Hiring Process for Roaring Fork Schools Principals and Directors
Before hiring a principal or director, candidates will have been through the following process:
- Initial application screen of cover letter, resume, background information, narrative response to three questions, and references (typically 10-40 candidates)
- 30 minute interview with hiring supervisor (typically 6-12 candidates)
- Deep reference checks (electronically generated and additional phone calls are made)
- 30 minute interview with interview committee comprised of staff, parents and other administrators (typically 4-8 candidates)
- Debrief candidate strengths, concerns, questions with the interview committee (stakeholders usually include faculty, staff, parents, board members, administrators, and students).
- Full-day audition of finalists (typically 2-3 candidates) with various leadership tasks. All participants provide written feedback and sometimes oral feedback in the form of a debrief. This year's tasks included:
- Instructional rounds with superintendent, CAO, and other instructional leaders (administrators, facilitators, coaches)
- Interview or focus group with students
- Leading professional development with staff
- Presentation to parents
- Debrief candidates’ strengths, concerns, questions with the interview committee. The committee assesses the candidates’ strengths but does not provide a recommendation.
- Hiring supervisor follows up on questions/concerns raised during interviews.
- Additional interview with hiring supervisor, might include dinner
- Final decision by superintendent and other executive team member(s).
Principal/director candidates are assessed using the following Roaring Fork Schools Leadership Competencies (derived from research about effective school leadership). Many schools add additional criteria.
- Achievement orientation: driving for results
- Ability to influence
- Problem solving ability
- Team oriented: effective as a team leader and team member
- Showing confidence to lead: presents with confidence, puts oneself in challenging situations, takes personal responsibility for mistakes
- Planning: plans, organizes and manages responsibilities effectively
- Cognitive complexity: analytical, conceptual, multidimensional
- Awareness of emotions in self and others
- Trustworthy: follows through on commitments, treats others with respect, builds relationships
Board and Superintendent Role in the Hiring Process
The board’s only employee is the superintendent. The board sets policies regarding hiring, supervision, and evaluation of staff. The superintendent serves as the chief executive officer of the district and is responsible to the board for implementing board policies and managing the district, including making personnel decisions such as hiring, supervision, evaluation and dismissal. The superintendent delegates these same personnel decisions to principals and directors, but remains ultimately responsible for all personnel decisions in the district. The superintendent routinely submits employment actions to the board for review and approval; the board receives and acts on personnel recommendations.
Does the board ever not approve a staff contract? There is no known precedent for the board not approving an employment contract in RFSD. If there were a perception that hiring decisions were made by the board and not by the superintendent, principals, and directors, this would create several problems. It would violate the board’s role as a governing body and introduce it into the management aspects of the district. It would potentially create conflicts of interest and violate nepotism policies because so many board members have family who are students and staff in the district. It would undermine all hiring processes in the district and prevent any hiring to occur in a timely fashion. Furthermore, it would put the board outside of its area of expertise and into the realm where licensed professionals are supposed to be carrying out the policies and directives of the board.
Staff and Parent/Community Members Role in the Hiring Process
Prior to opening the position or shortly thereafter, the hiring supervisor will meet with staff to review the selection process and to gather input on desired qualities. In addition, staff and parents are surveyed (via an electronic survey in English and Spanish) about the qualities they seek in the next principal or director. These qualities are added to the job posting and selection criteria.
A variety of stakeholders are invited to serve on the interview committee, including faculty, staff, parents, board members, administrators, and students. The goal is to create a diverse interview committee which represents the school population. Interested participants are invited to apply and are selected by the hiring supervisor and human resources to ensure diversity of representation. Committee members participate in candidate interviews, and following the interviews, they discuss candidate strengths, share concerns, and ask questions.
Because it is ultimately the responsibility of the superintendent to hire all staff members in the district, there is no vote or selection of the final candidate by stakeholders who participate in the committees.
Confidentiality in the Hiring Process
Candidates are entitled to confidentiality in the process and all records and documents in the hiring process are personnel records, which means that they must be treated confidentially. According to Colorado law, school district employees are government employees, and their personnel files are off limits to the public. Any notes, surveys, reference checks, stakeholder feedback, or personnel documents obtained through the selection process are confidential and not shared with the public. All records are saved and stored in the HR office.