Also see: Readiness for the New York School Superintendency
Also see: Applying for the New York School Superintendency
Also see: Transition to Superintendency Program  

Superintendent Interview Questions Sample 4

It is impossible to anticipate all the questions that may be asked at a superintendent interview.  These are just a sample of the types of questions that you may be asked. 

For practice, have someone read you questions and answer as best you can.  After a while of practice you will develop a pattern of response that will help you with both anticipated questions and unanticipated questions (of which there will always be a few).

General Questions

1. Why do you want to leave your present position?
2. What makes this job interesting to you?
3. If you were selected for this job, would you have any difficulty getting released from your current position?
4. What is your educational preparation for this superintendency?
5. What are your professional experiences?
6. What do you know about our community and school district?
7. If you were offered this job, would your current district try to entice you to stay, and if they did what would you do?
8. What do you consider to be your weaknesses as a potential superintendent?
9. What do you consider to be your greatest strengths as a potential superintendent?
10. We think we have several good candidates, how can you convince us that you are the person for this job?
11. How do you feel about retaining the current superintendent’s personal secretary versus selecting your own?
12. Would you move to our community or commute from another community?
13. What do you do for recreation?  How do you relax?
14. What are the methods you will use to keep yourself and this board “current” on important matters?

Questions Regarding Board-Superintendent Relations

1. What are the standards you use for judging whether or not a board of education is doing its job?
2. Can you clearly define the role of the board and role of the superintendent?
3. What should a board member do when contacted by a parent with a school problem?
4. Are you familiar with Robert’s Rule of Order-Revised?
5. Do you believe that you should make a recommendation to the board on every agenda item that requires any type of board action?
6. Have you ever written any or worked on school board policies?
7. How do you feel about teachers, administrators, and school board members attending professional meetings?
8. How would you orient new administrative staff members, teachers, and board members for their position?
9. Do you believe in board self evaluation?
10. Have you worked with a board on setting district goals?
 11. What is the difference between board goals and district goals?

Questions Regarding Personnel

1. What is your philosophy on delegating authority? How do you then maintain accountability?
2. What can a school district do about a marginally effective teacher and/or administrator?  What will you do about a marginally effective teacher and/or administrator? 
3. In your judgment, what are the principle things a good school principal does?
4. Describe how you would work with principals in a district this size.
5. If you took this superintendency, would you expect to have your job performance formally evaluated?  How often?  By whom?  What time of year?
6. What procedure would you use in recommending the employment of personnel to this board?
7. Have you used developed or revised a personnel evaluation system?  For certificated personnel?  For non-certificated personnel?
8. In personnel evaluation, what is the role of the principal, superintendent, and board of education?
9. In the hiring procedure, what is the role of the teaching staff, principals, superintendent, and board of education?
10. Is it possible to dismiss a weak teacher?  Have you done this?  How would you do it?
11. What do you see as the chain of command in a district this size, including the board of education?

Questions Regarding Professional Negotiations

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of employee unions?
2. Define the roles in the negotiation process of the principals, superintendent, and board of education.
3. In the district negotiations process have you ever been involved in:
 - developing a teachers’ salary schedule?
- costing a boards’ contract position?
- costing a teachers’ contract position?
- direct negotiations of a school employees contract?

Questions Regarding Public School Finance

1. Are you familiar with the financial accounting system used in this state?
2. Have you had experience in investing school district funds?
3. Have you ever built or had a role in building a complete district budget?
4. Have you ever been involved in deficit financing?  What is your philosophy on deficit spending?
5. What is your philosophy on surpluses in your school building budgets? How much is needed?
6. Do you understand the state funding formula for this state?
7. Are there ways a school district can increase state funding for
(a) special education,
(b) vocational education,
(c) general programs, and
(d) others?
8. What is the most important school business function a superintendent such as you would perform?
9. Do you know the financial condition of this district?  How would you describe our situation?
10. Have you ever conducted a capital project campaign and vote?
11. How would you conduct a campaign for an annual general budget vote?

Questions Regarding Curriculum

1. Do you believe a school district has responsibility for improving the instructional effectiveness of its teachers?
2. How can this community and this board know they have an effective school program?
3. How do a superintendent and board of education encourage good teaching?
4. How would you initiate curriculum change?
5. How responsible should the school be to community pressure on curriculum?
6. How would you organize this district, curriculum-wise, so that you can guarantee student academic improvement?
7. There is discussion about back to basics, what is your philosophy on this topic, and what would you do to see this philosophy implemented?
8. What is the role of the superintendent and board of education in curriculum development and/or innovation?
9. How should this district’s curriculum be split between college prep and vocational courses or programs?
10. What is the extent of academic offerings a school district this size should offer?
11. What do you think the roll of extracurricular activities should be in this district?
12. How will you align and audit the district’s curriculum with the state standards?
13. Have you had experience in dealing with federal programs?
14. How do you feel about Title IX?
15. What is the staff’s role in curriculum development?
16. What do you think this district should do about minimal competency testing?
17. Have you developed a School Improvement Plan?

Questions Regarding Maintenance, Transportation, and Food Service Programs

1. What experience have you had with a transportation program?
2. Do you recommend the district contract the transportation service or be districts operated?
3. How would you organize this district’s custodial services?
4. Would you have a custodial maintenance and preventive maintenance plan for the district?  How long would it take you to place into operation this plan?
5. How would you operate the food service program?  Should the food service program operate in the black (self supporting)?

Questions Regarding School/Community Relations

1. How would you go about establishing good public relations in this district?
2. What’s the most important “first steps” a superintendent should usually take in a new district?
3. What is the board’s role in school/community relations with respect to school-community committees in the district?
4. What communication methods would you use between the district and the community?
5. How do you feel about the community using district facilities?  Equipment?
6. What is your position on field trips for students into the community?  Outside of the community?

 

Questions the Superintendent Candidate
May Want to Ask Board Members

1. What do you see as the major issues facing the new administration?
2. How has the community support for the district been presented, and what school-focused groups are active in the community?
3. What are the board’s expectations for the superintendent?
4. Is there an internal candidate for this superintendency?
5. How stable has the staff, administration, and board been in this district?
6. What is the board’s perception of student academic strengths and weaknesses?
7. What are the conditions of the district’s physical facilities?
8. What is the historical and current financial condition of the district?
9. What roles do the superintendent and board each play in the collective bargaining process?
10. What is the board’s philosophy toward the use of lay advisory groups on committees in the district?
11. What are the population and economic trends of the district?
12. What are the current staff, teacher, and administrator evaluation procedures of the district?
13. What is the board’s expectations for superintendent personal involvement in community activities?
14. How does the board view its role as it relates to the superintendent?
15. How does the board insure that the proper role between board and superintendent should be ensured and maintained?
16. How would the board describe the community power structure?
17. What are the board’s expectations for staff involvement in decision-making?
18. Is the board committed to allowing the professional staff to make the professional decisions?
19. What commitments does the board have to make themselves an effective board?
20. Is the board supportive of the superintendent being active in their professional associations?
21. How does the board view student discipline in the district?
22. What is the board’s source of pride in the district?
23. Is there a congenial working relationship among the board members?
24. What is the normal length of board meeting and how well are they attended by the public?
25. If I am a finalist candidate, will the board members give me access and time to review past board meeting agendas and minutes, and key district documents (financial, academic performance, etc.)?
26. How has the community voted in the past on tax and construction referendums?
27. What are the student and staff attendance figures for the district?
28. Have there been any special issues between the board members/superintendent and the teachers organization?
29. What are the board’s residency requirements/expectations for employees?  The superintendent?
30. What are the salary and benefits for this position?