Principal (All Levels)

EXTERNAL Applicants Only

Principal Selection Process

Principal candidates are selected using a multi-phase process which carefully considers the applicant's background and readiness for a principalship.  This process involves the following: 

  • Application to the External Pre-Qualified Principal List posting
  • Initial paper screening of all the documents requested in the application process
  • Job-embedded tasks
  • Cross-office panel interview

If applicants successfully complete the items above, they will be entered on a list of pre-qualified principal candidates who are eligible to apply to school principal vacancies.

Pre-qualified principal candidates who are selected to interview for specific school principal vacancies will participate in a community panel  interview, and selected finalists will then interview with the superintendent.

Important:  When applying to school-based principal vacancies, you must also apply to the External Pre-qualified Principal List posting in order to be considered.  Initial consideration for school-based vacancies will be based upon pre-qualified principal list eligibility.  Eligibility is valid for 3 years. 



Eligible External Candidates Must Have

  • MSDE eligibility for Administrator I and II certification
  • At least 3 years of successful experience as a principal
  • A thorough knowledge of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) policies and procedures, the Call to Action Plan, the Program of Studies, and state and federal regulations and laws
  • Thorough knowledge of curriculum, instruction, organizational patterns, school operations, and pupil services
  • Demonstrated competence in staff selection, training, supervision and evaluation
  • Demonstrated problem-solving skills and demonstrated ability to act effectively under stress
  • Ability to motivate, encourage, and work with staff to ensure outstanding performance as well as good morale
  • Ability to articulate a vision for teaching and learning through leading the School Improvement Process (i.e. data review, root cause analysis, establishing an instructional focus, etc.)
  • Demonstrated ability to be a highly effective instructional leader through a commitment to equity and excellence for all students
  • Ability to lead an instructional program that promotes high expectations and access to rigorous and relevant learning
  • Demonstrated commitment to the instructional program through effective implementation of the professional growth systems with fidelity
  • Shown to be highly reflective on his/her practices
  • Some experience of union collaboration to address school needs
  • Demonstrated excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Demonstrated excellent interpersonal skills

Note:  Evidence to show the impact of the candidate’s leadership in the above competencies should be referenced in the resume and interest letter.


Application Checklist

  • Log on to MCPS Careers and select “Potential Employees.”  Apply to “External Pre-qualified Principal List” and attach all required documentation.
  • Include your current position in your Careers profile.
  • Include a letter of interest (two pages maximum) addressed to Mrs. Lance Dempsey, associate superintendent, Office of Human Resources and Development (OHRD).  The letter must include evidence to support your proficiency in the bulleted competencies previously listed above and must provide the following information: 
    • An example of how your leadership has impacted student achievement
    • An example of how you have built teacher capacity that resulted in improved teaching and learning experiences for students 
    • Data and concrete examples to support your claims  
  • Upload an updated resume that outlines your strengths in the above competencies. Data points used to support your leadership experience are required.  Include a list of 3 references in your resume.  The resume should not exceed two pages.


If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Mrs. Angie L. Fish, coordinator, OHRD, at 301-315-7390 or via e-mail at