Thank you for visiting the ISU Ed. Leadershop. Our intent over the past few years has been to field-test community-engaged writings for PK-20 practitioner conversation -- quick, 5-minute "read's" that help put into perspective the challenges and opportunities in our profession. Some of the writings have remained here solely; others have been developed further for other outlets. Our space has been a delightful "sketch board" for some very creative minds in leadership, indeed.

We believe that by kicking around an idea or two and not getting too worked-up over it, the thinking and writing involved have even greater potential to make a difference on behalf of those we serve. In such, please give us a read; share with others. We encourage your thoughts, opinions, feelings, and reactions to our work and thank you for taking your time. You keep us relevant.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Instructional Leadership: A Broad, Brushstroke of Insignificance?

Instructional Leadership: A Broad, Brushstroke of Insignificance?

Dr. Ryan Donlan
Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Leadership
Bayh College of Education
Indiana State University
Dr. Steve Gruenert
Associate Professor and Department Chairperson
Department of Educational Leadership
Bayh College of Education
Indiana State University

Moving from “building manager” to “instructional leader” is all the rage.   According the a commonly embraced mantra: Today’s principals need to be prepared differently because the old, right way of doing things is now the new, wrong way.

Interestingly, researchers from Vanderbilt and Stanford universities are inviting us to reconsider this broad, brushstroked pendulum swing toward instructional leadership, at least the way it is often operationalized.  They noted (1) that few studies have connected instructional leadership behaviors to school performance and (2) that specific behaviors, such as classroom informal walk-throughs, negatively predict student growth, particularly in the high school setting (Grissom, Loeb, & Master, 2013).

As we pause this week to think about what leaders should be doing in our K-12 schools, let’s consider whether or not instructional leadership really makes sense.  We’ll start first by pulling apart the term.

To some, instruction implies “teaching” … to others, “learning.”  One is an input … the other, an output.  Both have shortcomings, if considered at each end of a dichotomy.

If we focus too much on inputs, leadership walk-throughs could be reduced to bean counting; we would only need accountants to do the job.  Yet, if we focus too much on outputs as promulgated by accountability bobbleheads, we then should probably ask ourselves in the parlance of Stanley Bing’s Machiavellian spoof, “Do the ends really justify the meanness?”

So then, upon what should we focus?
Toward what should principals lead?  
Or rather, what should they do?

Let’s start by asking a more important question, posed recently in our own Department of Educational Leadership:  Is leadership a position or a process?   

If a position, it could be interpreted as something tangible, a snapshot.  With leadership defined as such, it would be easy to find someone to blame when things aren’t successful – a dartboard.  After all, it’s just hanging there right in front of us.

This is why in dysfunctional organizations, our smarter leaders have found that they fare better renting, or if buying, they do so out of town.   We’ve all heard the one about the new CEO inheriting three envelopes, haven’t we? 

A fellow had just been hired as the new CEO of a large corporation. The current CEO was stepping down and met with the new hire privately in his office, where he handed him three numbered envelopes.
"Open these if you run up against a problem you don't think you can solve," the first CEO said.
Things went along pretty smoothly for the first six months, but then sales took a downturn and the new CEO began catching a lot of heat. He went to his drawer and took out the first envelope. The message read, "Blame your predecessor."
The new CEO called a press conference and tactfully laid the blame at the feet of the previous CEO. Sales began to pick up and the problem was soon behind him.
About a year later, the company was again experiencing a slight dip in sales, combined with serious product malfunctions. Having learned from his previous experience, the CEO opened the second envelope. The message read, "Reorganize." This he did, and the company quickly rebounded.
After several consecutive profitable quarters, the company once again fell on hard times. The CEO went to his office, closed the door and opened the third envelope.
The message said, "Prepare three envelopes."


Just substitute “CEO” for “principal” above, and you’ll get the idea.  That’s leadership as a “position” in contemporary K-12.

If leadership is defined more as a process, we may be getting closer to something of greater import … something less temporary. Leadership-as-process involves more the how of something than the what.  

Recent research has found the more time school leaders spend coaching teachers, the more that process bears a relationship to greater math achievement growth (Grissom, Loeb, and Master, 2013). We do not suggest that leadership and coaching should be used interchangeably, yet we do note that these really interesting findings would be a bit less worrisome if Monday mornings in America were not “all about firing coaches.”

