Laboratory Schools: Assistant Director of Schools

Job description

Hyde Park Campus

11439 Lab Schools Admin & Fin Aid

About the Unit
The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools provide one of the world's most outstanding pre-collegiate educational experiences. Because Lab is part of the University of Chicago, the importance of intellectual life—of thought and exploration—infuses all aspects of our curriculum, and students in every grade benefit from outstanding UChicago academicians and access to unmatched resources. John Dewey—one of the great minds in education—established the Schools in 1896 as a place to explore and implement his theories on childhood education. Today's students still benefit from his vision, and today's Lab faculty are recognized as experienced leaders in their field. Families who choose Lab care deeply about curiosity, inquiry, and creativity. Approximately 60 percent of Lab families are affiliated with the University, half live in Hyde Park, and the rest come from across Chicago, the suburbs, and northern Indiana. Lab's student body reflects the diversity that is deeply valued by the Schools and its community; approximately half of our 2,000 students are people of color and families report speaking nearly 40 different languages in their homes. The Laboratory Schools seek the finest employees—people who wish to inspire a love of learning in our students and join a vibrant learning community. We employ people with a wide range of skills and training, in many different disciplines. At Lab, we value learning experientially, exhibiting kindness, and honoring diversity. We seek employees who share a similar commitment to these values. Lab people are engaged and excited by our mission of igniting and nurturing an enduring spirit of scholarship, curiosity, creativity, and confidence in the youngest members of the University of Chicago's academic community. The Laboratory Schools is a great place to work and our connection to the University provides our faculty and staff with opportunities that would be nearly impossible to match in any other environment. Interested candidates should apply via our website at: AA/EOE Statement: The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination. Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-834-1841 or by email [email protected] with their request.

Job Information
Job Summary:

The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools seeks an experienced and forward-thinking leader who aligns with the Laboratory Schools mission: The Laboratory Schools are home to the youngest members of the University of Chicago's academic community. We ignite and nurture an enduring spirit of scholarship, curiosity, creativity, and confidence. We value learning experientially, exhibiting kindness, and honoring diversity. Candidates for this position will bring the following qualities to the Laboratory Schools:

Confidence: Lab Schools attract a 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 establish leaders and learn quickly how to access information about the school. 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 school 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.

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 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.

The Assistant Director will have the opportunity to:

Shape and implement progressive educational initiatives: The Director, a big-picture thinker, will rely on the Assistant Director as an intellectual partner, who will help prioritize, articulate, implement, and promote programs and partnerships.

Engage in strategic planning: The Labs Schools form a large and complex community. The Assistant Director will partner with the Director to develop and implement strategic priorities to shape the future of the Schools across divisions and in relationship with the University of Chicago. The Assistant Director should have outstanding project management skills to help guide and the strategic direction of the school. The Assistant director should be able to lead data and research driven reform efforts.

Partner with an exceptional leadership team: The strong leadership team comprises a deep bench of talent, intellect, and experience. The Assistant Director will serve as a thought partner and critical friend to the members of this team.

Support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusions efforts: Champion issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion in support of healthy, supportive relationships between community members.

Position the Lab Schools at the center of educational innovation: Building on the strong history of research and professional development at Lab Schools, the Assistant Director will promote outreach and develop programs that invite educators from around the country and the world to learn in partnership with Lab Schools educators.

Manage contract negotiations: Lab Schools faculty are part of a union and affiliated with the AFT. The Assistant Director will play a significant role in contract negotiations and develop a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges of working with a unionized faculty.

Honor, understand, and connect the work across divisions: The Assistant Director will support the work of the principals of each division by identifying, clarifying, and connecting academic initiatives across divisions and articulating the arch of the educational experience of Lab students.

Build trust among constituents: The Assistant Director will understand and honor the work and history of the Schools while identifying and facilitating opportunities to build relationships and improve programs across divisions.

Nurture Development of Leadership Team and Faculty: The Assistant Director will develop the skills of the leadership team by coaching and providing feedback in order to support excellence in all aspects of the teams' work and manage professional development efforts across the school.

Academic administrators are expected to build deep relationships with students, families, faculty, staff and alumni to foster a richness of community. We are looking for team members who will emanate optimism, solve problems collaboratively, reflect on how actions impact others, create an engaging and inclusive school culture, and share in the united pursuit of Lab's mission.


  • Supervision: In collaboration with the Director, provide 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, align, maintain, and supervise the schools' academic program.
  • Recruitment, Hiring, and Retention: In partnership with the Director, Human Resources, organize and supervise of the recruitment and hiring process for all academic positions.
  • Professional Development: Manages the schools' professional development budget and is responsible for all school-wide professional development including on-campus professional development full and half days as well as oversight of all professional development requests. The position is responsible for developing a peer orientation and active research program.
  • University, Local, and Global Partnerships: 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 internationally.
  • Maintain congruence between the School's 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 the 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-schools 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.
  • Ensuring proper allocation of faculty staffing across all Schools and helping 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 Schools' 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.

Additional Requirements
Required Competencies:
  • 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
  • Confidence
  • Resilient
  • Ability to navigate in a complex and ambiguous environment
  • Analytical skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Organizational skills
  • Computational skills including data analysis and presentation
  • Creativity
  • 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

Education, Experience, and Certifications:
  • Master's degree in Education or related field required

  • At least ten 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 in 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.

Technical Knowledge or Skills:
  • Ability to use standard productivity software (Microsoft Office, calendar/schedule software, etc.) required.

Required Documents:
  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Professional references

Benefit Eligibility

Pay Frequency

Pay Range
Depends on Qualification

Scheduled Weekly Hours


Job is Exempt?

Drug Test Required?

Does this position require incumbent to operate a vehicle on the job?

Health Screen Required?

Background Check Required?


Posting Date

Remove from Posting On or Before

Posting Statement:

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

The University of Chicago's Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at: Paper copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

Full time

About Us
The University of Chicago is an urban research university that has driven new ways of thinking since 1890. Our commitment to free and open inquiry draws inspired scholars to our global campuses, where ideas are born that challenge and change the world.

We empower individuals to challenge conventional thinking in pursuit of original ideas. Students in the College develop critical, analytic, and writing skills in our rigorous, interdisciplinary core curriculum. Through graduate programs, students test their ideas with UChicago scholars, and become the next generation of leaders in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.

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Job No:
Posted: 2/21/2018
Application Due: 4/3/2018
Work Type: