In July 2015, the Walton Family Foundation announced the appointment of Clayton Marsh, former Deputy Dean of the College at Princeton University, to serve as the founding head of a new independent school in Bentonville, Arkansas. Named in honor of Louise Thaden, a pioneering aviator who was born and raised in Bentonville, the school opened in the fall of 2017 with approximately 45 students in grades 7 and 9 and will grow incrementally over the next few years to serve approximately 550-650 students in grades 6-12. The school now seeks a director for its upper school division (grades 9-12). Reporting to the Founding Head of School and working in close collaboration with his senior leadership team, the Director of the Upper School will play a leading role in the founding of a well-resourced school for a part of the country that is eager to embrace the benefits of independent school education.
About the School and the Region
A non-sectarian independent school under the direction of its own board, Thaden School offers a challenging and innovative educational program that ignites in its students a passion for discovery and learning, prepares them to succeed in college, and inspires them to lead lives of integrity, purpose and responsible global citizenship. At the core of the school’s mission is a commitment to balance that takes many forms: a curriculum that integrates the sciences and the humanities; indoor and outdoor teaching spaces where sustainability is a tangible part of the lesson; hands-on programs for civic engagement; athletics and physical education programs that build confidence and character through competition and meaningful participation; and a diverse faculty and staff that empower students to think deeply and expansively about their potential and place in the world. The school’s indexed tuition program further supports the creation of a balanced learning community where many perspectives, talents, and interests come together.
Located on a 30-acre campus in downtown Bentonville’s emerging Arts and Market District, the school is walking distance from the town square, Brightwater Culinary Institute, the future site of Crystal Bridges’ center for contemporary arts, and a variety of other educational resources. With the support of the Walton Family Foundation’s Design Excellence Program, the school has engaged a nationally renowned team of architects to design an enduring and innovative campus that will spark curiosity, inspire creativity, and invite reflection. The design and construction of the campus will be complete before the school commences its third academic year in 2020. During its first two academic years (beginning in the fall of 2017), Thaden School will operate in a combination of temporary and permanent structures located on a 5-acre portion of its campus.
The school serves students from all parts of the growing and diverse region of Northwest Arkansas, which also includes Rogers, Springdale, Fayetteville, and a number of other townships. With more than 500,000 residents, the region combines a thriving economy with the natural beauty of the Ozarks and a rich variety of cultural and recreational amenities such as the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Razorback Regional Greenway Trail System, the Scott Family Amazeum, and the Bentonville Film Festival. Northwest Arkansas is also home to the world headquarters of three Fortune 500 companies (Walmart, Tyson Foods, and J.B. Hunt) as well as the University of Arkansas, the flagship campus of the state’s higher education system. For more information about the region and its resources, see the website for Finding NWA.
Please visit the Thaden website for detailed information regarding its mission, leadership and faculty, educational programs, indexed tuition program, and campus plan as well as recent news releases.
The Director of the Upper School will work with the Founding Head of School and his senior leadership team in the ongoing design and implementation of Thaden’s educational programs and in the recruitment and management of its growing and diverse faculty. In 2018-2019, Thaden’s second year of operations, close collaboration with the Director of the Middle School will be especially important given that several faculty members will teach in both the middle and upper school divisions.
The specific responsibilities of the Director of the Upper School will include the following:
Designing and implementing the curriculum and other educational programs and initiatives
Coordinating and leading the recruitment of faculty for the upper school division
Establishing and overseeing budgets for educational programs
Overseeing accreditation and program evaluation efforts
Overseeing the development of the school calendar and schedule, registrar functions and systems for student and parent communications
Supervising faculty, including faculty orientation, training, mentoring
Supporting the Founding Head of School in preparations for board meetings
Participating in admission process and outreach efforts to prospective students and their families
Designing and overseeing the college counseling process
Assisting with all other efforts necessary to grow the school in a prudent and fiscally responsible manner consistent with mission and academic standards
Experience and Qualifications
The school seeks candidates of exceptional character, creativity, and intelligence who have the drive and versatility to create an ambitious and innovative school from the ground up. Candidates must also have the academic record, teaching experience, poise, and administrative ability to recruit, manage, and lead the faculty. Candidates’ ability to work effectively within a diverse community will also be given considerable weight in the selection process. Advanced degrees are preferred, but not required.
Applications should include a resume and cover letter that addresses salary requirements, if any. Applications must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 31 for full consideration. The start date is negotiable but must be no later than July 1.
Thaden is an equal-opportunity employer and complies with all federal, state, and local laws that prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, color, national origin, citizenship, age (18 or older), religion, disability, marital status, veteran status, and sexual orientation.
Opening in the fall of 2017, Thaden will launch with grades 7 and 9 and grow incrementally over the next few years to serve students in grades 6 through 12. Our campus will be located in downtown Bentonville’s Market District, walking distance from a remarkable variety of cultural and educational resources, and we will offer small classes where students can discover joy in learning and cultivate t...heir potential under the guidance of inspiring, masterful educators.
Our mission is to provide a balanced and challenging education that ignites in our students a passion for discovery and learning, prepares them to succeed in college, and inspires them to lead lives of integrity, purpose, and responsible global citizenship.