Head of Intermediate and Middle Schools
Begins July 1, 2021
Francis W. Parker School is seeking a dynamic progressive education leader with strong administrative experience and demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion to be our next Head of Intermediate and Middle Schools.
About Francis W. Parker School
Francis W. Parker School is a renowned JK-12th grade progressive independent Chicago day school. Founded in 1901, the school currently enrolls 935 students and employs 200 dedicated faculty and staff members who, in addition to assistant teachers, substitute teachers and coaches, work together to ensure that the School lives up to its Mission to “educate students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse, democratic society and global community.” Learn more about our history and educational philosophy, The Three Pillars of Parker here.
The Exceptional Opportunity
Reporting directly to the Principal, the Head of the Intermediate and Middle Schools is responsible for overseeing all activities involving students, teachers and parents in the Intermediate (Grades 4-5) and Middle (Grades 6-8) School. They will work in close collaboration with faculty, staff, parents, other division heads and members of the administrative team.
Setting the Tone
- In close collaboration with the Principal, uphold Parker’s Mission and Diversity Statements in the Intermediate and Middle Schools.
- Act as the educational leader of the Intermediate and Middle Schools, responsible for its day-to-day operation; direct the activities of the faculty and staff in their duties and teaching and professional growth (in collaboration with Department Chairs); all communications as they pertain to the Intermediate and Middle Schools in a creative and collaborative manner.
- Act as the chief articulator in writing and public speaking of the Intermediate and Middle Schools programs, philosophy, expectations, behavioral guidelines, and other information to ensure that all constituencies are fully informed consistent with their individual roles.
- Provide an orderly environment in which learning can take place; foster a climate that reflects the school’s core values, is nurturing, supportive, and purposeful, and that promotes positive morale.
- Be aware of the educational, physical, social, and psychological needs of the students in the Intermediate and Middle Schools, and develop plans for meeting those needs.
- Be a visible presence in all areas of the school; work toward a resolution of all problems – both routine and unique – as they arise; keep the Principal informed of general programs, activities, and issues.
- Speak at various committee meetings, admission events, and, when requested by the Principal, at Board meetings, and represent the Intermediate and Middle Schools at school events such as games, plays, and other student events.
- Communicate Intermediate and Middle School successes, challenges and needs to the Board of Trustees of the School as requested by the Principal.
The Faculty and Staff
- Lead and manage the process of all searches for employees within the division, collaborating with the Director of Human Resources, Department Chairs, Directors of Studies, Team Leaders and others, and recommending new hires to the Principal, as well as the retention and assignment of faculty.
- Actively seek to recruit and hire a more diverse faculty and staff, and to retain faculty and staff from under-represented groups by supporting them and including them in the creation of the school’s programming and culture.
- Nurture and sustain a divisional school climate for faculty and staff that is respectful, supportive, inclusive, kind, reflective, curious, flexible, open-minded (with a growth mindset), culturally competent and optimistic.
- Observe, supervise, and evaluate all divisional faculty and staff within the school’s collaborative systems and structures for that purpose.
- In keeping with the school’s progressive philosophy, mission and most recent strategic plan, the division head collaborates with faculty and staff to set team and divisional goals for professional growth, and approves funding for professional development experiences.
- Lead the Middle School Leadership Team, supporting and mentoring leadership in Parker’s grade-level team leaders, the Dean of Student Life and Middle School Counselor.
- Supervise/evaluate, mentor, and collaborate with the Intermediate and Middle School Dean of Student Life in planning and sustaining all non-athletic clubs, activities, and ally and affinity groups; in managing all student retreats and travel; in planning and managing a summer bridge orientation program for new middle school students and their parents; in tracking student engagement levels in school activities and identifying opportunities to be more inclusive and equitable; and in preparing to administer the division anytime the division head is off-campus.
- Work with the faculty and appropriate administrative and support staff colleagues and administrative colleagues regarding the support and retention of students and families.
- Prepare a master class schedule in coordination with other Division Heads for the Intermediate and Middle Schools and assign teachers and students to classes and other obligations.
- Serve as a consultant to teachers in matters of classroom management, teaching methods, and general school procedures.
- Work with Division Heads and the Principal to oversee and direct Department Chairs to ensure that the school’s mission is articulated through school goals, departmental goals, course objectives, materials, methods and means of assessment.
- Establish programs for the orientation of new teachers, in-service training of all teachers, and evaluation of classroom teachers, to ensure that teachers are familiar with and adhere to school policies, mission, and commitment to diversity in all areas of school operation.
- Working with Department Chairs and other faculty, ensure that the Intermediate and Middle School curricula reflect diverse experiences, opinions, ideas, interests, and identities as called for by the School’s Diversity Statement.
- Set agenda and conduct regular meetings with the faculty that deal both with routine school matters and with the stimulating exchange of ideas on issues of educational/philosophical interest and concern.
- Collaborate closely with teachers, advisors, counselors, and the Dean to support the healthy social-emotional growth and well-being of all students in the division.
- Provide for the academic guidance of Intermediate and Middle School students; supervise, evaluate and support the divisional Coordinator and Registrar in maintaining complete academic records on all students; oversee the grading and reporting of standards and methods used by teachers in measuring student achievement.
