Research/Policy | Principal Supervisor Selection and Development Toolkit

Principal Supervisors play a critical role in implementing new strategies and initiatives across a system. Districts and charter networks that are focused on transforming the principal supervisor role must ensure that individuals in that position are fully prepared to engage in the work of elevating principal and school performance.

This means cultivating and hiring principal supervisors who are aligned to the district’s vision and who have the skills, experience, and dispositional qualities required to model the type of student-focused leadership that principals must possess if we aim to improve outcomes for every student, in every school.

The toolkit includes guidance for hiring qualified principal supervisors and cultivating a strong pipeline among current principals so that the next generation of principal supervisors are ready to step up when the need arises.


Principal supervisors serve as ‘leaders of leaders,’ modeling the type of student-focused leadership districts need from every principal. 

Districts must ensure that principal supervisors are well-prepared to engage in that work even before they are hired, and they must provide meaningful support to build on that foundation during supervisors’ early tenure.


This toolkit provides practical guidance for developing and hiring strong principal supervisor candidates. It includes:

  • A review of the qualities, skills, and experience successful principal supervisor candidates typically possess
  • Sample interview questions and activities districts can use to assess potential candidates
  • Strategies districts can use to develop relevant skills among principals targeted for potential advancement



Principal Supervisor Hiring Guidance Tool: This tool outlines principal supervisor selection guidelines, based on the New Leaders Principal Supervisor Competency Model. It lays out the skills, experience, and dispositional qualities that districts should seek in candidates, describes examples of effective principal practice to assess in potential principal supervisor candidates, and provides sample behavioral interview questions and simulated practice activities to use when evaluating candidates’ skills and mindset.

Developing a Pipeline of Future Principal Supervisors: This tool describes the skills and experiences that should be cultivated among principals targeted for potential advancement to principal supervisor roles, including ideas for job-embedded and centrally offered development opportunities. It also identifies focus areas where new principal supervisors will need additional onboarding and first-year support.



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