A LYS assistant principal is intrigued by the following situation.


I am not sure what has really transpired but I know that sharing my confusion with qualified and seasoned veterans will elicit some repose and encouragement.

Recently, two administrative leaders responsible for instructional leadership in my district were reassigned. Then, almost immediately, they both got positions in other districts in spite of poor recommendations from the superintendent. One of the positions was one that I also applied for, but didn’t make the final cut.  This does not overly bother me, just stating a fact. 

But here is my question, how are hiring decisions made for principalships?  Because based on my observations in my district and the districts in my vicinity, there seems to be no logical selection criteria.  If the getting the next job is primarily based on random luck, where is the upside of working everyday to hone your skills and the skills of your team?    Thanks for listening.

SC Response What you are seeing is that in many cases, from an objective standpoint, there is no rhyme and reason to who gets hired and why. And also, don’t be so sure that the recommendations from the Superintendent were not good.  They very well could have been excellent.  Though I don’t believe in the practice, many supervisors see their recommendations as a way to solve their problems. 

However, in terms of increasing your odds of getting a promotion, the following all seem to be successful strategies.

1. Be so bad, that they demote you up.

2. Be there long enough that it becomes your turn.

3. Be connected to someone making the decision.

4. Be so good, the next job is a given.

5. Be the new and novel choice.

6. Be the only one willing to take the job.

I’m not a fan of strategy 1 and 2, but I won’t pretend that it doesn’t work.

Strategy 6 is risky, but a number of old school LYSers, including myself, took that route to accelerate their careers.

Your best bet: Be good, be connected and be mobile.  And then realize that it becomes a numbers game.  50 applications for 10 interviews for 1 job.  If you are not near those numbers, don’t get discouraged, just keep playing.

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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