Assistant Director of Schools
The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools is home to the youngest members of the world-class University of Chicago’s academic community. For over a century, the University of Chicago Lab Schools has been celebrated as one of the finest schools in the nation providing an optimal educational experience for 2,100 students in Nursery-3 through grade 12. The Lab Schools seek a mission-driven, experienced, and forward-thinking leader to serve as Assistant Director of Schools.
The Assistant Director reports to the Director of the Laboratory Schools and shares oversight of the entire school with the Director, with specific responsibility for internal and academic affairs. The Assistant Director represents the Director when necessary at any and all events. The position will touch on many aspects of school operations, including school-wide programming, faculty professional development, University and community relations, labor relations, and all-school curriculum coordination and development. The Assistant Director will provide mentorship and support for the schools' Principals and will work in coordination with the Senior Leadership Team, the Director, Human Resources, and Faculty Association on school-wide matters at the request of the Director. This is a full-time, year-round administrative appointment, beginning July 1, 2018.
Supervision: In collaboration with the Director, the Assistant Director provides ongoing leadership, guidance, support, and feedback to the Principals and other members of the Senior Leadership team, as well as strategic planning for their departments/divisions and on-time problem solving.
Academic Leadership and Oversight of the Academic Program: Together with the Director and Principals, the Assistant Director is responsible for aligning, maintaining, and supervising the Schools’ academic program.
Recruitment, Hiring, and Retention: The Assistant Director is responsible for the organization and supervision of the recruitment and hiring for all academic positions.
Professional Development: The Assistant Director manages the Schools’ professional development budget and is responsible for all school-wide professional development, including on-campus PD full and half days as well as oversight of all professional development requests. The Assistant Director is responsible for developing a peer orientation and active research program.
University, Local, and Global Partnerships: The Assistant Director will foster programs that leverage University resources for the benefit of the Lab community, and will guide programs that contribute to the University, city of Chicago, and international partners.
The Assistant Director will also:
- Maintain congruence among the Schools’ mission, core values, and core beliefs and all activities across the Schools’ divisions.
- Track and support accreditation requirements and other state and federal regulations.
- Support the Principals in providing instructional and organizational leadership.
- Develop, maintain, and improve the Laboratory Schools' educational and faculty development programs, including supervision of teachers on special assignment.
- In partnership with the Principals, coordinate and review all-school curriculum and pedagogy and student services for students with learning differences/disabilities.
- Provide leadership and guidance to department chairs and others involved in the review, revision, implementation, and coordination of all-school curriculum within and between departments.
- Oversee the activities and program for professional development including new faculty mentorship program, the professional growth program for veteran teachers, continuing education, and summer workshops.
- Participate on the Diversity Advisory Committee to ensure that the Schools' commitment to diversity is reflected in educational programs and activities.
- Facilitate the development and coordination of academic and co-curricular partnerships with University divisions, departments, charter schools, and other community agencies to enrich teaching and learning and ensure that the Schools are meaningfully engaged with the communities in which we work and live.
- Ensure proper allocation of faculty staffing across all Schools and help to balance workloads for those who teach in more than one division. Proactively analyze faculty staffing needs and work with the internal budget committee on hiring plans to support appropriate levels of staffing.
- Partner with the Director, Human Resources, to manage the relationship with the Faculty Association on matters related to the all-school educational program impact on the collective bargaining agreement, and on other matters at the request of the Director of the Laboratory Schools.
- Provide mentorship and support to the Principals and coordinate the weekly meeting of the Principals' group. Attend the weekly meeting of the Senior Leadership Team to facilitate communication and the establishment of shared priorities.
- Ability to be agile and flexible.
- Ability to interact with a diverse group of faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni.
- Ability to be a champion of issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in support of healthy, supportive relationships between community members.
- Knowledge of instructional methodologies.
- Strong knowledge of child development.
- Analytical skills.
- Problem-solving skills.
- Decision-making skills.
- Attention to detail.
- Organizational skills.
- Computational skills including data analysis and presentation.
- Outstanding verbal and written communication skills.
- Interpersonal skills.
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
- Ability to manage stressful situations.
- Ability to maintain confidentiality.
- Ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously, set priorities, and meet deadlines.
- An entrepreneurial spirit, the capacity to think strategically.
- Ability to successfully navigate and lead diverse and non-diverse communities.
Confidence: Lab Schools attract highly intellectual faculty and serve the children of the University of Chicago faculty. Qualified candidates will thrive in an environment that asks its constituents to make persuasive arguments and listen to others without defensiveness. Qualified candidates will take the initiative to make connections and understand the culture of the Schools.
Resilience: Lab Schools value direct communication. Qualified candidates will appreciate receiving honest feedback.
Curiosity: Qualified candidates will bring an anthropologist’s sensibilities to the job, seeking to understand, honor, as well as challenge the well-established norms at Lab. Qualified candidates will seek out relationships with established leaders and learn quickly to access information about the Schools. Candidates will welcome expanding connections to the university and community.
Sensitivity to school cultures: Lab Schools celebrate the life of the mind. Strong candidates will understand the need to consult other leaders and faculty in order to understand the history of the Schools and the faculty culture.
Ability to navigate complexity and ambiguity: Given the size and complexity of the Lab Schools, the Assistant Director will need to be comfortable working closely with the Director in an evolving role that will be shaped by unpredictable day-to-day events as well as long-term strategic goals of the Schools.
Education, Experience, and Certifications
- Master’s degree in Education or related field required.
- At least 10 years of teaching experience required, preferably at different age levels.
- At least five years of administrative experience required, preferably in independent schools.
- Significant experience in creating, implementing, managing, and assessing educational programs.
- Experience leading, developing, and managing change management initiatives.
- Experience working with a unionized faculty covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
- Demonstrated interest in and experience with issues of diversity.
- Experience working with a wide range of students with diverse backgrounds such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, learning abilities, class, language, and nationality.
- Ability to use standard productivity software (Microsoft Office, calendar/schedule software, etc.) required.
Interested and qualified candidates should submit electronically in one email and as separate documents (preferably PDFs) the following materials:
- A cover letter expressing their interest in this particular position
- A current résumé
- A one-page statement of educational philosophy and practice
A list of five (5) professional references with name, phone number, and email address of each (references will not be contacted without the candidate’s permission) to: