Head of School
DC Scholars is seeking a dynamic, experienced, and inspiring instructional leader who will be responsible for ensuring that DC Scholars lives up to its promise to provide all students with a high-quality, rigorous educational experience. The Head of School will build on the efforts currently underway to ensure that we are consistently aligning our work with our mission and vision while providing the right level of focus, leadership, and direction to improve and strengthen outcomes. As such, the Head of School leverages the existing systems and structures and works with School Leadership to focus on DC Scholars’ priorities in service of increased student achievement. The Head of School will lead DC Scholars to more ambitious student performance outcomes, a stronger adult and student culture, organizational stability, and a more unified and collaborative school environment.
The Head of School reports to the Board of Trustees and will directly supervise the DC Scholars’ Director Team, including principals and academics, operations, talent, student support and data functions. The Interim Head of School will provide some onboarding support within the first few months to facilitate a smooth transition.
The new Head of School will be expected to focus on the following priorities during the first year:
Clarify key initiatives of focus for School Year 20-21 to strengthen the school’s culture and academic vision; create an environment conducive to excellent teaching and learning that builds on the foundation previously set forth;
Continue the work of building a culture of reflection, collaboration, and accountability and ensure there is a “DC Scholars way” for staff and students that is consistent across the school and that translates to academic growth and achievement;
Ensure that structures in place serve to improve the development and retention of teachers, staff, and leaders that DC Scholars desires to retain;
Work closely with the Director Team to ensure that DC Scholars is prepared for its 10th year charter renewal in 2021 in terms of processes and student outcomes.
The Head of School serves as the primary leader of DC Scholars by maintaining an organizational vision and strategy and ensuring that the school meets/exceeds performance outcomes for the scholars and the community it serves. The Head of School will be expected to work closely with the
instructional, financial, talent, and operational leaders to provide staff accountability. The Head of School will also partner with parents and community members and serve as the external face of the organization. The specific responsibilities of the Head of School include:
Vision Setting and Strategic Planning
Collaborate with the Board to develop a strategic vision and implementation plan for DC Scholars to achieve its mission and to ensure the charter’s renewal with the PCSB in 2021;
Establish and implement accountability and performance measures by setting clear academic, growth, operational, and financial goals and managing towards them, adapting as necessary given changes in internal and external environments;
Engage and invest all stakeholders including staff members, community members, and financial supporters in the execution of the plan and the realization of the vision.
Team Management and Culture Building
Manage and develop a high-performing leadership team that is able to deliver transformational educational outcomes for students and provide staff with opportunities for professional growth and development;
Oversee academics, culture & family engagement, operations, finance, talent/human resources, data, and communications, taking responsibility for all major decisions;
Continue to build and support a strong, cohesive student and adult culture that leads to an aligned organizational identity across the school;
In collaboration with the leadership, codify and communicate the school’s core values, philosophy, and norms so the “DC Scholars Way” is clear and consistently practiced throughout all grade levels.
External Partnership, Engagement and Sustainability
Serve as the public face of DC Scholars and effectively communicate the school’s accomplishments;
Represent DC Scholars in district and authorizer communications;
Continue to develop a strong, engaged, and active Board in close partnership with the Board Chair;
Ensure that DC Scholars has a viable long-term financial plan and a diversified and sustainable funding base in collaboration with the board;
Lead a targeted and effective student recruitment plan in collaboration with the Director of Family Engagement to ensure the school continues to maintain full enrollment;
Oversee community partnerships and parent/family engagement on behalf of the school to ensure DC Scholars is highly regarded by the local community;
Build coalitions, relationships, and partnerships with key stakeholders in support of DC Scholars’ mission and goals.
At least ten years of professional experience, with at least five years in a role managing and leading a high-performing school(s), region, or team;
Experience working with urban schools and engaging residents of urban communities, ideally having ties to DC and/or experience working in predominately African American communities;
Strategic leadership: experience setting vision and direction and creating structures/systems that align with that vision;
Experience as a leader in a charter school or CMO that has made significant academic gains for students of color and experience bridging schools within a network preferred;
Experience with restorative justice and trauma protocols preferred;
Experience working with and/or reporting to a board of directors preferred;
Some finance/operations experience preferred (i.e. experience developing and approving budgets);
Turnaround or turnaround-like experience preferred; demonstrated evidence of improving an organizational/school culture and leading though change management preferred;
Bachelor’s degree required, advanced degree preferred.
PK-8 academic content knowledge;
Multicultural competence and the ability to lead and build culture through a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion;
Demonstrated track record of building, managing, and retaining a high-performing team and coaching through layers;
Superior relationship management skills and the ability to build relationships, motivate, and engage a diverse group of stakeholders;
Excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to create effective communication systems.
Passion for educational equity and a commitment to the mission and vision of DC Scholars;
Strong alignment with DC Scholars’ Core Values: High Bar, Passion & Persistence, Hope, Humility & Growth, and Trust;
Collaborative leadership style;
High standards of excellence for self and for others;
Evidence of well-developed emotional intelligence and empathy.
DC Scholars was founded as part of Scholar Academies in 2012. Four years later it became part of the local DC Scholars Community Schools network and soon thereafter, DC Scholars was designated as the first community school in Ward 7. While DC Scholars achieved Tier 1 status in 2016 as outlined by the DC Public Charter School Board’s Performance Management Framework, the school experienced a decline in student performance and was designated a Tier 2 school in 2017. In 2018 the Board determined that students, families, and the school would be better served by transitioning to a fully independent charter school, beginning in the 2019-20 school year. Under the leadership of our Interim Head of School in School Years 18-19 and 19-20, DC Scholars has begun the work of re-setting a vision and improving the systems and structures critical to achieving that vision.
Serving over 550 scholars in grades PK-8, 100% of DC Scholars students receive free and reduced meals and 15% receive special education services. As the first community school in Ward 7, DC Scholars provides families with a wide variety of resources to help each scholar and his/her family be successful both in and out of school. We believe that partnering with families is essential to the success and overall development of their scholars.
DC Scholars’ academic vision of excellence is to put students on the path to attend and succeed academically in high school and college. We achieve this vision through a programmatic model that focuses on creating an academic experience for all students that meets them where they are and pushes them to exceed grade level expectations. The practices and programs that support our work are as follows:
Socio-emotional learning and restorative justice practices are infused throughout all levels of the school (PK-8) to support scholars as they make progress towards academic and personal success;
Scholars are held to high expectations for engagement and learning by teaching and positively reinforcing our DC Scholars values daily;
The Early Childhood Education (ECE) program strongly supports student language and concept development with CLASS-aligned practices and play-based learning; it promotes social-emotional learning for scholars through Second Step, a socio-emotional learning program;
Utilizing the Expeditionary Learning curriculum, the elementary literacy program increases scholars’ academic ownership and ensures that scholars are excited to learn and read by providing engaging texts, assignments, and projects;
Middle school academic programming supports scholar success through rigorous curriculum, a robust tutoring program, and blended learning opportunities. Scholars are also able to engage in various extracurricular activities including sports, student government, yearbook, band and Pre-Engineering and Coding classes;
Teachers receive consistent, data-driven development through weekly coaching and professional development opportunities differentiated to meet their various needs and help them get better, faster;
Our schedule is prioritized such that every scholar receives both grade-level Tier 1 and differentiated Tier 2 instruction daily in order to develop their standards-based mastery and increase their reading and math ability levels.
How to Apply:
If you are interested in this opportunity, please email your resume to HeadofSchoolSearch@dcscholars.org with a subject line of “DC Scholars Head of School.”