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Principal Position Overview and Application Process

DCPS is seeking talented, dedicated leaders who have the skills and experience to lead our schools and the desire to help transform DCPS into the highest performing urban school district in the nation.

We believe that all students can achieve at the highest levels. 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.

The principal job description provides a more detailed description of the position role and responsibilities.

The DCPS principal application process consists of the following steps:

The 7 steps of the DCPS principal application process, outlined below.

1. Initial Application

During the initial application you will be asked to provide the following:

  • Resume
  • Overview of your educational background and work experience

We suggest that you are prepared to complete the application in one sitting because you will not be able to make any edits or changes to your application after you have submitted. The entirety of the application should take no more than 30 to 45 minutes. After submitting the application, candidates that meet all pre-qualifications will be sent an email to complete the Instructional Video Activity.

2. Instructional Video Activity

Once you have completed the initial application you will receive an email with the Instructional Video Activity. You will watch a video of classroom instruction and answer a series of questions regarding the video. Candidates cannot continue to the next stage of the selection process if they have not submitted the Instructional Video Activity. The Instructional Video Activity should take no more than 45-60 minutes to complete, including watching the linked video.

The School Leader Recruitment and Selection Team will review your Instructional Video Activity within 10-15 business days and you will be notified via e-mail of your application status. If you do not receive a status update within 15 business days, please email [email protected].

3. Performance Task

Qualified candidates will advance to the Performance Task stage, which includes four parts:

  • Part 1: Vision Presentation
  • Part 2: Student Growth Artifacts
  • Part 3: Prioritization Short-Answer Responses
  • Part 4: Performance Evaluation
  • Part 5: Professional References

Each part of the Performance Task allows candidates to showcase their ideal vision for student success,success as an instructional leader, and your ability to make difficult school and operational decisions. Candidates are also asked to submit 3 professional references at this stage.

4. In-Person Interview

Candidates who pass the Performance Task stage will be invited to an in-person interview day with various DCPS executive leaders. The in-person interview will be approximately four hours long. At this point in the process, the School Leader Recruitment & Selection team will also check candidates’ professional references.

5. Chancellor Interview

Based on recommendations from the in-person interviews, a selection of candidates will be invited to interview with the Chancellor.

6. Candidate Pool

After the Chancellor interview, approved applicants are placed in the applicant pool and become eligible to participate in Community Panel interviews at schools that have Principal vacancies.

7. Community Panel

As Principal vacancies are announced, candidates in the approved pool are invited to participate in Community Panels. The purpose of the panel is for the school community to offer feedback to the Chancellor about each candidate’s strengths and areas of support within the specific context of that school community. Community Panels include school community members, parents, faculty, staff, and students of schools with vacancies.

Based on the results of the community panel, the Chancellor will make all final Principal hiring determinations. Official employment offers will be given by the Office of Talent & Culture. Candidates cannot receive an official offer until the security clearance process has been completed and candidates have an official Administrator Services Credential from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). Once hired, all new school leaders will need to participate in the onboarding process. For more information, please see the DCPS Onboarding Website.

Start your application today.

If you have questions about the Principal selection process, please reach out to the DCPS School Leader Recruitment & Selection (SLRS) team at [email protected]. We would be happy to assist you.