Are you ready to move into a new ed leadership role in 2019? Your mission—should you choose to accept it—is to rise above the competition and land multiple offers for your next-level instructional leadership role, so you can fulfill your professional calling and have a greater impact on student learning.

Winning the Three Tournaments

The key to rising above other candidates—even internal candidates with more experience—is to win The Three Tournaments:

  1. The application screening tournament
  2. The interview tournament
  3. The reference check tournament

The Three Tournaments are won by those who start preparing their application assets now.

Unlike professional athletes who devote themselves to training in the off-season, most admin job candidates squander the months leading up to hiring season.

How can you best use this time?

First, take your résumé and cover letter from “rough draft” to “world class” by starting with our templates, then revising and refining with Dr. Justin Baeder's expert support.

I got my Principal role after your Ascend trainings and reworking my résumé. It was a turnaround situation and my Dream principal job! I should also add that I knew no one in the organization!

—C., Principal

Second, start preparing for interviews by practicing in our live sessions and on video using our practice interview questions, and start formulating the key leadership stories you'll use to show—not just tell—why you're the best candidate for the job.

Third, identify your key references, and enlist their support now—not at the last minute when you need a letter of recommendation. Use our scripts to make the ask without awkwardness, so you get high-quality letters that send all the right messages, without any of the common “red flags” that make reviewers put applications in the “no” pile.

The World's Best Part-Time Job

Unless you've already been hand-picked for your next ed leadership role, the admin job search is work.

Just as students can't wait until finals week to start studying, you can't wait until jobs are posted to begin working on your résumé, cover letter, and references—there's simply not time to do this work well if you wait until hiring season is in full swing.

The good news is that you can begin this work now, before jobs are posted, and gain the upper hand in the job search. It'll be some of the most lucrative work you've ever done—think of it as the world's best part-time job.

When else will you have the chance to do work that will make a permanent difference in your salary?

But it's not just about the money. Whether your next role will pay the same, or whether you'll earn $5,000, $10,000, $30,000, or even $50,000 more per year, what really counts is the opportunity to lead at the next level and make the impact on student learning that you know you're ready to make.

Ascend Now Intensive

When you register for the Ascend Now Intensive, you'll immediately begin working with Dr. Baeder so you can make rapid progress on your application materials and interview prep. In just a few short weeks, you'll be ready for hiring season—even if you can't devote very much time to the process in any given week.

We've broken down the key actions to take week by week and step by step, so you're never overwhelmed and always making progress.

By taking deliberate steps each week, you'll stay on track and find yourself miles ahead of the competition when you start applying for jobs.

By the time your dream job is posted, you'll have three key application assets in place: your résumé, cover letter, and recommendations….

But first, you'll work directly with program facilitator Justin Baeder to identify your instructional leadership superpowers. 

The “Instructional Leadership Superpowers” Interview™

We'll kick off the program by identifying your ideal next-level leadership role, then conducting a strengths-based interview to discover what you should be highlighting in your applications.

The best leaders are often very humble by nature, which can make it easy to undersell yourself. You have personality traits, skills, and experience that make you a perfect fit for a school that will have an opening in 2019—and it's your job to make the case that you're the right person for the job.

So before you write a word, you'll get Dr. Justin Baeder's feedback on precisely what makes you shine, in a live, video-based “Instructional Leadership Superpowers” Interview™. Then, you'll be ready to turn the superpowers you've identified into world-class application materials. 

Build The Ultimate Résumé with the Experience Matrix™

Your résumé is the best place for reviewers to quickly gain a sense of your experience and accomplishments. By organizing your résumé in an easy-to-skim format, you can quickly highlight your most relevant qualifications.

It's not about cramming in everything you've ever done—it's about making the right experience jump out at the reviewer, so you land in the “yes” pile.

We'll work together to develop your Experience Matrix™—your key accomplishments and experience from each role you've held—so your résumé is free of fluff and full of high-impact evidence that you're the right person for the job.

Whether you're starting from scratch or struggling to whittle down a bloated résumé, you'll walk away from the Intensive with a crystal-clear, concise résumé that perfectly positions you as the ideal candidate. 

Craft Your “Perfect Fit Argument” Cover Letter

Your cover letter is your single best opportunity to make the case that you're the perfect fit for the job.

But too many applicants treat the cover letter as a formality:

“To Whom It May Concern: I am interested in this job. Please interview me.”

Even if they take a full page to say it, that's all most cover letters say—wasting the opportunity to craft a tightly constructed argument that you—not their internal candidate, and not the applicant with more experience—are the one they're looking for.

In the Ascend Now Intensive, you'll work directly with Dr. Justin Baeder—who landed his first admin job as an external candidate thanks to a strong cover letter—to craft a “Perfect Fit Argument” for each of the roles you'll be applying for.

Drawing on your Instructional Leadership Superpowers Interview and Experience Matrix, you'll use specific evidence to write a tightly constructed argument that you're the best candidate for the job—even if you're up against candidates who have more experience or connections in the district. 

You helped me COMPLETELY revamp my cover letter. I beat out three highly qualified internal candidates and might not have gotten a look without that letter.

—Jeff, Assistant Principal

Line Up Stellar Recommendations

The final application asset you'll assemble is your references and recommendation letters. References that are “available upon request” are useless if you aren't already a finalist.

In Ascend Now, you'll enlist the support of your references now, while there's still plenty of time to get recommendation letters and address any concerns your references may have—such as areas where you could seek out additional experience on the job this year.

Most people wait until the last minute to line up their references, so they struggle to get more than a handful of first-draft recommendation letters—and it shows. It's hard for reviewers to tell the difference between a last-minute letter written for a great candidate, and an honest letter written for a mediocre candidate.

