Important Assistant Principal Interview Questions & Answers

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Assistant principal interview questions and answers. The job interview is one of the most significant aspects of pursuing a career as an assistant principal. It is a good idea to be familiar with the questions you will be asked in order to be as prepared as possible for this interview. If you're interviewing for an assistant principal position, you'll want to be prepared to answer some frequent questions.

assistant principal interview questions

What is the role of an assistant principal?

Assistant principals are vital members of any school's administration. Assistant principals have regular interactions with all members of the school community, including teachers, parents, and students. Their tasks vary based on the demands of the school, but below are some of the most typical ones:

  • Observing and enforcing school regulations.
  • Organizing and overseeing parent meetings.
  • Organize the utilization of school facilities for community activities.
  • Collaboration with teachers to enhance curriculum and instructional techniques.
  • Recruiting and training employees.
  • Purchasing office and classroom supplies and equipment.
  • Records and student files must be kept in good order.
  • During the school day, keeping an eye on the school grounds.
  • Responding to staff and parent emails.

1. Could you tell me about your experience as a secondary school assistant principal?

The interviewer is curious whether you have any prior experience. If you have never worked as an assistant principal, you can talk about your teaching experience. Your response should demonstrate to the interviewer what you have accomplished in past positions.

Make a big deal out of your past experience. The interviewer wants to know that you are excited about the position and that you will approach the tasks with optimism and vigor.

Tell them about the lessons you've learned as an assistant principal or in previous positions, and how they've shaped you and helped you progress.

assistant principal interview questions

Example answer

For the past three years, I've worked as an assistant principal. It's been a struggle, but one I've loved immensely. We have gone through a time of significant change and progress at my present school. The school was performing below expectations on standardized tests when I began. I collaborated with the instructors and the administrator to figure out why the pupils were underperforming. I worked with the instructors to design programs to assist the pupils better after I knew the causes.

These programs didn't only focus on academics; they also looked at other aspects of the kids' life that were impacting their academic performance and conduct. Absenteeism decreased dramatically as a result of these initiatives, and performance on standardized examinations increased. Ninety percent of pupils are currently meeting or exceeding their targets. The position taught me to consider exterior variables that impact kids in addition to academic success.

2. Do you envision yourself working individually or with the principal as part of a team?

This is a difficult question to respond to. Your response should acknowledge the necessity for you to work independently while simultaneously acknowledging the need for partnership with the principal. Tell the interviewer that you are ready to work independently and make judgments that are acceptable for your level and position, but that you are aware of the school leadership's hierarchical structure. Share how you envision your working relationship with the principal, such as holding frequent meetings to discuss school plans and choices.

Example answer

I don't believe that working alone and working as part of a team are mutually incompatible. The post of assistant principal will demand me to work independently and make choices while also collaborating with the principal as part of a team. On a daily basis, I expect to be able to make choices and complete duties without needing to seek clearance from the principal.

But I also know that certain choices will be made beyond my level of leadership and will require discussion. I envision myself and the principal working closely together and meeting on a frequent basis to discuss ideas and keep each other informed. We must guarantee that we are all working together for the school's good.

assistant principal interview questions

3. What are your strategies for dealing with student discipline?

For schools, student discipline is a major concern. Read the school handbook before the interview to learn about the school's disciplinary requirements and how it handles discipline. Consider how your approach to student discipline corresponds with that of the school. Your response should demonstrate that you recognize that discipline is about assisting pupils rather than punishing them. You can leverage your expertise dealing with student discipline concerns in your response.

Example answer

Students are developing and learning. They are bound to make mistakes. My responsibility, as well as the school's, is to assist pupils in developing and learning. We're here to assist them in achieving their goals. As a result, I prefer to adopt restorative approaches when it comes to discipline. The amount of difficulties that are likely to develop is reduced when you take a proactive, helpful, and responsive attitude.

It also equips pupils with the ability to cope with problems as they emerge. I get to know and understand the kids through creating connections with them, and I also generate goodwill with them, so when challenges arise, I can draw on that to assist me supporting the student.

