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Student Teachers Practice Virtual Interviews with K-12 School Leaders

photo of principal conducting mock interviews with student teachers using Zoom
Paul Richardson, administrative dean at Yates Elementary in Lexington, conducts a virtual mock interview with UK student teachers

Student teachers at the University of Kentucky College of Education are putting finishing touches on their resumes and setting their sights on teaching positions for the fall. This year’s job interviews may be happening virtually, as most of the U.S. is under stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help students prepare, 15 principals and school leaders from Fayette County Public Schools volunteered to provide an interviewing and hiring seminar via Zoom for students in the elementary education program. The seminar is an annual rite of passage for student teachers, but this was the first time it did not take place in a face-to-face setting. After an initial chat, students broke into Zoom groups for mock interviews.

“You all are helping us, too, because this may very well be the way we do interviews this summer, so this is good practice for us,” Wellington Elementary Principal Julie Strange told the students.

Traditionally, on mock-interview day, student teachers meet with school leaders on the UK campus or at a local school. They hear from district hiring officials, then break into small groups for mock interviews with

photo of principal Julie Strange
Wellington Elementary Principal Julie Strange

principals and other leaders, such as administrative deans.

“Principals and school leaders are busier than ever right now. Schools are facing challenges never seen before, and they are stepping up to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. The fact that 15 leaders from Fayette County took time to talk with our student teachers meant a lot about their dedication to helping the next generation of educators,” said Joni Meade,

a clinical instructor who works with elementary education student teachers.

Deep Springs Elementary Principal Adam Kirk and Melissa McDaniel, the Deep Springs Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES) coach, encouraged students to be themselves in interviews.

“It is important to show us who you are as a teacher,” Kirk said.

Several principals stressed that students should do their research when applying to schools.

photo of Shamiah Ford
Coventry Oak Elementary Principal Shamiah Ford

“You are interviewing us, too, to find the perfect fit for your first teaching job,” Coventry Oak Elementary Principal Shamiah Ford told students.

The school leaders covered topics the students may be asked about in interviews, such as how they will plan their lessons.

“Remember that it all starts with the standards. You cannot go wrong in your instruction if you know the standards you are teaching,” said Meredith Ramage, principal of Northern Elementary.

Virtual mock interviews are only the latest twist UK students and professors have navigated in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic. They have moved student teaching online and created modules to help student teachers gain helpful skills, such as Google certifications.

Fayette County School leaders who volunteered to help students practice for job interviews included:

Adam Kirk, principal of Deep Springs Elementary

Melissa McDaniel, Deep Springs Elementary PGES Coach

Matt Marsh, principal of Sandersville Elementary

Matt Noblin, Sandersville Elementary PGES Coach

Michael Price, principal of Breckinridge Elementary

Robin Steiner, principal of Dixie Elementary

Josh Williams, principal of Brenda Cowan Elementary

Liz Rogers, Yates Elementary PGES Coach

Paul Richardson, Yates Elementary Administrative Dean

Joey Sheroan, principal of Garden Springs Elementary

Ben Vanderhorst, Garden Springs Elementary PGES Coach

Jill Hill, principal of Cassidy Elementary

Julie Strange, principal of Wellington Elementary

Meredith Ramage, principal of Northern Elementary

Shamiah Ford, principal of Coventry Oak Elementary


To learn more about becoming a teacher at the UK College of Education, visit education.uky.edu.