Principal Helpline: Should I Tell My Boss I’m Looking for Another Job?

The answer may be different for principals than it is for other professions.

Should I Tell My Boss I'm Looking for Another Job?

Q.

I’ve been a principal for several years, and now I’m thinking I’d like to move into a central office position. There are currently no openings in my district, but I’ve seen a few job postings in neighboring districts and in other parts of the state that look interesting. Should I tell my boss I’m looking for another job?

A

Typically people will say that you don’t have to say anything to your supervisor until you’re invited for an interview. But I tend to believe it’s better to let your supervisor know your intentions before you even apply for another job. Here’s why:

1) If you have a good relationship with your supervisor based on honesty and mutual respect, you may want to consult with him beforehand. He may have insight into jobs in other districts, and he may be able to give you a sense of your chances of being considered for other positions.  He may also have some advice regarding how to present yourself in the best possible light.

2) You may want to use your supervisor as a formal reference. In that case, you will want to ask him or her if it’s OK to do so before you begin making application.

3) Be aware that school administrators in one district talk to school administrators in other districts.  You really don’t want your supervisor to hear about your job search from someone who works in another district.

4) Finally, if you do get another job, respect the fact that your current district will need some lead time to find a good candidate to replace you. If you’ve been at your school for several years, you’ll want the next principal to be highly competent and care about kids and teachers.

If your supervisors are professionals, they will understand your desire to move up the academic ladder. They did it themselves. It’s also okay to let your supervisors know you are interested in advancement, so they can keep you in mind for an opening in your district.

Keep in mind that leaving well is as important as starting well.

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Suzanne Tingley

Posted by Suzanne Tingley

Suzanne Tingley has been a middle/high school teacher, department chair, principal, and superintendent. She taught graduate classes in education administration for the State University of New York. She developed a series of education videos and has been a Scholastic Administrator blogger.