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Madison Metropolitan School District

Principal Screening and Selection Process

MMSD’s vision is that every school is a thriving school that prepares every student to graduate ready for college, career and community. To make this vision a reality, we must ensure that every school has a highly effective leader at its helm. 

The Principal Screening and Selection Process 

The principal screening and selection process is a multi-phased approach during which candidates will demonstrate whether they have the skills, abilities and talents that Madison principals need to be successful. The competencies that MMSD will use to screen and select candidates are based on expectations articulated in the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s Framework for Principal Leadership, which are as follows: 

Equity Leadership

Effective principals promote anti-racist teaching and create equitable and safe environments for staff, students and families. They build and lead through their equity vision and embed anti-racist work in all that they do. They understand and can articulate the systems that lead to inequitable outcomes for students, are committed to disrupting racist practices and creating an inclusive environment. 

Human Resource Leadership

Is able to recruit, select, develop and evaluate teaching staff with the competencies needed to carry out the school’s instructional improvement strategies. Ability to develop and leverage teacher leadership talent and foster distributed leadership. 

Instructional Leadership

Is able to work with the school community to articulate a vision of improvement that is shared by all. Has the instructional knowledge and skill to conduct classroom observations and provide high quality feedback, create collaborative work opportunities, and work with staff to develop goals for student learning. Sets clear staff and student expectations, and facilitates the use of data to monitor student growth. 

Personal Behavior

Models professionalism by exhibiting ethical and respectful behavior that is displayed in interactions with stakeholders. Maximizes time focused on student learning, uses feedback to improve school performance and student achievement, and demonstrates initiative and persistence to achieve school goals and improve performance. 

Intentional and Collaborative School Culture

Establishes a climate of trust and collaboration among school stakeholders and ensures that the school is inclusive, culturally responsive and conducive to student learning. Effectively communicates, manages conflicts and forges consensus for improvement. 

School Management

Manages school finances and works within policies to create an environment of school improvement and student achievement. Is active when policies should be changed to better reflect school, district and state goals. 

By assessing candidates against these expectations, the district will be able to identify candidates with proven experience and aptitude in the skills that matter most for the principalship. The process begins with submission of an application and concludes with a final meeting with the Superintendent. 

Process Map: 

  • Application Process 
    • Application Review
      • Filter, not all applicants will move forward
  • Virtual interview event 
    • Filter, not all applicants will move forward into pool
  • Placement Process 
    • Chief of Schools selection process 
    • Not all candidates will be invited to move on immediately
  • School Based Interview 
    • Community survey
    • Community panel
    • Filter, not all applicants will move forward
  • Superintendent Interview
    • End; only finalist participates

Each of the five Wisconsin competencies will be measure multiple times throughout the hiring process.

Process Detail