DC Public Schools
-A +A
Bookmark and Share

Principal Position Overview

Closing Date: Open Until Filled
Location: Washington, DC
Apply Now!

Our public school students need your expertise, passion and leadership.

We are looking for highly motivated and skilled talent to join our team at District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). We seek individuals who are passionate about transforming the DC school system and making a significant difference in the lives of public school students, parents, principals, teachers, and central office employees.

DCPS serves 48,750 students in the nation’s capital through the efforts of approximately 4,000 educators in 116 schools. As part of a comprehensive reform effort to become the preeminent urban school system in America, DCPS intends to have the highest-performing, best paid, most satisfied, and most honored educator force in the nation and a distinctive central office staff whose work supports and drives instructional excellence and significant achievement gains for DCPS students.

Position Overview

We believe that all students can achieve at the highest levels and are committed to closing the achievement gap. To do this, we need inspiring leaders who: 

  • Are passionate about student achievement and closing the achievement gap.
  • Believe that the urgency of closing this gap is too great to accept excuses of any kind.
  • Motivate and support their teachers and staff while holding all adults in the building accountable for ensuring student success.

This position is a safety-sensitive position. As a result, throughout employment this position will be subject to the Employee Mandatory Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy.

The Principal will report to the Instructional Superintendent.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

The below statements are intended to describe the general nature and scope of work being performed by this position. This is not a complete listing of all responsibilities, duties, and/or skills required. Other duties may be assigned.

Leading Instruction

  • Articulating a clear instructional vision with a school-wide focus on teaching and learning that is data-driven, standards-aligned and rooted in a belief that all students can achieve at high levels.
  • Implementing consistent school-wide instructional practices that are clear, results-oriented and research-based.
  • Creating opportunities for ongoing learning and staff development that are informed by data.

Leading Operations

  • Executing results-focused school operations and resource management that ensure minimal disruptions to teaching and learning and promote the success of all students and staff.
  • Developing and maintaining a purposeful school culture that supports a safe and effective learning environment.
  • Aligning human resources to school needs, setting high expectations and effectively managing all school employees to meet school goals.

Leading for Increased Effectiveness

  • Focusing on evidence-based growth and results to drive the school towards annual and long-term goals.
  • Engaging school community members effectively to ensure all stakeholders are included in school improvement efforts.
  • Listening to and communicating with all the school’s stakeholders; building successful interpersonal relationships with faculty, staff members, family and community members and students.
  • Managing the change process, including making tough decisions when necessary to move the school and students forward.
  • Engaging in constant personal learning, including the need to learn and adapt when faced with challenges and successes.


The successful candidate is motivated by the mission to transform the District of Columbia Public Schools into the nation’s highest-performing public school system. This position offers the opportunity to have a profound and lasting impact on student learning and achievement. Candidates must possess the following professional qualifications:

  • Applicants must obtain an Administrative Services Credential (ASC) through the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE).
  • To obtain an ASC, at minimum, applicants must: EITHER (1) possess at least a master's degree, (2) have spent two years or more in a full-time, K-12 school-based position, and (3) have earned a passing score on the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA). OR (1) possess a bachelor's degree and (2) have completed a state-approved program in K-12 Leadership/Administration. For a full description of ASC requirements, please visit OSSE's website: OSSE ASC Requirements.

Standard Qualities of Top Candidates

Student Achievement Focus

  • Believes in the possibility, promise and potential in every student (no excuses for why children cannot achieve).
  • Can speak to this promise down to the classroom level (teacher, specific subgroups, resources needed for special education, ESL, etc.).

Leadership Vision

  • Develops, articulates and implements a vision of learning that is shared and supported by the school community.
  • Possesses ability to inspire and motivate students/adults on the vision.

Instructional Expertise

  • Demonstrates knowledge of how to use instruction to reach student achievement goals.
  • Able to identify and describe effective instructional practices and how to provide feedback, coaching and professional development to teachers to improve the quality of instruction throughout the school.
  • Demonstrates knowledge of educational theory and practices, including focus on standards-based instruction.