The questions then become: Just how much latitude will we give school principals to be coaches?  Taken further, how many tools will we give coaches, to coach?  Regarding those tools:

Will our coaches be granted access to the personality profiles of each team member, and thus use that information to create harmony or to disrupt the status quo?

Will we allow our coaches to bench the board member’s incompetent nephew?

Or, are we going to default to something more cowardly and self-serving: The continuing notion that “principal” is simply a temporary position at the behest of a board or superintendent -- a first line of defense, expendable, if things aren’t won.  Sort of like the way we actually DO treat coaches.

As with many armchair-quarterback scenarios, the semantics regarding building management and instructional leadership are often peddled by those who could not operationalize their differences – certainly, those who have neither managed nor led (nor coached).

What we need in schools is not necessarily to demand instructional leadership of our principals, yet rather, instructional supervision.

If we were to “get real,” as our students would encourage us, we would instead leave instructional leadership to the teachers who are qualified to model, and even in some cases lead, what they have been best prepared to do? Principals might then enjoy the latitude of garnering resources for teachers and staff, while monitoring and watching over those who choose to innovate or to remain idle.  The might even be able to manage their buildings.

The bottom line is that we need principals strong enough to be instructional supervisors, or as new research informs us … coaches. Let’s encourage the support of fair team owners and loyal fans toward this end.

At present, too many who attend “How-to-Be-Principal” PD are feeling the peer pressure to try-on newly sported outfits of instructional leadership, as not buying what their friends are wearing (and what “industry” says is in style) would be “So Totally Uncool.”

And while currently looking the part – walking through classrooms to the cadence of Right Said Fred – one downside might be that principals are doing their little turns on the catwalk in front of real instructional leaders, who find them as insignificant as they do unfashionable.


Grissom, J. A., Loeb, S., & Master, B. (2013). Effective instructional time use for school leaders: Longitudinal evidence from observations of principals. Educational Researcher 42(8), 433-444.


Dr. Ryan Donlan and Dr. Steve Gruenert teach in the Ph.D. program at Indiana State University and would love to have you in on this conversation, especially if you disagree with them.  Might even get some time in the Leadershop.  If you would like share your thoughts, opinions, or feelings, please feel free to contact them at or 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Just Out of Range

Just Out of Range

By Ryan Donlan
Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Leadership
Bayh College of Education
Indiana State University
Mary Tracy-MacAulay
Doctoral Student
Department of Educational Leadership
Bayh College of Education
Indiana State University

Successful experience in leadership brings with it an expanding repertoire of professional with-it-ness in those who are authentic in reflection and intentional in self-improvement.  Even with this, our prioritization of the urgencies results in important items being left “just out of range.”

We thought it might be helpful this week to ask our friends and colleagues in K-12 leadership, “What aren’t we noticing?” 

Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham, in 1955, referred to an area that escapes our awareness as a Blind Spot, a portion potentially known to others, yet not known to self (Luft, 1982). 

Are any of the following “just out of range” to you, as they have been at times to us?

With Faculty & Staff:

The team-playing faculty member who lets students sit for a few minutes at the end of each class period, thus missing out on numerous hours of instruction in a given year;

The dust atop a hallway’s running board, the potential result of our interacting with custodians less often, and thus their becoming less apt to consider their work important to the school;

The exclamation marks (!) affixed on signs and flyers posted by staff – notations perceivable as put-off-ish;

With Students:

The C-student who has no adult with whom to connect, at school or at home;

The restroom graffiti that is irritating, yet devastating to those who are described within (or the discomfort felt by those who use stalls without doors because of our chosen methods of dealing with it);

The contributions of student athletes or club members who are not participating in the “Big 3”;

With Parents & Community Members:

The techniques our faculty and staff use to launch evening meetings with parents and community volunteers [Are those more introverted sitting uncomfortably in silence as they await the start?];

The behavior exhibited by Parking Lot Nazis while families drop-off their children each morning;

The manner in which teachers address parents over the phone and more importantly, their need for training in this very skill;

In Our Own Leadership Behavior and Communication:

Our moods on Mondays, as compared to Fridays;

What our e-mails “say” through their tone and word choice, or what they say about us because we are using them to communicate to those down the hall in the first place;

The “learning” that is occurring with students, as we are so focused on scripting;

And … On a More Personal Level:

What we are doing and how we are being perceived, while we believe no one is looking at the gas station or the grocery store;

The strength of the relationships with our significant others, as this reflects whom we really are while putting on our professional visages, and

Our own wellness, as defined by how we need to define it.