- Work with faculty to determine, communicate, and uphold the student code of conduct by establishing guidelines for proper student conduct; maintain student discipline consistent with school policies in the Handbook; monitor students’ adherence to established school rules; with the divisional Coordinator, maintain accurate records of student attendance and citizenship.
- Assist in the admission process for testing, interviewing, and evaluation of applicants for enrollment with the school’s mission and diversity statements in mind, and engage in open house and other outreach programs to the public as leader of the division.
- Actively work toward the admission of students from groups who are under-represented in the school community.
- Work in conjunction with the faculty program manager and divisional Coordinator to supervise all aspects of the Middle School community engagement program, including, but not limited to: approving sites, coordinating transportation, assigning students to projects, and working with parent volunteers.
- Maintain timely and relevant communication with parents and facilitate faculty communication with parents regarding special events, divisional news, and developmental insights (including the latest research) relevant to caring for children in grades four through eight.
- Organize and speak at annual parent education meetings for each grade in the Intermediate and Middle Schools to discuss developmental issues that are timely and relevant for each age group, including brain research, cultural competency and social-emotional learning, serving as a resource for advice on child development.
- Coordinate and supervise the work of parent grade chairs and volunteers in the Intermediate and Middle Schools.
- Counsel parents about the joys and travails of parenting Intermediate and Middle School students, sharing resources from professional development work faculty/staff have engaged in when relevant, so that common vocabulary and approaches emerge among parents and school personnel.
Other Administrative Responsibilities
- Serve on the school’s Administrative Team, coordinating work with all division heads and department chairs of the school, representing the division’s needs and challenges to the whole, supporting the work of administrative colleagues, and contributing to schoolwide decision-making as requested by the Principal.
- Keep the Director of Human Resources and Principal informed of (and seek their counsel on) personnel issues with implications for the school’s Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Faculty Association; violations of school policies detailed in the Faculty/Staff Handbook or of local, state, or federal laws; faculty recommended for the formal remediation process or non-renewal of a contract.
- Oversee the budget and expenditures for the Intermediate and Middle Schools.
- Ensure compliance with legal requirements of government regulations and agencies; maintain the educational standards established by the State of Illinois and by those agencies that examine and accredit the School.
- Perform other duties as assigned by the Principal.
Qualifications and Requirements:
Education and Experience
- Master’s degree required, preferably in a related field of study.
- Minimum of five (5) years of relevant experience at an administrative level.
- Proven record of success as a teacher and instructional leader of Intermediate and Middle School-aged students.
- Understanding of, experience with, and commitment to progressive educational values, tenets and approaches within and beyond the classroom.
- Experience in and commitment to growing one’s own cultural competency and supporting others seeking to develop their own practices in equity and inclusion.
Additionally, the ideal candidate will have a proven track record of success in the following areas:
Progressive Education for Intermediate and Middle School Students
An in-depth understanding of the developmental needs, opportunities and challenges of students in the late-childhood stage of human development (Intermediate School) and the early stages of adolescence (Middle School) is essential, as is an understanding of and commitment to progressive educational values, approaches and pedagogy. Experience in and a genuine commitment to developing one’s own cultural competency–modeling an ongoing reflective search for greater levels of diversity, equity and inclusion in one’s individual practice and for the community—are also essential.
Supervisory experience, including budgeting, hiring, faculty and staff evaluation, mentoring, team-building skills.
Cultural Competency / Commitment to Diversity
Experience in and a commitment to developing one’s own cultural competency and seeking continually greater levels of diversity, equity and inclusion in all practices.
A strong commitment to foster an inclusive and diverse learning environment that cultivates an awareness of and sensitivity regarding differences including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation, as noted in the school’s Diversity Statement.
Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including technological proficiency, and demonstrated success in working collaboratively and flexibly with colleagues, staff, parents, volunteers, and the surrounding community. Knowing how to establish and sustain transparent, trusting, and mutually-respectful relationships so that the division head can communicate even difficult truths when needed is required. Listening for understanding, encouraging divergent viewpoints in the decision-making process, open-mindedness, and communicating in an inclusive, equitable manner are essential characteristics.
Francis W. Parker School is committed to attracting and retaining top educators and administrators by offering a comprehensive compensation plan including competitive salary, retirement benefits including a generous match, full medical/dental coverage and wellness plans. Individual salary is commensurate with experience. See a more comprehensive list of Francis W. Parker School benefits and perks here.
Please submit cover letter with resume by email or fax to (no telephone inquiries please):
Laureen Sweers, Director of Human Resources
Francis W. Parker School
330 W. Webster Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
The faculty, staff and administration of Francis W. Parker School are integral parts of the School’s community. Through their passion, dedication and commitment to the School’s mission, they create and support an environment where exceptional child-centered learning can occur.
Francis W. Parker School is committed to cultivating a community of dedicated students, parents, faculty and staff, trustees, administrators and alumni, who acknowledge, respect, and esteem diversity in our school; and who reflect, through their presence, the diversity of Chicago communities and the wider world.
Francis W. Parker School is an equal opportunity employer.
Click here for a PDF of the Position Statement