Systems & Resource Management

  • Creates school-level policies, procedures and structures to effectively and efficiently operate a school.
  • Maximizes resources (physical, technological, financial, time and human) to reach goals.

People Management

  • Has an ability to objectively manage employee performance and growth through feedback and coaching.
  • Holds adults accountable for student success.
  • Ensures effective professional development and growth opportunities for all employees.

Strategic Problem-Solving

  • Articulates short- and long-term goals with each problem and to address school-wide issues/plans.
  • Identifies problems, organizes people and resources appropriately to make decisions and action plans.
  • Utilizes multiple sources of data to inform decision-making.

Family & Community Engagement

  • Interacts and communicates effectively with multiple audiences, including staff, parents, students and community members.
  • Demonstrates commitment to and understanding of how to engage family and community members in the development of and work towards the school’s goals.

Shared Leadership

  • Demonstrates an effective approach to team-building, including clarity of purpose, shared responsibility.
  • Builds effective relationships with staff members to move everyone towards school goals, varying leadership approaches (when needed).
  • Values, solicits and integrates different perspectives effectively.

Persistence & Resilience

  • Exhibits relentless focus on student achievement in the face of challenges and obstacles.
  • Anticipates and plans for challenges and potential obstacles; when faced with a challenge/obstacle, makes changes to achieve goals.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the realities of and difficulties leading in urban schools.

Personal Development

  • Demonstrates self-awareness, ability to articulate own strengths and growth areas.
  • Models continuous learning and openness to feedback and improving own performance.

Personal Qualities of Top Candidates

  • Commitment to Equity: Passionate about closing the achievement gap and ensuring that every child, regardless of background or circumstance, receives an excellent education.
  • Leadership: Coaches, mentors, and challenges others to excel despite obstacles and challenging situations.
  • Focus on Data-Driven Results: Relentlessly pursues the improvement of central office performance and school leadership, instruction, and operations, and is driven by a desire to produce quantifiable student achievement gains.
  • Innovative Problem-Solving: Approaches work with a sense of possibility and sees challenges as opportunities for creative problem solving; takes initiative to explore issues and find potential innovative solutions.
  • Adaptability: Excels in constantly changing environments and adapts flexibly in shifting projects or priorities to meet the needs of a dynamic transformation effort; comfortable with ambiguity and non-routine situations.
  • Teamwork: Increases the effectiveness of surrounding teams through collaboration, constant learning and supporting others; sensitive to diversity in all its forms; respects and is committed to learning from others.
  • Dependability: Does whatever it takes to consistently deliver with high quality under tight deadlines; successfully manages own projects through strong organization, detailed work plans, and balancing of multiple priorities.
  • Communication and Customer Service Skills: Communicates clearly and compellingly with diverse stakeholders in both oral and written forms; anticipates and responds to customer needs in a high-quality and courteous manner.


Notice of Non-Discrimination

The District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) is committed to ensuring that all of its employees act in conformity with federal and District of Columbia nondiscrimination laws, including Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the District of Columbia Human Rights Act of 1977, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008.

Accordingly, DCPS does not discriminate or tolerate discrimination against employees, applicants for employment, or students on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, disability, source of income, status as a victim of an interfamily offense, or place of residence place of residence or business.

DCPS also prohibits harassment based on any of the aforementioned protected traits and retaliation against a person because he or she has complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in a discrimination investigation or lawsuit. Employees found to have engaged in prohibited discrimination, harassment, or retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action.

Notice of Non-Retaliation

District of Columbia Public Schools will not intimidate, threaten, coerce, discriminate against, retaliate or take adverse employment action against any employee, student, or volunteer that in good faith and with honest and non-malicious intent makes a report regarding potential violations of laws, regulations or policies.

Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, adverse job actions such as termination; denial of any bonus, benefit or training; reduction of salary or decrease in hours; or change in or transfer to a lesser position.

