Principal Pool Application Process

Review the steps to becoming a principal at Fairfax County Public Schools.

Our goal is to have a clear and transparent process for all candidates interested in becoming a principal at Fairfax County Public Schools. This process supports the goals outlined in FCPS' Strategic Plan, Ignite.  

Phase 1–Principal Pool Selection Process

Eligibility Requirements for an FCPS Principal:

To be qualified to apply for FCPS' Principal Pool, candidates must have or be eligible to hold a Postgraduate Professional License with endorsements in administration and supervision preK-12, plus seven years of progressively more responsible experience in teaching and administration or supervision; with a minimum of three years administrative experience (please note…candidates that will complete their third year of administrative experience by June 30, 2021, are eligible to apply during the Spring 2021 pool window). 

Out of state candidates will need to take the school leaders licensure assessment prior to admittance in the pool.

Step 1: Application Screening

Candidates applying to the FCPS principal pool need to upload a current resume and responses to two essay prompts. Access the links for more detailed information on resume components and essay requirements.

Both documents are screened and assessed by the Human Resources Administrative Hiring team using a performance matrix.

Step 2: Online Assessment

Applicants invited to move forward to Step 2 will participate in an online assessment.

  • The online assessment is a data task. Candidates will be given two days to complete the online assessment and submit a detailed response.
  • Candidate responses are assessed using a performance matrix.

Step 3: In-Person Central Office Screening

Applicants invited to move forward to Step 3 will participate in a half-day session on-site with FCPS leaders. Applicants must participate in person.

  • During the onsite screening, candidates will rotate through three activities. The three activities include a teacher observation task, a complex scenario task, and an interview. All tasks and interview questions are aligned to the FCPS Performance Standards.  
  • Both tasks and the interview are assessed by members of the FCPS leadership team and experienced principals using a performance matrix.
  • During the process, candidates may also be requested to participate in an in-basket exercise.  
  • Suggested reading materials include FCPS School-Based Administrator Evaluation Standards, FCPS' Strategic Plan-Ignite, theory of action, and Portrait of a Graduate.

Phase 2–Transition from Pool to School

Candidates in the Principal Pool will be invited to express interest in specific school vacancies.

Phase 3–School-Specific Panel Interview and Selection

If selected for a school panel interview:

  • Candidates will hear from the Department of Human Resources, Administrative Employment.
  • The timeline for school panel interviews varies by school and region.
  • The school panel interview is a two-part interview:
    • Part 1: Predetermined questions developed from community and staff input.
    • Part 2: Questions developed with panel members at the conclusion of Part 1.

If selected from the school panel interview to move forward, the candidate will interview with the region leadership team and the superintendent's leadership team.

Principal Pool Application

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

Principal Selection Process Information Video