Looking for Superman…or Wonder Woman!

SAMSUNGWe currently are in need of two school principals for the 2013-2014 school year.  Both Wilson Hill Elementary and Worthington Hills Elementary will have vacancy’s.  Recently I was able to meet with an interested group of parents from Wilson Hill and we went through a brainstorming activity to determine what characteristics they would like to see in their next school leader.

The characteristics that were desired by the most parents at Wilson Hill were:Lucero

  • Consistency and Commitment to Wilson Hill Elementary
  • Visible and Accessible
  • Approachable and Friendly to All
  • Strong Communication Skills
  • Strong Knowledge of Curriculum and Instruction
  • Advocates for, and Supports, Wilson Hill Teachers
  • Gets to Know All Students and is Good with Names

Situations are different at every school, but I think in large part, these characteristics determined by Wilson Hill are what most parents would want at their child’s school.  From a school district perspective we are looking leaders that have four distinct characteristics:

1.  Purpose:  Excellent principals have a clear sense of their own unique purpose in life.  This sense of purpose energizes them to enthusiastically pursue their vision for a more positive future through service to others.

2.  Relationships:  Excellent principals have a high level of interaction with others and communicate with people in a manner which prizes them and builds positive, harmonious relationships.

3.  Human Development:  Principals with excellent human development skills appreciate the uniqueness of others and understand what motivates them.  They are highly committed to bringing out the very best in people.  They utilize strategies which empower people by involving them, focusing their goals and highlighting their strengths.

4.  Instructional Leadership:  Excellent principals develop special expertise in focusing upon areas of importance to achieve the highest educational outcomes in our schools.  Specifically we look for the ability to transform teaching and learning through formative instructional practices, data-based decision making, and high expectations for rigor and relationship in the classroom.  At the elementary level a in-depth understanding of a balanced literacy program and how math will be different in the Common Core is a must.

LusherObviously the great challenge for us is finding incredibly talented individuals with an “S” on their chest for SuperHuman that meet as many of these characteristics as possible.  At the same time, we are competing with Dublin, Hilliard, Olentangy, etc… who all are also in the marketplace for similar school leaders.

In Worthington we believe we have a lot to offer.  Primarily we offer a community that places a unique value on education and we offer K-6 elementary schools where principals, students, and families can build meaningful and long-lasting relationships.  (I also usually say that the Assistant Superintendent is a selling point to potential candidates, but no one actually believes that is true, so I’ll leave that out of this post.)

Additionally we  work to involve stakeholders in our hiring process but to move expeditiously so that we can hire while there are the most and best possible candidates on the market.  Currently applicants are applying online and they are being screened by myself and our HR Director.  Over 20 potential candidates will be screened face to face.  On April 29th a team of parents, teachers and district adminsitrators will interview four or five candidates that we think posses the greatest number of characteristics that match what the building, and what we, are looking for.  Two finalists will be interviewed by our Superintendent and one will be recommended for employement to the Board of Education.  A candidate who is successful will complete an online screener and at least three face-to-face interviews before being hired.  This system of checks and balances is designed to lead to a successful hire.  Most of the time it does, and our cadre of outstanding school principals in Worthington proves this out.

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