Individuals who violate this policy will be subject to the appropriate and applicable disciplinary process, up to and including termination.

The following Federal and District law concerning non-retaliation supports our Non-Retaliation Policy.

Title VII, Section 704(a), of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, states the following:

(a) Discrimination for making charges, testifying, assisting, or participating in enforcement proceedings

It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate against any of his employees or applicants for employment, for an employment agency, or join labor-management committee controlling apprenticeship or other training or retraining, including on-the-job training programs, to discriminate against any individual, or for a labor organization to discriminate against any member thereof or applicant for membership, because he has opposed any practice made an unlawful employment practice by this subchapter, or because he has made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this subchapter.

DC Law 2-38 (Human Rights Act of 1977), Part G, Sec. 1-2525, states the following:

1-2525. Coercion or retaliation

  1. It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice to coerce, threaten, retaliate against, or interfere with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of any right granted or protected under this chapter.
  2. It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for any person to require, request, or suggest that a person retaliate against, interfere with, intimidate or discriminate against a person, because that person has opposed any practice made unlawful by this chapter, or because that person has made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing authorized under this chapter.
  3. It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for any person to cause or coerce, or attempt to cause or coerce, directly or indirectly, any person to prevent any person from complying with the provisions of this chapter.

DC Municipal Regulations, Title 5, (Board of Education) Subsection 1401.2(z) states the following:

(z) Retaliation for reporting harassment and sexual harassment. An employee commits an offense under this provision when he/she retaliates against any person who reports alleged harassment or sexual harassment, or any person who testifies, assists or participates in an investigation, or who testifies, assists or participates in a proceeding or hearing relating to such harassment or sexual harassment. An employee retaliates against a person if, as a result of action taken by the employee described in the previous sentence, 1) such person is reasonably intimidated by verbal threats or physical conduct of the employee, or 2) such person is denied an opportunity, right or privilege to which he/she would otherwise be entitled, or 3) such person is subjected to detrimental treatment to which he/she would not otherwise be subjected.

Persons filing charges of discrimination are advised of these Non-Retaliation Policy and are instructed to notify the DCPS Equal Opportunity Office, 1200 First Street, NE, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20002, 202-442-5424, if any attempt at retaliation is made.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Office of Labor Management & Employee Relations (LMER) ensures that eligible employees receive benefits and opportunities equal to those provided to non-disabled employees. LMER also ensures that eligible disabled employees receive requested reasonable accommodations. Employees with inquiries regarding ADA policies should contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Unit, District of Columbia Public Schools, 1200 First Street, NE, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20002, (202) 442-5424.

Applicants or employees with concerns about discrimination, harassment or retaliation should contact:

Labor Management & Employee Relations
District of Columbia Public Schools
1200 First Street, NE, 10th Floor 
Washington, DC  20002
[email protected]
(202) 442-5424


DC Office of Human Rights
441 4th Street, NW, Suite 570N, 
Washington, DC  20001
(202) 727-4559


The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
131 M Street, NE, Fourth Floor,
Suite 4NWO2F 
Washington, DC 20507
1(800) 669-4000

Students, parents and guardians with concerns regarding disability discrimination should contact:

Heather Holaday
Section 504 Coordinator
Office of Teaching and Learning
District of Columbia Public Schools
1200 First St, NE, 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 645-6073


Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
US Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Telephone: 1(800) 421-3481
TDD: (877) 521-2172
FAX: (202) 245-6840
Email: [email protected]


Students, parents and guardians, and others with concerns regarding discrimination may also utilize the DCPS grievance procedure process. Students, parents and guardians and others with discrimination concern should contact:

DCPS Chancellor's Response Team
Office of the Chancellor
1200 First Street, NE, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 478-5738



Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
US Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Telephone: 1(800) 421-3481
TDD: (877) 521-2172
FAX: (202) 245-6840
Email: [email protected]


DC Office of Human Rights
441 4th Street, NW, Suite 570N 
Washington, DC  20001
(202) 727-4559