If you start engaging your references now, you'll end up with strong recommendation letters that convey full confidence in your leadership—not just sending the message that you're fine, but actually making the argument for you—the argument that you're the ideal candidate.

We'll even run your draft recommendation letters through our proprietary “red flag rubric” to make sure your references aren't accidentally (or intentionally!) sabotaging you with “hidden between the lines” messages that reviewers will notice. 

I am receiving the extra letters of recommendation I asked for and just read the most recent one, which brought me to tears. To think I would not have asked for others had you not suggested that we have 10 of them—and I would not have received the best letter of recommendations I have ever gotten.

—Instructional Coach


Because this is a hands-on “done with you” program for people who are serious about taking their leadership to the next level, it's not for people who intend to sit on the sidelines in 2019. It's for leaders who are ready to ascend.

It's also not a program that will sit on your hard drive or a book that will sit on your shelf—you'll finish the program with your key application assets in place, so you're ready to pounce on each job opening you see in 2019.

The registration fee is one payment of $2388, or 12 monthly payments of $199.

By committing yourself to this work now, you'll save yourself a year or more of waiting for the perfect job to fall in your lap. By preparing yourself to win the Three Tournaments, you'll take the fast track to the ed leadership job you're seeking.

Just got hired as an elementary principal in a 4-6 grade elementary. Thank you for your help and support over these last years. It's been a slog but I've finally landed my first principal position!

—Jennifer, Elementary Principal

About Your Coach

Justin Baeder, PhD is Director of The Principal Center, and has been a full-time author and consultant since 2012.

Prior to starting The Principal Center, he was a principal in Seattle Public Schools, hired at the age of 26 after a two-year stint as “head teacher” (dean of students) at another elementary school.

He began his career as a middle school science teacher, and became interested in school leadership after taking on teacher leadership roles including department head and coordinator of a school-wide behavior support program.

Dr. Baeder attributes his success in the admin job search—as an external candidate—to the quality of his applications. In this program, you'll work directly with Dr. Baeder to craft application materials that will land you in the “yes” pile, so the interviews and offers come rolling in. 

Bonus: Practice Interviews

As you complete each of your key application assets, you'll unlock three bonus practice interviews, so you're ready for the next phase of the process.

Dr. Baeder's hourly rate for consulting is $750, which gives this bonus a real-world value of $2,250. 

I interviewed at a school where I already worked, and my principal was amazed at the confidence I projected during my interview, especially since it was my first admin interview. I did get the job, by the way. I also used what I learned to interview for my first principal job, and I got that job too.

—Jennifer, Principal

Bonus: Lifetime Instructional Leadership Association Membership

At The Principal Center, we're here to support you throughout your career as an instructional leader. Our mission is to help school leaders confidently get into classrooms every day, have feedback conversations that change teacher practice, and identify their best opportunities for school improvement.

When you join the Ascend Now Intensive, you'll get a lifetime membership to our core membership program, the Instructional Leadership Association ($2,280 value). The Association includes exclusive access to our feedback app, Repertoire, as well as all of our new webinars and members-only trainings for instructional leaders.

We'll also send you a hardcopy of the Ascend Leadership Journal, as well as Dr. Baeder's book Now We're Talking! 21 Days to High-Performance Instructional Leadership—plus the audiobook (coming in December 2018).

Bonus: Full Ascend Masterclass, coming in early 2019

We're also developing a “do it yourself” video-based Ascend Masterclass, which will be priced at $2,388 and released in early 2019. This program will include all of the same strategies you'll learn in the Ascend Now Intensive, but without 1:1 support.

The Ascend Masterclass will guide you through the entire application and interview process, so you can land multiple offers for your ideal next-level leadership role.

The Ascend Masterclass is included with the Ascend Now Intensive at no additional charge. 

I just wanted to thank you SO much for helping me get the job of my dreams. I was just offered the most perfect Principal job today and of course I accepted it.

 —C, Principal


What does this program include?

  • Superpower interview with Dr. Justin Baeder
  • 7th-draft revision support for your résumé
  • 7th-draft revision support for your cover letter
  • “Red flag rubric” review of recommendation letters
  • BONUS: Practice Interviews ($2,250 value)
  • BONUS: Lifetime Instructional Leadership Association membership + Repertoire feedback app access ($2,280 value)
  • BONUS: Ascend Masterclass (coming in 2019—$2,388 value)
  • Total value: $9,306 for just one payment of $2,388 or 12 payments of $199
  • How do I register?

    Sign up here, and select either the single-payment or monthly payments option.

    Will you continue to support me after the program is over?

    Yes, you'll get full access to the Ascend Masterclass in 2019, and we'll continue to support you as you revise your application materials for specific job openings.

    Can I join the Masterclass in January instead?

    Yes, you can…if you want to pay the same price and miss out on weeks of direct support from Dr. Baeder. This is your one opportunity to get individual feedback and gain a head start on your application assets while your competition is waiting for the first jobs to be posted. You'll get the 2019 Masterclass at no additional charge when you register today. 

    What if I have other questions?

    You can use the live chat button on this page, and we'll get right back to you, or give us a call directly at 1-800-861-5172 or email [email protected]

    I applied and followed your advice for interviewing. I had my stories set for any question they had for me. I found out that I was in the top 5 candidates, and have secured an Academy Principal at our STEM High School for next year! I’m extremely excited! Thank you so much for the advice and guidance. I’m looking forward to continuing learning from you as I begin my new adventures!

     —Jen, High School Academy Principal

    I'm glad to report I got hired after my 4th interview. Thank you so very much for all your words of wisdom and helping me prepare. You are greatly appreciated and needed!