As we consider those things “just out of range” in our leadership, should we be asking ourselves, “If these examples are ones to which many of us can relate, then why with such smart, student-centered people are they just out of range?” 

Do we choose to leave them there, even subconsciously?

They certainly wouldn’t seem of lesser value to us.  After all, they are not of lesser value to those who deal with their effects.

Could it be that we are so derailed by our day-to-day’s, that it is more difficult to notice things that require us to look long and hard at what is happening beneath the surface and make more difficult decisions?  Could it be that we never take time to think?

Maybe it has nothing to do with that; it could be that keeping things “just out of range” allows us the option of keeping vulnerability just out of range too. 

It seems rather clear – Those things “just out of range” include the very elements of the human condition that would bring us more closely in range to one another, if we would only allow their identification and attention.


Luft, J. (1982). The Johari Window: A graphic model of awareness in interpersonal relations. Retrieved at:


Ryan Donlan is currently working with Mary Tracy-MacAulay in her doctoral coursework.  Please be encouraged to contact them at anytime at or at (812) 237-8624.  The more we share with each other, the fewer items we may leave “just out of range” while we strive to make a difference.

Monday, February 10, 2014

In Conflict Over Collaboration?

In Conflict Over Collaboration?

A Friendly Exchange between:

Dr. Ryan Donlan
Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Leadership
Bayh College of Education
Indiana State University


Dr. Steve Gruenert
Associate Professor & Department Chairperson
Department of Educational Leadership
Bayh College of Education
Indiana State University

At times, it is interesting to wander the hallways of University Hall in the Bayh College of Education at Indiana State University to hear folks talk -- especially faculty members, as they share perspectives on K-12 education.

One might hear a debate over the merits and “realness” of on-line learning experiences.  Another might hear how quickly (or not) a school can change its organizational culture. 

One overheard conversation recently occurred between Assistant Professor Ryan Donlan and his boss, Department Chair Steve Gruenert, regarding the notion of “Collaboration in K-12 Education.”  Dr. Donlan ascribes to the perspective of “I’m OK; You’re OK,” as he envisions human relationships.  Dr. Gruenert, at times begs to differ. 

Let’s listen in on part of their conversation, as transcribed this week for the Leadershop.

Ryan - You know, Steve, collaboration in K-12 schools is sorely in need of an upgrade.  We continue to run schools in an egg-crate design, with isolated workspaces reminiscent of a manufacturing era where everyone had an isolated job to do.  Purportedly, this benefits children, but I just don’t think so anymore.  We need more collaboration in K-12 schools today.

Steve -- Collaboration is simply a few lazy people sucking the life out of those who have the personal ethic to get the job done. Too often people enjoy having meetings just for the sake of meeting. Thus, there is no real motivation to solve the problem, as we will no longer have a reason to meet. However, in emergency situations the notion of coming together to help others is not the point I argue against. Those ad hoc moments can save lives and build friendships. What we discuss here is the notion of telling teachers they have to meet on a regular basis in hopes that something synergistic drops on the floor.

Ryan -- I agree that K-12 has its share of orchestrated get-togethers, yet what’s the harm?  Collaboration is natural to the human condition.  We’re hardwired for it.  In fact if you think about it, since the time of hunter-gathers, humans were at a serious disadvantage individually compared to other forms of life in how they would survive.  In order to obtain food, they needed to band together.  In order to protect themselves, they needed to do the same.  We formed compacts for shelter, communal safety, and other basic necessities so that we could survive as a species.  Even in later millennia, collaboration was needed in guaranteeing the foundational aspects of our lives, such as food production, electricity generation, clean water, and the development of medicines.  Human beings cannot survive in isolation.  They are hardwired for collaboration.

Yet beyond the notion of survival, collaboration fulfills a basic human need in the majority of all of us.  Most have a social orientation through which we live our lives.  We depend upon others keep us energized.  More than ever, we are connected. Why should we approach the world of school any differently than that of the outside?  School is simply a microcosm of the society in which we live.

Steve – Collaboration is an unnatural act. The whole notion of having to convince educators to do it suggests that it may not be best practice. There exist many books and rich consultants who make a living going door to door selling Professional Learning Communities as the solution. Educators have learned to trust their intuition as each new innovation imposes a new paradigm into the real world of teaching. If it really worked, we’d be doing it already; we would not need evangelism.

