I am on a committee of community members to interview candidates for superintendent of Bainbridge-Guilford Central School District. Other committees are comprised of representatives of teachers, support staff, and students.
I have a fairly good idea of what to expect from having served as an educator representative on a superintendent search committee, as well as from my own experience hiring staff for education and publishing jobs.
I couldn’t locate a copy of the recruitment brochure for the superintendent position at either the school website or the DCMO BOCES website. In the mailed information packets, committee members are told that at the May 9 orientation we will:
1. meet each other;
2. receive information regarding how the teams will operate, what questions can and cannot be asked, how the team will communicate feedback to the Board, questioning techniques, information on each candidate;
3. organize itself by selecting a facilitator, developing the questions the team will ask, and determining who will ask what questions.
In my preparation for the orientation meeting, I’ve developed a tentative lists of questions that I thought were reasonable for someone outside the actual school operation to ask. They fall roughly into three categories: community relations, technology & lifelong learning, instructional leadership.
My preliminary list of questions is below. What’s missing? What’s there that shouldn’t be there?
Describe the role you play in the community in which your present school district is located.
What were the most and least successful community outreach activities you personally undertook at your current school district?
In the school district in which you presently work, what are the most effective and the least effective means of informing the community about academic the district is making?
How will you involve the parents and business community in improving students’ academic performance?
The annual budget preparation process has been acrimonious in many school districts around the state this year. One sore point in many districts has been layoffs of teachers and paraprofessionals while administrator positions were not cut. Describe how your district dealt with this issue and what it could have done better.
Describe some of the challenges you had to overcome in working with entrenched interests in the schools or community, and explain how you established positive working relationships.
Drawing both on what you know about this school district and what you do not know about it, list the top three challenges you would face immediately if you were hired as superintendent. Describe briefly the first step you’d take to meet each challenge.
The communities in which schools are located can influence the school in positive or negative ways. In the district in which you presently work, what community characteristics had the most impact on the school’s mission. Please mention one characteristic with positive impact and one with negative impact.
Tell us about a program for using non-parent community resources you personally were involved with that had significant impact on students’ academic success.
Describe one research study with relevance to education and tell us steps you would take to implement a new program or policy or modify existing ones based on the research.
Technology & lifelong learning
As superintendent, you’d be expected to be a model of lifelong learning. Describe two or three learning activities you engage in regularly that provide a model of lifelong learning for your school staff and for the community outside school. How do you make people aware of your ongoing learning activities?
Tell us how you built and maintain your personal learning network.
Describe your experience learning and teaching online.
How do you keep up with the current trends in education as a whole and, more specifically, the interface of technology in education and society?
What are two or three technological learning tools you personally use regularly, and what do these technology tools do for you?
What do you see as the role of technology in a rural school district?
What is your definition of student success and how do you measure it?
What instructional in-service programs would you institute for new teachers and administrators?
How do you encourage, motivate, challenge the instructional team in your school district?
What teacher evaluation and development techniques have you adopted in your present job that were most successful?
What quantifiable data would you use to demonstrate that the district was progressing toward an exemplary program?
As instructional leader for your district, what curriculum/instructional actions have you taken in the past that move the district toward exemplary performance?
Describe your greatest accomplishment in facilitating successful student performance district wide.