An up and coming LYS Assistant Principal submits.

“Yet again, the LYS administrator was denied a job because the tempo, enthusiasm, and drive to make teachers step up their game and come out of their comfort zones threatened the status quo. I am beginning to see how lost 50% of superintendents are. They are afraid to rock the boat for improved performance. They only want peace, harmony and business as usual.

The sad thing is that this district’s community and student populations are changing rapidly and the district does not have an answer for their diminishing test scores. I gave them a solution to their problem in the form of a fired up, front-line leader. As a finalist for the job, they had a clear cut choice between a young go-getter or a safe, status quo loving, “yes” man. End of the story.

I will not compromise my values and my commitment to students and our LYS practices just to sit in the big chair. Students first and LYS till the day I die.”

SC Response
First of all, we have to remember that we don’t get every job we apply for (thank the Lord). Dr. Richard Hooker taught me that the formula for getting a principalship in a different district than where you currently work is 100 applications for 10 interviews for 1 job. And that is if you interview well. The other significant variable is experience in the position vs. no experience in the position. Right now you have none, so all ties go to the experienced candidate. It might not be fair, but it is less risky for the employer.

I think without realizing it, you hit on a valid point. Campuses look for different types of leaders, sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly. Some campuses need maintainers, some need change agents, some need healers, some need firebrands, and some just don’t know what they need. That’s what the interview is for. On paper, most of us look more alike than different. If you aren’t what they are looking for (in your case, a firebrand change agent), be glad they didn’t hire you.

Also, look at the bright side. You now know of another job opening before anyone else does. Call that superintendent and tell her that it is her lucky day. She gets to trade up. Being the first with a solution to a problem is a sure fire way to advance your career, and a principal opening is a mighty big problem.

I’ll close with a personal story. Back in the mid 1990’s, I was a very young and raw AP in a large urban district. I was trying desparately to get an assistant principal job in a district with a great reputation and a great superintendent. At least three times, I was the runner-up candidate. As I was preparing for yet another AP interview in the district, I got a call back from the long shot principal interview that I sat for. Brezina hired me as a principal and the rest is history. If I had been offered any of those other AP positions, I wouldn’t have applied for the job in Brezina’s district and my career would have taken a much different trajectory at a guaranteed slower pace. Sometimes, rejection is the best thing that can happen to you.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…