Ryan -- I do agree, Steve, that we spend too much time selling what we should be doing, but aren’t the organizational structures we have imposed upon ourselves the real enemies here? We’re not talking with each other because we can’t see each other when the kids are in session. We establish working hours that end, shortly after the kids go home.  It doesn’t make anything “unnatural” … rather, it simply makes things unworkable. 

Let me share another benefit of collaboration, as I see it?

We are now in a world where work can be taken to worker.  Our children must function in a competitive, global marketplace.   In order to demonstrate the necessary skills to obtain personally meaningful lives, they will need to be able to work together.  Yet, while we may expect this of them in schools, are we modeling?  After all, vicarious learning experiences are oftentimes touted, anecdotally, as meaningful. 

How can we expect students to understand what it takes to work with others if we only talk the talk, and not walk the walk?  As any effective teacher shares, if we are able to demonstrate what we are expecting students to do, they will find relevance.  Collaboration provides us this opportunity for modeling, while we are working as K-12 professionals to make decisions, address challenges, and deliver the highest quality education with the best use of tax dollars.  Collaboration, in full view of our most precious resource, makes better learning possible.

Steve -- Which suggests we should get rid of individual grades for students and create “team grading” policies; everyone loves those small-group activities in school. How will we know the needs of an individual when all the data is group level? Do we create IEPs for small groups, or for individuals? It seems the success of distance education – providing learning experiences without the benefit of the group in person – can show how teaching and learning can happen in asynchronous isolation.

In the real world, it is every person for him-or-herself. Your diagnosis from the doctor will be about you, and only you. We pay individual taxes because we are individuals. To force a group mentality on those of us who are successfully independent is nothing short of socialism. And I imagine that St. Peter will not look for groups to get into heaven, each name will be listed separately.

Life is not a team sport. However, if we pay attention to the times when a group does collaborate; terms like Groupthink (individuals surrender their own beliefs to the group, thinking it will be a more efficient way to do business), and Risky Shift (when positioned in a group, individuals will take greater risks hoping the anonymity saves them from blame) enter the mind. Cults and lynch mobs are the most efficient forms of collaboration. When has the term “Union Mentality” ever been a compliment?

Ryan – Then let me try this one on you for size.  I don’t think one can argue that collaboration results in better decision making.  After all, two heads are better than one … three even better.  Because of the various ways that each of us can approach the problems we face, collaboration allows us to capitalize on everyone’s “best” approach, selecting those that enhance decision-making.  Of course, this takes deft leadership to facilitate, but I think it’s safe in assuming that we at ISU work with those who can arguably be defined as “the best.” 

I don’t really see, Steve, how any perceived downsides to collaboration can offset the bottom line:  Better decisions are made.

Steve -- Think so? Imagine the following scenario:

Let’s take the following 26 hypothetical faculty or staff members with their I.Q.’s listed:

A (110), B (112), C (107), D (121), E (119), F (111), G (105), H (117), I (128), J (108), K (110), L (112), M (107), N (121), O (119), P (111), Q (105), R (117), S (128), T (108), U (110), V (102), W (137), X (125), Y (109), and Z (117). 

With a quick calculation, we get a mean of around 114, a high I.Q. of 137, and a low I.Q. of 102.  That said, we’re left with a question: “What is the ‘I.Q.’ of the group? How can we not say it is closer to the mean than the highest?

Collaboration can make half of us dumber.

Regardless of how the group works, the purpose of collaboration is to let each individual participate and feel as though he or she has made a contribution.  Thus, the lowest I.Q. is given the same space as the highest. If we think about cults or lynch mobs, it is rarely the decision of the smartest person in the group to carry on. This coming together compromises the fidelity of the group’s capacity to let the best lead the way. This consensus creates a weak link in a chain that was never needed.

The highest I.Q. is usually squelched by a charismatic, egocentric prima donna - a forceful personality that has emerged as a leader, simply because we decided to collaborate.

The best leaders are never the smartest people in the group. But they know who is, and will find a way to get that person’s untainted opinion – usually in the parking lot after everyone else has gone home.


