Curriculum Director is one of the more mysterious roles in education. Many students and outsiders have no idea such a job even exists. And once they find out, they struggle to understand what exactly these administrators do, while often earning more than $100,000 annually.
In reality, you will oversee developing, assessing, and modifying the curriculum for the entire district, making sure it reflects the specific conditions in the area and their educational goals, while at the same time correlating with state or national standards. You will travel from school to school, instructing teachers or curriculum coordinators, and basically put together the pieces of an educational puzzle, making sure the students can reach their educational goals.
Your duties, as well as specifications of the job, will be reflected in the questions you will face while interviewing for this interesting job. Hiring committee (typically presided by the superintendent) will inquire about your motivation, goals, education and experience in the field, vision for the district, and also about certain tricky situations you may encounter while working with teachers, program coordinators, and other staff members. Let’s have a look at the questions.
Why do you want to work as a Curriculum Director?
The real reasons are obvious–position of authority, exceptional salary, big impact you can have with your work, flexibility the job offers, and a certain degree of independence not many other employees in education experience. Let’s face it: Curriculum directors aren’t the most busy people in the school district. On some days you will simply chill in your office, answering an email here and there…
As you can imagine though, just some of these reasons are good to mention. Particularly the impact you want to have–a positive impact to be precise, making sure that the curriculum reflects the newest trends in education, and at the same time adheres to all state and national regulations, so each child can reach their full potential.
I also suggest you to say that after everything you’ve done and achieved in your former roles (while teaching and leading the school), you feel to have what it takes to do the job well. You believe to have the skills and experience to become an excellent curriculum director. That’s why you decided to apply for the role…
What is your vision for the education in our district?
One of the most important questions you will face in this interview, if not the most important one. School districts want to hire administrators with a vision of the future, people who understand the challenges we face in education in general, and in the particular school district, and want to address them with their work.
You probably know something about the district right now, about their curriculum and teaching standards. Try to analyze them in detail, and come up with some ideas of improvement. Another way of answering this question is focusing on educational goals. Following the results of the students and comparing them with state/national average, you want to improve X and Y, and you can do that by enhancing A and B in the curriculum, or by changing C and D in teaching standards.
Think about it for a while, and try to come up with some plan, or at least with some ideas you can discuss with the interviewers. In some cases, a good answer to this question can alone win you the job.
How do you imagine a typical day in the office of a Curriculum Director?
As I’ve already said, on some days you won’t really have much to do. But you should never say so in the interviews. On the contrary, try to show proactive approach to your job.
This means first and foremost leaving the comfort zone of your comfy office, traveling to schools, meeting with teachers, instructing new ones, talking to coordinators and counselors, gathering material for your work, getting feedback from everyone. Of course, what exactly you will do depends on the time of the year, and secondary and administrative duties they assign to you at the district.
You can also say that when you won’t have anything else on your schedule, you will study new materials and research papers on educational methods and related matters. Making sure you’d stay up to date with newest trends in the field, you can come up with new ideas on the improvement of the curriculum in the district. Do not forget to read the job description again before the start of the interview. Though often overly complicated and misleading, it can give you some hints on both your primary and secondary duties as their new curriculum director.
You will oversee the curriculum in the entire district. Do you feel comfortable traveling in-between various schools in the district?
Ensure them that not only you feel comfortable with traveling, you also understand the essential role it plays in your work. Unless you work “in the field”, unless you talk to teachers and students and gather their feedback, you can hardly evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum, and suggest ideas for improvement.
Hence you do not mind traveling, but you will try to plan your days in a meaningful way, so you do not spend quarter of your working time just sitting in the car, driving somewhere. By the way, you can use similar logic while answering any questions touching some area of your work. Ensure them that you do not mind doing this or that, because you understand why it matters for the results of your work…
What do you expect from principals, teachers, program specialists and other professionals you will work with as a curriculum director?
You have several good options at this point. First one is saying that you do not really except anything special. You want to focus on your work, doing it as well as you can, trying to reach your goals. Your primary responsibility is improving the quality of education in the district, and not evaluating the quality of work of your colleagues. Sure, you will cooperate with them, but you prefer to focus on your role in the process. Being attentive to their needs and feedback, and always arriving on time, and excellently prepared for the meetings, you simply do your best to make this cooperation work.
Another option is focusing on communication. You can say that you expect them to communicate openly with you, sharing their problems, as well as feedback on your work, in the meetings with you. And of course, they should proceed with the changes you implement, even if they may not like them (since people generally do not like changes). You expect them to give you a chance to prove your skills as the curriculum director…
Other questions you may face in your interview for a job of a Curriculum Director
- If we hire you as our new Director of Curriculum, what goals will you set for yourself for the first year in the job?
- Where do you see yourself in five years time?
- How do you stay up to date with latest trends in education?
- Imagine that one of the veteran teachers refuses to follow your instructions. How will you react?
- Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership.
- Why do you want to work for our school district? Why not some other place?
- How would you motivate teachers to follow your suggestions regarding curricular and instructional changes in the classes?
- Do you think a curriculum director needs a secretary or a personal assistant?
- Do you plan to include parents in your work, in any way?
Experience plays a major role in this interview. It helps a lot if you’ve worked in educational administration for a while, and have achieved some results in your work, with either students or teachers. Get ready to discuss your career at length with the hiring committee.
But they won’t inquire only about your past… Your vision of the future, and what you want to improve when it comes to education in the district, can often decide it for you. Think about it for a while, and prepare also for other questions that I outlined in this article. I hope you will succeed, and wish you best of luck!
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