Making a Great Administrator 71:365

In applying for administration positions I keep answering the same question:  What are the qualities of a great administrator?

I hope to post my thoughts here to get feedback from my PLN.

An excellent administrator empowers those around them to aspire for greatness.  They incorporate and seek out viewpoints different from their own to expand their thinking about an issue.  A world-class administrator will carefully measure the factors, involve the relevant stakeholders, and enlist the help of others to create momentum for decisions.  They are in classrooms to learn and to help others learn.  A great administrator is a leader in learning and encourages taking risks.  They push others to greatness through learning, connecting, and sharing information with those around them. Their job is to serve the educators with which they work.   By doing all of these things, the administrator is not only helping to create better school employees, but to improve the culture and atmosphere for learning for everyone they encounter.

This is my short answer.  It is the most succinct way I can answer the question and I truly believe administrators job is to serve others and use their position to make those around them better.


One thought on “Making a Great Administrator 71:365

  1. Brian,
    Questions like this are huge, and, in my opinion can be used as part of an initial “weeding out” process. That being said, it’s an important question, and it’s important that you have a well thought out answer at the ready. The difficult part with such a broad and comprehensive question is tethering your answer to some kind of framework. I don’t know your specific context, so I’m not sure what might be appropriate.

    When I interview teachers, I expect them to respond to these kinds of questions (What is your philosophy of learning/teaching/education? Describe the qualities of an effective teacher) by touching on some of the domains from our Provincial Teaching Quality Standard ( and our own school division Teacher Professional Practice Rubric ( As a relatively new principal (just finished my 4th year), I have not yet conducted any interviews for admin positions (my AP has been in place with me for each of the four years), but I know when I have interviewed for Admin positions I have used our Leadership Rubric ( – this link didn’t upload to Google very clearly – my apologies) as a frame for the answers to most questions.

    This isn’t to say that a person should simply spout a rubric when responding to questions, but I believe the overarching themes within these documents are universal (Fostering Effective Relationships, Embodying Visionary Leadership, Being an Instructional Leader, Leading a Learning Community, Developing and Facilitating Leadership in Others, Managing School Operations and Resources, Responding to the Larger Societal Context) and can be used to keep an applicant on track.

    In your answer above, you referenced collaborating with stakeholders (Fostering Effective Relationships, being a leader in learning (Instructional Leadership), pushing others to greatness (Facilitating Leadership) – I think your answer is appropriate for an application forum – in an interview setting, I would be asking more of the What would I see?/How would you put this into action? kinds of questions – the rubric provides some examples of detail. Not knowing your specific circumstances (expectations of the state or jurisdiction), it’s difficult to give specific feedback. I have learned that when it comes to hiring people like a balance of outside eyes (what diverse background or opinions does the applicant bring) and understanding of context (does the applicant demonstrate some amount of understanding of the expectations and guidelines within which our organizations works?).

    Not sure how helpful this response was – I’m happy to talk further if you’d like – good luck with the process.

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