School Leader Selection Toolkit

  • About the School Leader Selection Process

    At Denver Public Schools, we’re working to ensure that 100% of our schools gain value from outstanding leadership. Part of that process means ensuring we have inclusive, well thought out processes for school leader hiring that include staff, students, families and community members. Denver Public Schools utilizes the internet, job fairs, conferences, and educational events to attract external talent. We also partner with existing organizations who already have access to candidates interested in leadership opportunities to attract them specifically to DPS. We market school-specific openings in our school leader application, the Lead in Denver website, as well as local and national internet sites.

    To ensure all candidates are screened fairly:

    • All candidates apply through a single DPS school leader application.
    • Candidates are screened using a series of protocols aligned to the DPS School Leadership Framework. These activities include activities such as reviewing a data set about a school and providing analysis along with a strategic plan, observing a portion of a lesson, completing an analysis, and engaging in a role play conversation.
    • Activities are used to gather evidence around the specific indicators in the School Leadership Framework, as well as competencies identified as critical to successfully lead in DPS.

    Resources about the process:

    • More information about the process can be found in this PowerPoint: English
    • One-pager about the process: English Spanish

     School Leader Selection Toolkit: For School and District Leaders | Office of Family and Community Engagement

    About the Toolkit

    This toolkit is intended to help Instructional Superintendents run school leader selection processes that are consistent across the district. All the resources you need to support a hiring process that is equitable and transparent, are included in this toolkit. Please take the time to review and familiarize yourself with the content before launching into your hiring process. The toolkit is designed to work through the critical components of the hiring process:

    1. Establishing a Timeline and Posting the Job
    2. Communicating the Process and Gathering Input
    3. Organizing a Selection Committee
    4. Leading the School-Based Process and Learning Walk
    5. Hosting a Community Forum
    6. Making a Recommendation & Announcing the New School Leader

    You can begin by reviewing this one-pager which outlines all the non-negotiable steps of the process. 

    Let's Get to Work!

    Click on the links below to navigate to the resources page. Look for the following symbols to help navigate this toolbox:

    * = non-negotiable that is always included in a school leader hiring process

    † = resource that will need to be customized (i.e. include the school’s logo, specific dates, etc.)

    1) Establishing a Timeline and Posting the Job
    The first thing you’ll need to do is establish a timeline for hiring a new school leader and post the job opening.

    2) Communicating the Process and Gathering Input
    Communicating with school staff, parents, families, guardians, students and key stakeholders in the area (including elected officials and community leaders) is critical to the support and success of the process. Communicate as early as possible the overall timeline and information about the job posting. Your first meeting scheduled should be with the Collaborative School Committee (CSC) to consult on the timeline and process.

    3) Organizing a Selection Committee
    A critical aspect to the selection process will be a core group of stakeholders that help develop desired characteristics for the new school leader and help with narrowing the candidate pool. This group is often called the School Principal Selection Advisory Committee (SPSAC). This group with advise and assist the Instructional Superintendent throughout the process.

    4) Leading the School-Based Process and Learning Walk
    Once a candidate is successfully entered into the Highly Qualified Principal Pool, they will participate in the school-based process. The school-based process typically occurs the day of the candidate forum. SPSAC members and the instructional superintendent meet with candidates to screen them through a rigorous process–some schools hold additional focus group-style interviews with students, families and/or faculty and staff.

    A required part of the hiring process is for your HR School Partner to work with you and the school’s SPSAC to complete the training around appropriate district hiring processes. Please reach out to your HR partner as you move forward with the hiring process to schedule a time for them at the start of your process.

    5) Hosting a Community Forum with Candidates
    Forums are an opportunity for the entire school community, with special emphasis on students’ families and nearby community members, to hear from the finalists and provide feedback to the instructional superintendent. It is recommended that schools host a forum with no more than three candidates.

    6) Making a Recommendation & Announcing the New School Leader
    Once you’ve completed the process it’s time to make a recommendation to the Superintendent. Once a school leader has been hired, you will need to announce the new school leader and schedule a “meet-and-greet” opportunity for community members.


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    Denver, CO 80203

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