Occasionally a teacher becomes a Curriculum Director by default, but in today’s world most administrative jobs demand a master’s or doctorate in specific areas. As you get those degrees, there are often parts of courses dedicated to learning more about the jobs you’d have with that degree.
It is not unusual for curriculum directors, principals, and assistant principals to have taught in a school system. However, larger school districts will hire principals from outside. Most school districts hire superintendents from outside.
To ensure that you are a good fit for the school system and the job, do your homework.
- Be active outside your current school district. Become involved in state and at least one national professional and community organization. Get to know other people who work the same job you want.
- Start cultivating a personal professional network.
- Attend local professional meetings regularly.
- Volunteer to serve as a representative on local boards such as a special education cooperative.
- Seek out community service boards and participate.
- Initiate contacts with other administrators in your area (or the area to which you’d like to move). Call and talk about issues or ask for advice.
- Look for opportunities to be a social network leader by scheduling an informal breakfast or lunch get-together. Perhaps a golf outing or day at the spa or trip to a sporting event with others doing the same job will help you make connections.
- Read, read, read, and attend live or watch on-demand webinars. Ask your colleagues for recommendations and then discuss the webinar or book with the colleague who recommended it.
- Utilize all sources of information. The internet will give you information about school districts you may want to work in. Use Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn to look up individuals and to find pages on specific schools and school districts.
Network with professors and graduate students through KDP’s online community.
Visit Education Week’s Career Corner blog frequently or sign up to be notified when something new is posted.
One of the best places to look for jobs is Education Week’s Top School Jobs.
For administrative positions, use AAEE, Education Jobs, SchoolSpring, Teachers-Teachers, USREAP, and GlassDoor.
If you have been an administrator (principal, assistant principal, curriculum director, etc.), you probably belong to a state and national association. Use your connections there to network to find where jobs are and what the situations are for each job.
Moving into the Superintendency: How to Succeed in Making the Transition
By Thomas A. Kersten (Rowman and Littlefield Education, 2012)
Kersten shares the most practical and useful strategies that will help new superintendents optimize their early successes and shorten the office’s initial learning curve, thus guaranteeing a smooth transition into this role, and setting a foundation of professional skills upon which superintendents will build their careers.
Principals as Maverick Leaders: Rethinking Democratic Schools
By Sharron Goldman Walker and Michael Chirichello (Rowman and Littlefield Education, 2011)
This book presents a guide for principals in the form of rules that suggest that educational leaders must ask themselves why they do what they do. It also takes readers through a series of vignettes focused on how principals can practice democracy in the schoolhouse, while challenging themselves and their school community.
Stepping into Administration: How to Succeed in Making the Move
By Thomas A. Kersten (Rowman and Littlefield Education, 2010)
To help new administrators optimize their first-year success, a highly experienced school administrator shares a plethora of practical and useful strategies that can guide them from the moment they accept the job offer through the end of the first year.
Success in the Superintendency: Tips and Advice
By Kay T. Worner (Rowman and Littlefield Education, 2010)
The tips and scenarios for each chapter are inspired by 36 Superintendents of the Year representing various states. The book is ideal for graduate school students, beginning superintendents, and superintendents who seek some advice from those who are recognized by their peers as excellent leaders.
The First-Year Experiences of Successful Superintendents
By Kerry L. Roberts, Sid T. Womack, and Shellie L. Hanna (Rowman and Littlefield Education, 2012)
These qualitative case studies give the prospective superintendent a real-life look at life on the other side of the district CEO’s desk. Two dozen superintendents reflect upon their first challenges and growth opportunities that arose during that all-important first year.