Dr. Ryan Donlan and Dr. Steve Gruenert are not finished with their conversation and may be seen caucusing with doctoral students on any given Wednesday on campus or during other evenings while on the road.  If you would like to weigh-in on their thoughts, or better yet, give some Twitter love to whomever you agree with here, please feel free to do so.  We don’t believe these guys are going to come together any time soon without your help.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Interviewing for "Best Fit"

Interviewing for “Best Fit”

By Dr. Ryan Donlan
Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Leadership
Bayh College of Education
Indiana State University

You want your school to become more like your new teachers; you don’t want your new teachers to become more like your school.

– Dr.’s Beth and Todd Whitaker, Indiana State University

‘Tis nearly the season to improve our schools for next year and beyond, and as Professors Whitaker shared recently at a Principal Intern seminar in the Bayh College of Education at Indiana State University, there are two ways to do it:  (1) Improve your existing teachers, or (2) Hire better ones. 

The latter is the quickest and the fastest.

Preparing to hire new teachers in K-12 involves a landscape analysis of our schools’ current and future needs, as well as arduous effort in recruiting.  A well-crafted screening process also helps winnow the field of potential candidates, yet as we all know, the real work begins shortly thereafter. 

This week’s five-minute short read involves “that next step” beyond the aforementioned: The Interview Process.

Advice shared herein is presented with the intent of offering a “Loose/Tight” framework for bringing on board the best candidates for our teaching positions.  It begins with consideration of the goals of the interview process.

In K-12 leadership, we must accomplish the following in interviewing:

1.     Ensuring “due diligence” as talent scouts.
2.     Showcasing our school’s mission and “appeal.”
3.     Orchestrating an eventual influence upon our own school’s culture.
4.     Generating ideas for solutions on immediate and longer-term problems.
5.     Adding immediate value to “where we are,” instructionally and professionally.

To accomplish the goals above, the process itself has discernable phases through which it moves.  To keep these in mind and to ensure maximum attentiveness to each stage maximize the probability that we will reap dividends on our hiring investments.

Due Diligence Phase

This is the phase of the process where we ensure that we understand our school’s organizational culture and our community’s norms and demographic.  As well, we must gauge the identity of our school as it represents a learning community and an applicant’s “fit” as one who would take us from where we are to a better place.  We also need to project our school as the optimal place to spend one’s career. 

In other words, we must “do our homework” on the one hand and “sell our school” on the other.

Of the many possible activities that could take place in this phase, I’ll mention the following:

Asking all viable candidates to attend a large group meeting regarding our school, with staff members’ making a presentation about how we have an excellent place to work and are experiencing success on behalf of students and community.

At the conclusion of this presentation, assigning a writing prompt to candidates with data analysis as a component, as well as school/home/community partnerships as a topic.

Once the writing is complete and we collect their responses for review, asking candidates to select from among staff members sitting in interview stations for a “meet and greet,” conducting speed interviews to gauge first impressions, as well as a first read of our candidates’ communication and their abilities to think on their feet.  It is interesting whom they select for a conversation.

[It is critical to garner input from those involved in the Due Diligence Phase, in order to select candidates for the next round, the Dialogue Phase]

Dialogue Phase

This is the phase of the process where we ensure that our professional conversations with candidates discern whether or not appropriate skills are present to do the professional jobs assigned.  This phase also helps gauge in more detail the intangible aspects of candidate personality.  In a sense, this is the traditional interview.

In this phase, it may be helpful to keep in mind the following:

The use of an interview team often allows for more information gathering and a deeper read on the skills that candidates project.  Teams also help to mollify biases that may occur in some who are involved in hiring.

Individualized questions (for each position and possibly each candidate) can work well to gauge candidate “fit.” Canned questions can at times be constricting, as the goal is more to hire for talent than it is for skill. With this in mind, rater forms and scoring rubrics are helpful, as long as they are flexible. In the midst of our malleability, however, we must keep things legal, so a smart degree of standardization is needed to form the basis upon which we make decisions.

Interview teams are valuable in evaluating what candidates say and do, and HOW they say and do it.  For example, with whom does the candidate direct most responses?  Where is the eye contact? With whom is one connecting? Do the “coach-types” play more toward the other coach-types on the interview committee? If so, this may indicate a perspective. Does the candidate more frequently make eye contact with the principal, no matter who asks the questions?  Is there a gender preference?  These may indicate paradigms.

[It is critical to garner input from those involved in the Dialogue, in order to select candidates for the next round, the Demonstration Phase]

Demonstration Phase

This is the phase where candidates demonstrate that they can “walk the talk.”  Here, school officials take a back seat and gauge the efficacy of the candidate in a real, lifelike forum where “It’s on them.”

