TregoED Blog

Hiring a Linchpin Principal

Thamizhpparithi Maari [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]



  1. A person or thing vital to an enterprise or organization.

“A good principal is the linchpin of student achievement in their building.

  1. A pin passed through the end of an axle to keep a wheel in position.

“Without a good principal at the helm, the wheels will fall off the wagon.

Either definition reflects the importance of the role of principal in student achievement.  Good principals should be able to set goals, establish high expectations, and develop the talent in their schools to fully support teaching and learning. Those skills are the linchpin in student achievement.

So, how do you ensure that you are selecting the best candidate to do all of that for your school?  The first step is to use selective hiring procedures that establish criteria that reflect not only those standards, but the unique needs of the building and community they will lead.  The second step is to use the data on candidates and their demonstrated skills to evaluate them in relation to that criteria to give you a clear picture and confidence in your choice.

Decision Analysis, a clear-cut decision-making process developed by Ben Tregoe and Charles Kepner, was designed and built to do just that.  Using a research-based process also has many benefits beyond just making the “right choice.”  It can negate the effects of favoritism, provide a clear written record and justification of how the decision was made, standardize hiring procedures throughout the district, and give you a way to utilize stakeholder input in a meaningful way.

You could say that using Decision Analysis is the linchpin to ensure that you are selecting the best candidate to impact student achievement.

TregoED has been helping educational leaders gain the capabilities to solve problems and make great decisions for over 25 years.  For more information on how to make Decision Analysis part of your hiring process, contact us at 609-252-2539.