4. How would you characterize your management style?

You'll have to lead pupils and instructors as an assistant principal. Your response should demonstrate to the interviewer that you are capable of leading a group. Consider numerous leadership styles before the interview and decide which one best suits you. For example, you may believe that a coaching style, rather than an autocratic approach, better characterizes your leadership.

Example answer

My leadership approach is more akin to that of a coach. My talents are in motivating people to achieve their goals and collaborating with them as a team. It's how I get the best out of my team.

I provide every team member with the chance to discover their abilities and skills, as well as the assistance they need to grow and achieve their full potential.

assistant principal interview questions

5. How would you deal with a teacher that was underperforming?

By asking this question, the interviewer is attempting to learn two things. First and foremost, they want to know how you rate an instructor. Their teaching effectiveness, as well as their conduct and interactions with kids, parents, teachers, and school administration, will be evaluated.

Your response should demonstrate how you gathered and analyzed all relevant facts. Second, the interviewer is interested in learning how you deal with challenging situations while maintaining a positive working relationship. Describe how you would assist the instructor in increasing their performance and how you would continue to assess their work. If you've dealt with something similar before, tell us about it and how you dealt with it.

Example answer

One of the most significant aspects of the job is evaluating instructors' performance. We want our kids and staff to be successful as a school. If a teacher is underperforming, it is critical to address the problem rather than dismiss it. I'd have to assess whether the teacher was performing below expectations. If a parent had made a complaint, for example, I would evaluate the contents of the complaint as well as all other information available to me.

Other evidence might include how other kids are performing, how the class does on standardized tests, and how the instructor interacts with the pupils and other members of the staff. For example, I might walk into class unannounced and observe for a bit.

I would analyze the areas in which the teacher was underperforming after it was evident that they were underperforming. They may only struggle with specific aspects of the position and only require assistance in those areas. I'd have a conversation with the instructor, and I'd start by asking him or her open-ended questions to get information from him or her. That talk may be tough to have, especially if the instructor believes they are performing well, but it is necessary. I would maintain my composure. I'd explain where they were falling short, and we'd work together to devise a strategy for improving their performance.

I'd be clear about the role's expectations and that I'm there to help them with the improvement strategy. It's critical that kids regard me as a supporting figure who encourages them to grow.

6. How do you keep students and instructors motivated?

The ability to motivate students and instructors is a vital aspect of the job. The interviewer is interested in seeing how you persuade students and teachers to follow your instructions. Performance suffers when students and teachers are disengaged.

You, as assistant principal, must deal with the problems. This entails getting to know and understand your students and teachers.

Related: Principal Interview Questions

Example answer

There are several methods for motivating students and teachers. Diverse strategies elicit different responses from people. To ensure that I was utilizing the proper strategy, I would want to learn as much as possible about the students and teachers so that I could adjust my approach to their requirements and motivations.

Positive reinforcement is well received by the majority of individuals. For some, praise is sufficient motivation. Others, on the other hand, like receiving certificates or public acknowledgment. I'd strive to come up with a method that is fair and consistent for everyone.

7. Do you believe any of your talents are particularly appropriate for an assistant principal position?

An assistant principal's job can be demanding and stressful. Because you are representing the school with the principal, it has a high level of visibility. The interviewer wants to know that you have a good understanding of the job requirements. Consider how those abilities relate to the position when deciding which ones to highlight. As an assistant principal, you must have outstanding listening and communication abilities, as well as problem-solving, critical and analytical thinking, time management, and interpersonal skills (emotional intelligence).

assistant principal interview questions

Example answer

I understand that becoming an assistant principal necessitates a variety of abilities. Having solid interpersonal skills is essential because I will be representing the institution. When the principal was unavailable, I had numerous opportunities to demonstrate and enhance my interpersonal skills by representing our school at various district meetings and conferences. My communication and listening abilities are also crucial, and they go hand in hand with my interpersonal abilities.

