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Selection Criteria Start with Why

selection criteria in education start with why

Start your selection criteria response with why.


For a promotional role as a Head of Department/Head Teacher, you want to open with 'why', not the how. I do not mean, share your why, but rather, why did you started this journey that has become a leadership story for you.


Simon Sinek' s 'Start with Why - How Great Leaders Inspire Action' is over 10 years old and has 8 million of views on YouTube. Simon shares how to bring customers and team members on board with a dream by sharing why they exist rather than focusing on what they exist for.

Selection Crtiera 'Why'


When starting with STAR model or any other model (blog here about that), you need to be aware of why you are doing what you are doing aka the Scenario. Here are some prompt questions to potentially bring into your opening paragraph of your selection criteria response.


  • Why is it urgent to solve?
  • What data says this is a problem?
  • Why is it timely to solve now?
  • What bought around this urgency to solve it now?
  • Where does it align to your national priorities?
  • What about your state’s priorities?
  • Does it link to your school improvement plan?

A common question I see for aspiring leaders is, "What if it wasn't my idea?"

As teachers are busy in the classroom, we are not aware the data and issues that the executive leadership team are. That's why there are different roles, levels of responsibility and pay for the people involved in a school. When an issue arises, the leadership team may decide a staff member needs to come on board to do the work. There could be an EOI or, most commonly, you are tapped on the shoulder and asked to join/lead a solution to the problem.


Even if it was not your idea, you were the person who was asked or successfully applied for the role. It now becomes your why. Claim it, own it, and don't start your opening paragraph with, "I was asked to start ...".


You could start with the following:

  • During a review of x, it was decided that ....
  • As an integral/foundation member of the x committee, I was responsible for...
  • As part of a plan to solve x, I was responsible for...


Your opening selection criteria why

Ensure your opening why is compelling.

Show why you were doing this project.

Bring in the alignment to your educational ecosystem’s priorities and documents.


If you would like a copy of the STAR model, you can sign up to access the Resource Library for Aspiring Leaders. It is my growing library of resources to accompany my blogs and trainings.