Principal Selection Process

Planning to become a school principal? Review the process.

Steps to becoming a principal: Application Screening, Screening Interview, On-Site Central Office Screening, Principal Pool, School-Specific Panel Interview, Region Interview, Superintendent Interview

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) utilizes a principal pool to fill principal vacancies. Current FCPS principals are automatically considered candidates in the pool. The process for candidates to be admitted into the FCPS principal pool includes three screening steps: application assessment, online assessment, and in-person assessment. Once candidates are admitted into the principal pool, they have an opportunity to engage in professional development led by experienced FCPS principals.

Principal vacancies are announced to FCPS principals and candidates in the FCPS principal pool. The interview process for a specific principal vacancy includes a school-community panel interview, region leadership interview, and superintendent interview. 

Implementing a principal pool has helped increase and diversify FCPS' candidate pool and ensure greater transparency around how FCPS selects its schools' leaders. The pool model aligns with FCPS’ Strategic Plan, Ignite.

Annual Principal Pool Application Windows

Window 1 (Fall) Application

  • April through Early September: FCPS Principal Pool Advertises 
  • Mid-September through Mid-October: Screening of Qualified Applicants 
  • End of October: Principal Candidate Pool Determined

Window 2 (Spring) Application

  • November through Mid-February: FCPS Principal Pool Advertises
  • February through March: Screening of Qualified Applicants
  • April: Principal Candidate Pool Determined

Information Sessions

Candidates interested in learning more about the principal selection pool process are encouraged to attend an information session. Sign-ups for the information sessions for current employees are through MyPDE. In the box titled: “What would you like to learn today?” search “Principal Selection Pool Process” and the keyword is “principal pool.” For all others interested in attending please email HRPrincipalPool@fcps.edu to sign up for a session. Window 1 (Fall) information sessions are held in August and Window 2 (Spring) information sessions are held in January.

Theory of Action

To Continuously Improve Teaching and Student Learning in FCPS

Principal Pool Application

The application window is currently open and will remain open through early September 2020.

Do you have questions about the principal selection process?