As a person in a position of leadership, I will have to interact with a wide range of individuals and will need to properly explain my message and expectations to them while also genuinely comprehending what they are saying to me. In my present position, I've established drop-in sessions for staff and kids so that they may come to me with questions and concerns.

These workshops are always in high demand. This demonstrates that staff and kids have faith in me and feel safe approaching me.

Related: Teacher Interview Questions

8. What role do you believe parents should have in their children's education? How do you interact with your children's parents?

Parents put their confidence in you to look out for their children's best interests. That isn't to say that they aren't involved. The interviewer is curious as to what role you believe parents should have in the school.

Your response should demonstrate that you view parents and teachers cooperating rather than competing for the welfare of the school. You should explain to the interviewer how the school may engage parents in order to increase their involvement.

Example answer

I realize that parents have a vital part in their children's and school's success. It is critical for the school to engage parents and keep them informed about what is going on at the school. Academic success tends to rise when parents are active, and parental satisfaction with the school rises as a result of their involvement. When parents are unsatisfied, it's typically because they believe the school isn't communicating effectively enough.

We may connect with parents in a variety of ways, and it's vital to adopt the manner that works best for them. We must connect with them on a frequent basis and keep them up to date. We must also make it as simple as possible for parents to contact us.

9. How do you deal with irritated or angry parents?

Parents put a lot of effort into their children's education and achievement. You will connect with parents as an assistant principal in official and informal meetings and conferences. During these encounters, parents may become agitated or furious, and the interviewer needs to know that you can manage emotionally charged circumstances. Your response should demonstrate that you can cope with a hostile situation while resolving the concerns you came together to discuss, which are generally their child's conduct or academic performance. If at all feasible, include an example in your response. If you haven't dealt with a scenario like this before, describe how you would approach it.

Example answer

I realize that parents want their children to succeed, and hearing that their child is misbehaving or performing poorly in school can be upsetting. Parents are merely acting in their children's best interests. My job entails not only assisting kids but also assisting their parents in assisting them. When my parents become agitated or irritated, I maintain my composure. I maintain a calm tone in my voice. Raising my voice to match theirs will just exacerbate the problem. I pay attention to what the parents have to say, respect their emotions, and respond to what they have said. I always attempt to figure out what they want to happen so that I can moderate their expectations and come up with a solution that is acceptable to everyone concerned, including the student.

10. What motivates you to become an assistant principal?

This question may appear to inquire about your want to become an assistant principal, but you should use it to demonstrate to the interviewer that you not only want to be an assistant principal but that you want to be the assistant principal at that particular school. Use your response to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position and the institution. Discuss the influence you believe you can make on the interviewer.

Related: School Nurse Interview Questions

Example answer

Being a teacher, especially as an assistant principal, is much more than a job. To be an effective assistant principal, you must like teaching and assisting people. As a teacher, I relished the privilege of assisting students in achieving their goals and assisting them in being the best they could be. As an assistant principal, I will be able to aid more children by assisting teachers in being the best teachers they can be. This is advantageous to the pupils.

One of the reasons I want to be an assistant principal at this school is that it emphasizes more than just academic competence. Academic ability is one indicator of success, but you're aware that there are others. I'd like to be a part of it. I want to show them that success may take many different forms. I believe that being the assistant principal at this school would enable me to do so, while also allowing me to continue the work that the school has already begun.

