Doesn’t matter if you apply for a job of a school principal, superintendent, substitute teacher, mental health counselor, or for any other role in education or educational administration. Some representatives of the school district will always sit in the hiring committee. And they wonder why you want to work for their district, and not for another one.
Let’s have a look at 7 sample answers to the question. I tried to include on my list a variety of questions for various interview scenarios, and for various messages you may try to convey to the hiring committee members with your words. Do not forget to read also my notes below the list of answers, in order to understand the most common mistakes people make with this question, and how to avoid making them.
7 sample answers to “Why do you want to work for our school district?” interview question
- I’ve been living in this are for all my life. I believe to know the challenges you face in this district, and I have basically a daily contact with all stakeholders – parents, teachers, students, sponsors, everyone. In my opinion, it would make a little sense if I tried to get a job with any other school district in the area.
- To be honest, I do not have a preference. I was looking for a specific counseling job, at an elementary school, and your district is the only one advertising such a vacancy at the moment. I believe that each school district faces some challenges, and that in each one you will find some great people, whether in the ranks of teachers or administrators. Therefor I didn’t limit my job search to one particular district, but rather focused on the role I wanted to have. You are advertising such a role, and therefor I decided to submit my application. Needless to say, I am pleased to have a chance to interview with you.
- I simply needed a change. I’ve been working in my present district for fifteen years. Though I feel that I did a good job, I just do not find my position challenging enough. What’s more, I am not really on the same page with other administrators when it comes to addressing certain issues we face at our school, such as high dropout rate, or repeated cases of bullying. I’ve done my research about your place, talked with some teachers and counselors, and I find the place a better match for my values, and for what I hope to achieve with the children.
- I want to work for your school district because I truly admire what you’ve managed to do here over the last five years. Just look at the statistics for the students, and for the teachers. Five years ago, you belonged to the worst school districts in all indicators. Now you are leading the pack, and the credit must go to the administrators of the district, and the schools belonging to it. It would be an honor to work under such leadership, and who would not want to work with the successful?
- I want to work for your school district because I believe that I can address the challenges you face here. The budgeting issues, struggling to get amazing teachers onboard, struggling to come up with a clear vision for the district and a plan on how to attain the vision. When you look at my track record and what I’ve managed to do in my former jobs, I believe to be the right candidate for this leadership position, someone who can turn things around here. I would love to get a chance to make something big happen in this school district, and that’s why I am here.
- Speaking honestly, it is just the most fitting option for me logistically. You see, I have a young family, and I want spend time with my kids after school. I do not want to spend two hours commuting to work daily, which would be the case in one of the other two districts that advertise the same vacancy. What’s more, I know many people from the local community, and believe it will be easier for me to understand the problems people face in this district. Everything considered, you are definitely my first choice.
- I just like the possibilities for continuous education and career growth. You run amazing programs for your existing teachers, and one can clearly see that you try your best to help your people progress, so they do not stagnate. This is something I haven’t observed in any other school district in the state. What’s more, I really like your philosophy of leadership, and what sort of environment you try to build at schools belonging to the district. It resonates with my personality, and with the things I try to achieve in my work with the students.
Good research will help you immensely with your answer
Before anything else, your answer should make sense for the hiring committee. Try to learn something about their district, the leading figures, and how they’ve been doing over the last few years.
It is much easier to connect with the people in the committee and to actually refer to real problems they experience (and explain how you can help addressing them), once you know something about the place and the people who will interview you. What’s more, you will avoid some occurred situations, such as remaining silent when they ask you about the challenges they face in the district.
Everyone needs a change, but you should avoid negativity
The only permanent thing in the world is change. The interviewers will understand that you want to change your position, or your place of work, after being with one school district for five or ten years (or even shorter). As long as you explain the reasons for your decision (you aren’t challenged anymore, or do not share the same vision with the present leaders of that district, or didn’t get a promotion you felt you deserved, or your family situation changed and it forces you to change your place of work), you are good to go.
However, I suggest you to avoid any negative remarks on the address of your former colleagues. Maybe they see something differently, or follow some direction you do not agree with, but you still believe that they try their best for the district and the students–though may not achieve it, following a course of action you do not consider to be the right one.
Everyone loves words of praise
At the end of the day, people sitting in the hiring committee are men and women from flesh and bones, just like you and me. And like everyone else, they enjoy hearing some words of praise, and seeing that someone can actually recognize the good work they are doing for their district.
While preparing for your interview, try to find at least two things you can praise your interviewers for. The more specific things you refer to, the better the impact of such an answer will be. Perhaps you want to work for their district because they managed to improve X indicator by 100% over the last three years, and the indicator X by 20% over the last five years. And you would love to work for such an amazing district….
Ready to answer this one? Great! Check also 7 sample answers to other tricky interview questions you may face while trying to get a job in teaching or educational administration:
- Teacher interview – Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Teacher interview – What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Why do you want to become a teacher?