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 June 30, 2012 at 9:03am

Investing in Yourself


Interviews are difficult to come by. You need to capitalize on every opportunity. You have invested a great deal of time and money in earning your credentials. My advice is to get your education at the most prestigious university you can get into. You probably have purchased your special interview suit or outfit in order to make a good impression and look the part. You also attended seminars on how to prepare a resume and cover letter, and tips on interviewing. If you're really serious about your future as a school leader, then these are the investments that you make. Remember, the best investment you will ever make is in yourself.


All of these "investments" go toward increasing your chances of getting that job. To some extent, it is a game of probability. All things being equal, the best prepared candidate has the best chance.


What about receiving one-on-one coaching? If you're not getting interviews, then get some feedback on your resume and cover letter from someone who has sat on the receiving side of thousands of credentials and knows what he/she is looking at. The job of your resume and cover letter is to get you an interview. Now, if you're getting interviews and not moving along to the next step in the process and you are really serious about getting that job, then get yourself a coach.


The coach should be someone who has been a decision-maker in interviewing and hiring many, many school leaders. You should feel comfortable in relating to this person and sharing your self-perceived insecurities. A good coach will help you craft your message, teach you strategies, help build your self-confidence, give you model responses, help keep your reactions in an objective perspective, role play both sides of the table, and give you honest and constructive feedback. Coaching is just another critical investment that you can make in yourself.

Comment by Dr. Larry Aronstein on June 28, 2012 at 9:33am

You're doing many of the right things. It's not just about serving on committees, it's dependent upon the role that you play on these committes. I'm referring to serving as the chairperson, or writing portions of plans and reports, and being a presentor at Board Meetings and such. Another important activity is scheduling-- master schedule, testing schedules, PD scheduling, etc. Remember it's not just about getting bullets on your resume. It's developing valuable skills and knowledge.

Comment by Danielle Black on June 28, 2012 at 9:01am

What are some suggestions for developing my leadership skills while serving as a teacher? I'm presently a member of the Data/Inquiry Team, Site Based Management Team, Character Education Committee and the Anti-Bullying Team, but again I'm trying to think of ways to distinguish myself from the rest of the field.

Comment by Dr. Larry Aronstein on June 28, 2012 at 7:06am

The goal is to distinguish yourself from the rest of the field and becoming a more desireable candidate. Moving to another grade level and/or school demonstrates your flexibility and increases your scope of experience. If you did this voluntarily, you are also seen as a team player. Do what you can within your district to be visible, cooperative, and useful. Being an inside candidate  is probably your best bet at becoming a school leader.

Comment by Danielle Black on June 27, 2012 at 11:26pm

Thanks so much Dr. Aronstein! I've recently been granted a transfer to a middle school in my district to teach 7th and 8th grade ELA to students with disabilities and am wondering if I made the right move in (coming from elementary) trying to expand my experience to work with a different age group of children?

Comment by Dr. Larry Aronstein on June 19, 2012 at 9:09am

Tagrid Asks: What are the chances of being called for an interview when you have little or no school leadership experience?


I hate to sound cynical, however, if you aren't (1) an inside candidate, (2) live in the district, (3) have a degree from a prestigious university, (4) an active and visible member of a professional association, or (5) have a unique skill set like school scheduling,  then your chances aren't very good. Another exception is to apply for a job in a disfunctional district, where the pool of candidates may be limited and/or weak. I understand that "disfunctional" is a tough word, yet there are districts that are political hotbeds and/or have difficult working conditions. A word of caution-- be careful what you wish for! There is good reason why districts have a bad reputation-- they've earned it. Many have tried to turn these places around, and many good people have failed. It is also difficult to get a good job after you've worked in a disfunctional district. Unfortunately, there is a certain snobbery that you might not be a good educator because you're working in a disfunctional place.


Sorry to be so brutally frank!

Comment by Dr. Larry Aronstein on June 18, 2012 at 5:14pm

It is a critical question. You don't start with reciting your resume highlights. They already have that in front of them. Identify the professional characteristics that you embody. For example, mine are: relationships, rigor and relevance. I then ellaborate and provide evidence of my accomplishments that embody those characteristics.


I'll write later on the selection process.

Comment by Tagrid Sihly on June 18, 2012 at 4:58pm

How do I distinguish myself in my introduction? I've been pondering that question for the last couple of weeks. This is actually a difficult question. Where do I start? Do I focus on major accomplishments or leadership characteristics? Also, I've been wondering about the selection process. How do districts select prospective candidates for interviews? What are the chances of being called for an interview when you have little or no school leadership experience?

Comment by Dr. Larry Aronstein on June 15, 2012 at 11:30am

De-briefing and Reflecting


Interviews are hard to come by, and we all try our very best. You leave the interview and your every word and their every reaction-- facial expression, nod, smile, glance to someone else at the table-- echo in your mind. What does it all mean? Did they like me? Why didn't they like me? Did I blow the interview because of the way I answered that one question?


How do I go about constructively and objectively reflecting on my performance? Here are a few criteria against which you might judge for yourself, and remember that we evaluate based on the evidence. So, what is the evidence that:

* they liked me

* I distinguished myself through my introduction

* I understood the question and answered it appropriately

* I demonstrated that I knew their school culture and that I was a good fit

* I have the maturity and the gravitas to gain respect

* I have good judgement


Unfortunately, you may not be objective in your self-reflection. That's why you should consider working with a knowledgeable mentor or coach. Another piece of advice. Don't be too critical of yourself. Too many processes are "inside jobs" and you're only there for "window dressing". Many interviews and questions are idiocyncratic. That is, the question(s) uniquely pertain to one individual or local or personal event. This doesn't mean that you turn down an interview. You never know what can happen. One last thought. There are some places that are so toxic that you just wouldn't want to work there.


Comment by Dr. Larry Aronstein on June 13, 2012 at 1:08pm

Sorry to sound like an "old timer", which I probably am, however, nepotism and xenophobia have always existed in our schools. It goes beyond just knowing someone on the inside to get a job. You must be someone on the inside. I went through my schooling in the 50's. I've visited hundreds of schools over the last 40 years and too many of them seem like a trip back into the Twilight Zone of the 50's. It's a sad statement. I came to the realization that even if asked, I wouldn't want to work in these places. They are closed and fearful of outside people, and outside ideas and practices. So sad!


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