Principal Application Process

DPS utilizes a pool process for principal applications. If you currently don’t hold a Principal role in DPS,To apply for specific school vacancies, candidates must first apply to our central screening process and screen into the principal candidate pool, linked below.

If you currently hold a Principal role in DPS, you DO NOT have to go through the pool process. You can apply to school based Principal openings directly through the internal DPS Job board.

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Step 1. Online Application

  • A principal’s license is not required to apply
    • Anyone can apply to the principal and AP pool regardless of admin license status because of the Denver Lead Today program. If someone without a license is hired, they will have to complete licensure through DLT. Anyone who applies to the pool without an admin license should be made aware of this commitment and if they don’t hold an active teacher’s license for 3 years or more, they will need to be in DLT for 3 years.
  • Resume
  • One (1) letter of recommendation
  • Cover letter that answers the following questions:
    • Why do you want to be a school leader in DPS?
    • What has been your record of student academic achievement? (please give measurable outcomes)
    • What experience have you had influencing adults to achieve significant results for students? (Including but not limited to coaching, mentoring, providing feedback, etc.)
    • What is your experience working with diverse student populations? (including but not limited to race, ethnicity, socio-economic)
    • What is your experience teaching or leading second language learners?

Note: All candidates use Job ID #31539.

Step 2. Phone Interview

If selected, you will be emailed by an interviewer to set up a 20 – 30 minute phone interview.

  • You do not need to have anything specific in front of you
  • Behavior-based interviewing skills

Step 3. In-Person Interview

  • The interview will consist of a group activity around budget, a classroom observation and debrief, a data task, a parent role-play, and a Q&A interview
  • Suggested reading materials: LEAD Framework and LEAP Framework for Effective Teaching
  • Clearly be able to define your vision for school leadership

Step 4 – Apply to Specific Vacancies

If selected for the Highly Qualified Principal Pool you will be given access to apply to specific school vacancies, which can be found on the external job board and internal job board.

Step 5 – School Based Interviews

If selected for school based interviews:

  • You will hear from the hiring manager
  • The timeline for school based interviews varies by school
  • The school based interview process is unique to each school designed by a committee of stakeholders
  • School based interviews can include a Learning Walk, Community Forum, Assessment Center, Interviews with Senior Leadership


The Principal Pool for 2019-2020 school year is now open! Due to the high volume of applications that we receive every year, the pooled screening process (phone screening and group interview events) will not be available for applications received after mid-February 2019. Any applications submitted prior to mid-February 2019 will be eligible to participate in the pooled screening process. Applications submitted after this date will remain on file for consideration for immediate openings.

2018-19 Principal Pool Interview Event Dates:

  • No longer available

Current Openings:

Denison (Montessori) Elementary| Job ID# 31802 | Apply here!
Bryant Webster (ECE-8) | Job ID# 32449 | Apply here!
Ashley Elementary | Job ID# 32526 | Apply here!
Denver School of the Arts | Job ID# 32528 | Apply here!
John F. Kennedy High School | Job ID# 32565 | Apply here!
Polaris Elementary | Job ID# 32582 | Apply here!
Denver Discovery School | Job ID# 32600 | Apply here!
McAuliffe Manual Middle School | Job ID# 33388Apply here!
West Early College | Job ID# 33494 | Apply here!
Abraham Lincoln High School | Job ID# 33536 Apply here!

Click here to view the schools’ websites


Q: I was in the pool last year, do I need to APPLY again?

It is required that everyone apply to the pool regardless if you have been in the pool previously or not. This is the only way candidates will be able to apply to the school specific vacancies once they have passed the initial screening into the pool and allows them to include the most up-to-date information.

Q: I was in the pool last year, will I need to INTERVIEW again?

Everyone is given two years of eligibility in the pool based on the hiring cycle (year 1: 2016/2017, year 2: 2017/2018, then need to reapply). Once that 2 years has expired, you will need to interview for the pool again.

Q: Do I need to have an administrator’s license to apply or get into the pool?

No, an administrator’s license is not required to apply. If a candidate is selected for an assistant principal or principal position during the regular hiring cycle to start the new position in August, s/he will be eligible to participate in DPS’ Denver Lead Today (DLT) program ( If someone without a license is hired, s/he will have to complete licensure through DLT. Anyone who applies to the pool without an administrator’s license should be made aware of this commitment and if the candidate does not hold an active teacher’s license for 3 years or more, s/he will need to be in DLT for 3 years. Candidates in need of alternative licensing through DLT will not be eligible for hire into a licensed position until the start of the school year. If you have any questions on this please contact Lead in Denver at or 720-423-3378.

Q: I have submitted my application, but now I can’t upload my supporting documents. Do I need to withdraw my application or how do I proceed?

Once you have submitted your application, you will not be able to upload any documents. In this case, please send your supporting documents to

Q: Can I use my cover letter from last year? To whom do I address the cover letter?

Yes, you can use an old cover letter if it addresses the same questions. We would recommend that you update it to reflect your most recent achievements and/or experience. Please address your cover letter to Denver Public Schools: Human Resources Department.

Q: I am currently working for a charter school in partnership with Denver Public Schools, do I apply as an internal or external?

You would have to apply as an external applicant.

Q: What is the turnaround time to be contacted after submitting an application for the AP and Principal pools?

On average, you will be contacted within 2 weeks after submitting your application, if you are eligible to schedule a pool interview. We will also let you know if you did not pass the first review. After you have interviewed for the pool, you should hear back within 3 – 4 business days.

Q: If I do not have my license yet or only have an out-of-state license, how do I transfer that over?

If you have an out-of-state principal license and/or do not have a current Colorado principal license please visit the CDE website ( You will see what you will need to start the process to transfer your current license to the state of Colorado or enroll into an alternative licensing program, if you are hired for a school leadership role with DPS.

Q: I am interested in school leadership pathways program with DPS, where can I find more information?

Q: I live out of state and am unable to fly in for the initial interview, can I still make it into the pool?

Yes, you can still interview for the pool even if you are unable to fly in for any of the screening events. The selection team conducts Skype/FaceTime interviews for candidates who do not reside in CO, but we highly recommend that candidates interview in person for the initial screening.

Q: Can I apply to be in the principal pool as well or will I need to be an Assistant Principal, first and go through one of the LEAD programs like Learn to Lead?

Generally, DPS does not interview principal candidates who have not been assistant principals first. You don’t necessarily need to go through a LEAD program before being an AP if you have an administrator’s license.

Q: Where can I find benefits and compensation information for school leadership roles in DPS?

Q: I am interested in a specific school position. How may I apply just to that?

DPS utilizes a pool process for assistant principal and principal applications. To apply for specific school vacancies, candidates must first apply to our central screening process and screen into the candidate pool. To apply to the pool, please select on the appropriate link:

Q: I am a current DPS Assistant Principal or Principal interested in transferring to a different DPS school as an AP/Principal; do I need to apply to the pool?

Yes, all candidates are required to apply to the pool and an approval is needed from your Instructional Superintendent before you can apply to the school specific vacancies.

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