Helpful ideas during this phase of the interview may include the following:

Asking candidates to demonstrate a lesson in their content areas with a student audience.

Encouraging candidates to deliver a presentation, such as they would deliver for professional development in a staff meeting to colleagues.

Requesting that candidates grade or assess student work, as it provides a barometric reading and a norming indicator of job-specific performance and congruence with faculty expectations.

[It is critical to garner input from those involved in the Demonstration Phase, in order to select candidates for the next round, the Design Phase]

Design Phase

This is the phase of the process where candidates demonstrate that they can contribute to the future well being of the school.

During this phase, helpful activities may include the following:

Asking candidates to report the strengths and growth areas of the school, as well as to provide suggestions on how the school can turn growth areas into strengths.

Requesting that candidates provide ideas to increase school/family partnerships.

Giving candidates the opportunities to share their own creativity with faculty who have been working on school improvement initiatives.

[It would be critical to garner input from those involved in the Design Phase, in order to select candidates for the next round, the Decision Phase]

Decision Phase

This is the phase where it is incumbent upon leaders to “own” the responsibility for hiring the appropriate candidate.

Things to keep in mind during this phase may include the following:

Reflecting carefully about the events and circumstances surrounding our interaction with candidates.  In particular, we could ask ourselves the following questions:

Was the candidate prepared?  Did he or she know much about the school system and community? Did they present themselves professionally (dress, appearance, etc.)? What evidence do we have of this, beyond what anyone could get from our school’s website?

Did the candidate ask strong questions? Examples of better questions may include, “Where would you like a new faculty member to contribute outside of the classroom?” “Would the school encourage and support action research in classroom instruction?” and “Would the school’s perspective on technology support the development of my on-line, professional learning community?”

Was the candidate too worried about money?  Those extrinsically motivated may never be satisfied on any teacher’s salary and may leave us if offered a more lucrative position later in the hiring season.

A final question that we may ask ourselves could be, “What questions do we still have as unanswered, and whose fault is that?”

Other things to keep in mind during the Decision Phase can include:

Ensuring that all involved in the interviewing process know and understand what type of decision will be used to bring a new teacher on board.  Will the decision be advisory (committee recommending and principal or another in leadership making the decision), democratic (selection decided upon by vote), or by consensus (all candidates being able to live with the decision that is made)? This is particularly important in garnering participation among faculty and staff in the future.

Taking care and consideration to communicate directly with the top two or three candidates by telephone after the decision is made, especially those who are not selected.  After all, if our number one candidate accepts yet in the weeks following takes another position, we do not want to burn our bridges with those who might very much appreciate another call.

Handling requests for feedback with great care:  A school does not want to put itself into a sensitive position by being “too up front” about the reasons that some candidates might have been chosen and others were not. It always pays to ask our school attorney what can be said, if folks inquire.

As soon as the decision is made, please make no mistake about it: The professional induction and mentoring program has already begun. It started the moment the candidate contacted our school or viewed our website.  

Our best leaders will utilize this reality as a springboard toward professional investment, a candidate’s commitment, and lasting contribution.


Related to Induction:  Few downsides exist in hiring better teachers, yet what if a variable presents its ugly head during our processes – “The prior firing of a teacher” [a nasty, personal, sensitive necessity, yet one that jumpstarted our process and this great opportunity to add to our ranks].

This may invite an elephant into the room: “Why was that teacher fired?”

Does this come into the next person’s dialogue as they interview? 

It shouldn’t, but how can we be sure the new hire will not become indoctrinated into the role of the person leaving (as the organizational culture will try to make it so)?

It would be naïve to believe that the new person will not be curious as to why the person replaced was let go, and to ponder, “Was it fair?” 

In such, our best candidate may be thinking, “Do I want THEM?”


Dr. Ryan Donlan is fortunate to work alongside Dr.’s Beth and Todd Whitaker in the Bayh College of Education at Indiana State University, as well as Dr. Linda Marrs-Morford of the Indiana Principal Leadership Institute who provided input into this article and Dr. Steve Gruenert who offered thoughts on this postscript.  If you have any information that can help expand ISU’s horizon on the K-12 interviewing process, please consider giving Dr. Ryan Donlan a call at (812) 237-8624 or by writing him at