality of your preparation and delivery. Anticipating the questions that will be asked is fairly predictable. Questions generally fall among about 6 to 10 themes. The specific wording of the question is somewhat inconsequential. Here are the themes: (1) tell us about yourself; (2) supervising the veteran teacher who may not be responsive; (3) teacher obsevation/evaluation; (4) use of technology; (5) helping teachers who are having student discipline problems; (6) relationship with your supervisor; (7) what kind of leader are you; (8) effective approaches to staff development; (9) dealing with difficult parents; (10) what do you know about us.


There will  be other questions you encounter, but these are a good starting point. The strategies you take in responding are crucial.


 Let's here your ideas and questions.


Comment by Thomas Desmond on July 26, 2012 at 7:48pm

Thank you very much for the coaching sessions.  I felt very prepared and confident. I highly recommend that people make the "investment in themselves", sitting with someone who has your knowledge and experience is extremely beneficial. 

Comment by Dr. Larry Aronstein on July 11, 2012 at 12:20pm

A Resident Candidate


Your address on your resume speaks for itself. Many districts have an unspoken understanding that residents are given a courtesy interview. So, you shouldn't read too much into getting an interview. Nevertheless, interviewing is an opportunity to make a positive impression.


The politics of being a resident is tricky. In general, board members and parents like the idea of hiring local people. However, (although no one would ever admit it) it makes other administrators uncomfortable because you would have an "insider's" view on what's really happening and that you might share that information to community members-- it opens up the possibility of being disloyal to the leadership team.


You also need to examine your status in the community. Do you have children? How will your role impact them? Is your spouse active in school events? What's the effect? Are you willing to have you and your family scrutinized whenever your out publicly. Lot's to think about.

Comment by Philip D. Farrelly on July 11, 2012 at 10:49am

When writing your cover letter should you mention that you live within the school district or is it better to live unsaid, it is obvious enough by being stated in your resume? Can it be something held against you that you reside in the town or district? 

Comment by Dr. Larry Aronstein on July 10, 2012 at 12:06pm

Phillip asks: Any advice on making the transition from NYC DOE onto the island. I feel like there is a certain barrier or hurdle to get by, but just unsure what that is.


There is a barrier. Although unspoken, part of it is snobbery, and part of it is a mythology that NYC educators' experiences are not transferable to the suburbs because of the cultural differences. The challenge can be met in several ways.


(1) Apply to urban-suburban districts where, by definition, there is a good deal of diversity and poverty. (2) Get your NYC experience in successful and innovative schools where you will gain a unique and desireable skill set. (3) As you suggest, get a teaching position in a suburban district and earn an excellent reputation, and move up from within.


It can be done!

Comment by Dr. Larry Aronstein on July 10, 2012 at 11:36am

Tell Your Story


We all have a life story. Interviews should be used as a vehicle to tell our life story. The challenge is to use the interviewers' questions as prompts to weave the fabric of the story. The empahsis of the story should be crafted so that it matches and resonates with the culture and values of the school-community. In blue collar communities, I might work in my working class roots and mention that my father was a custodian at the NY airports. In affluent communities, I might emphasize my interest in the arts and my son's experiences as a vocalist. I was very impressed by a candidate who told us that she became a proficient Spanish-speaker when she was working in an urban school where 90% of the students spoke Spanish at home. I vividly recall a candidate who did extensive travel throughout Africa and lived in a small village as a Peace Corp worker. Although these folks were not necessarily the most qualified, they were the most interesting and memorable. We always remember a good personal story told by a good story teller. 

Comment by Philip D. Farrelly on July 10, 2012 at 11:34am

Any advice on making the transition from NYC DOE onto the island. I feel like there is a certain barrier or hurdle to get by, but just unsure what that is. Does anyone suggest trying to penetrate through the teaching barrier first and than taking the insider track to a leadership position?
Thanks for the feedback.

Comment by Dr. Larry Aronstein on July 1, 2012 at 11:09am

Reference Check


The reference check comes at the end of the process, usually once they're down to the last candidate. Oftentimes, they will contact people who might not be listed by you as references. If administrators have contacts in your district, they might call them, assuming they will get more candid opinions. The assumption is that references will say good things about you. In the event that there is a negative comment, you are probably in trouble, however, it depends on the source and the nature of the criticism. Be aware that teachers' unions have their own network and will call around and check you out.


Of course, the last step is the approval of the Board of Ed. They may have their own contacts as well, often citizens who live in your district. Finally, most districts will also google your name.

Comment by Bethany Rivera on July 1, 2012 at 9:56am

Thank you for all the advice. I have often wondered, at what point in the interview process does the committee contact your references? How much weight do you feel references have on the decision?


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