The Top 40 Interview Questions for Assistant Principals

  • Tell me about your background.
  • What do you want to accomplish in the first ninety days?
  • In five years, where do you see yourself?
  • What would students say about you?
  • What are your strategies for dealing with bullying?
  • Tell me about your experience working with kids who are on the verge of dropping out.
  • What methods do you use to manage your personal stress? What about assisting pupils in dealing with their own?
  • Where do you think our school has the most space for improvement?
  • Why should we choose you over the other applicants?
  • What kind of experience do you have working with pupils that have special needs?
  • How will you evaluate your performance in this position?
  • How do you organize your work on a daily basis?
  • When dealing with parents, students, and staff, how do you take cultural or background variations into account?
  • Tell me about the talents you'd want to improve.
  • What role do you believe teachers and other staff members have in making decisions?
  • Do you believe students should be consulted before major decisions are made?
  • What are some ways you believe an assistant principal can or should support teachers with classroom management?
  • Do you have any experience building school schedules? Could you tell me more about it?
  • What's the finest piece of advice you've ever given to a new teacher?
  • A student and a teacher are having a disagreement. What would you do in that situation?
  • What kind of school budgeting experience do you have?
  • What is your opinion of the link between student achievement and teacher evaluations?
  • What do you perceive as the major issues that our area's schools will face in the next year?
  • Have you ever had a disagreement with a teacher or a principal? How did you deal with it?
  • How can you put together a strong team?
  • What school events have you managed in the past?
  • What do you consider to be your most significant career achievement?
  • Give an example of a moment when you made a poor decision. How did you deal with it?
  • Have you ever had trouble regulating school activities? What were the challenges, and how did you deal with them?
  • Tell me about your parent-teacher conferences.
  • Have you ever included parents in student discipline? What was the end result?
  • What are the key responsibilities of an assistant principal at this school, in your opinion?
  • As an assistant principal, what do you find the most challenging?
  • What does a school that is very effective look like?
  • What would you say is the best way to define your management style?
  • What does a typical day in your current position include for you?
  • Tell me about a moment when you had to overcome a difficult situation.
  • Can you describe your decision-making process?
  • A pupil informs you that they have been assaulted or abused. So, what exactly do you do?
  • In your present position, how would you describe your relationships with your coworkers?
  • What do you know about our students' demographics?

How should I prepare for an assistant principal interview?

Prepare by having responses to common interview questions for assistant principals. And ensure that you're speaking to work that you've achieved at a previous school. Your school leadership will want to hear about the tangible results you obtained while employed at another school. Or in another assistant principal position.

Related: Paraprofessional Interview Questions

What questions should I ask at the end of my assistant principal interview?

Questions to ask at the end of an assistant principal interview:

  • Can you tell me more about the school culture.
  • Can you tell me more about the skills required for this job.
  • How are the parents involved in our education?
  • What is the teaching philosophy here?
  • What characteristics do you want in an assistant principal?
  • In the first six months, what do you anticipate from me?
  • Could you describe a normal day in your life?
  • What are some of your favorite aspects of working at this school?
  • What are the areas where you want to make the most progress in the coming academic year?
  • In general, how engaged are parents in their children's education?
  • What are some of the obstacles you anticipate the assistant principal facing in the next year?
  • What criteria will be used to determine success?
  • How would you characterize the principal's leadership style?
  • Can you tell me more about how students and instructors interact?

Related: Academic Advisor Interview Questions

Skills of an assistant principal

Your soft skills are also assessed during the interview for an assistant principal post. These are talents you use on a regular basis, such as interpersonal skills. Assistant principalships may be high-pressure jobs with a lot of public exposure. You and the administration represent the school, and in many districts, you'll be the first point of contact for parents if their child has behavioral difficulties or is behind in classwork.

Because these interactions may be emotionally charged for both parents and students, it's critical to demonstrate that you're capable of handling any scenario with maturity and sensitivity. Prepare for your interview by thinking about how you'll demonstrate your soft talents, such as:

  • Active-listening skills.
  • Problem-solving abilities.
  • Communication skills.
  • Skills in critical thinking.
  • Personality traits.
  • Organizing abilities.

Interviewing for any job may be stressful, but preparation by going through these questions will help you relax. The better you know about the work environment, the job description, and the school's aims, the better you'll be able to answer the interviewer's queries. Remind yourself why you picked this career path and go into your interview with assurance.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo,, SparkHire,,, FairyGodBoss,, St. Edwards University, NC State University,, Thrive Global,, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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