The Exceptional Opportunity
Francis W. Parker School is seeking a dynamic educational leader with strong administrative experience and a commitment to progressive education to be our next Head of Upper School.
Parker is a globally renowned, urban, JK-12th grade independent day school located in Chicago. Founded in 1901 on the tenets of progressive education, the school currently enrolls 932 students and employs 200 dedicated faculty and staff who 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 democratic society and global community.”
The Upper School, comprised of 326 students in ninth through twelfth grade, is organized by academic departments. The Upper School is one of three educational divisions in the school, with the others being the Lower School (grades JK-3) and the Intermediate & Middle Schools (grades 4-8).
The Head of Upper School is responsible for overseeing all activities involving students, teachers, and parents in the division. He or she will work in close collaboration with faculty, staff, parents, other division heads, and members of the administrative team. This position reports directly to the Principal.
We are seeking candidates who possess the following qualities:
Progressive Education in an Upper School Setting
A current and thorough knowledge of adolescence as a stage of human development. An understanding of and experience with applying the tenets of progressive education in ways that impact all facets of the student experience positively, and that create and sustain a sense of shared endeavor and community inclusive of all students, teachers, and parents. Candidates should be able to demonstrate their intellectual curiosity, cultural competency, and growth mindset.
Excellent interpersonal and group communication skills, demonstrating empathy, directness, and open-minded decision making. Candidates should be able to demonstrate success in working collaboratively and flexibly with colleagues, staff, parents, volunteers, and the broader community.
Experience hiring, budgeting, scheduling, evaluating faculty, mentoring, and team-building. Deftness in managing multiple and shifting priorities and able to solve problems and conflicts tactically, strategically, and tactfully.
Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
A demonstrated commitment to fostering an inclusive and diverse learning environment that cultivates an awareness of and sensitivity to all differences including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation, as noted in the school’s Diversity Statement.
Setting the Tone
- In close collaboration with the Principal, uphold Parker’s Mission and Diversity Statements in all curricular and extra-curricular activities in the Upper School.
- Act as the educational leader of the Upper School, responsible for its day-to-day operation; direct and support the activities of the Upper School faculty and staff in their duties and teaching.
- Act as the chief articulator of the Upper School’s programs, philosophy, expectations, behavioral guidelines, and other information necessary 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 school climate that is supportive and generates positive morale.
- Be aware of the educational, physical, social, and psychological needs of Upper School students, 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.
- Communicate Upper School news and needs to the Board of Trustees as requested by the Principal.
- Oversee the retention, hiring, and assignment of faculty and make corresponding recommendations to the Principal.
- Actively seek to recruit and hire a more diverse faculty, and to increase the presence of faculty of color.
- Direct the coordination of co-curricular and extracurricular activities within the Upper School; assist in the planning and presentation of school assemblies and programs; assist in maintaining a comprehensive calendar of school events; keep entire school community informed of various school programs and activities.
- Work with faculty and appropriate administrative colleagues and staff regarding the support and retention of students and families.
- Prepare a master class schedule in coordination with other Division Heads and assign teachers and students to classes and other responsibilities.
- Strive for unity, harmony, and cooperation through tact, helpfulness, respect, and recognition of individual differences and the special abilities and strengths of each teacher.
- Serve as a consultant to teachers in matters of classroom management, teaching methods, and general school policies and procedures.
- Observe, supervise, and evaluate the faculty in the development and implementation of curriculum; supervise the teaching process; review, evaluate, and develop academic programs.
- Work with Division Heads, the Assistant Principal, and the Principal to oversee and direct Department Chairs to ensure that the School’s mission is articulated and achieved through school and departmental goals, course objectives, materials, methods, and means of assessment.
- Oversee and direct the activities of faculty sponsors of various student activities and organizations, and faculty committees.
- Support programs for the orientation of new teachers, create and collaborate on
in-service training of all teachers, and evaluate classroom teachers to ensure that they are familiar with and adhere to school policies, mission, and commitment to diversity
in all areas of school operation.
- Ensure that the Upper School curriculum reflects diverse experiences, opinions, ideas, interests, and identities as called for by the School’s Diversity Statement.
- Lead regular meetings with the faculty that deal both with routine school matters and with the stimulating exchange of ideas on issues of educational/philosophical interests and concerns.
- Provide for the academic guidance of Upper School students; maintain complete academic records on all students; oversee the grading and reporting of standards and methods used by teachers in measuring student achievement.
- Work with the Dean of Student Life to determine, communicate, and uphold the student code of conduct by establishing guidelines for proper student conduct and dress; maintain student discipline consistent with school policies; monitor students’ adherence to established school rules; maintain accurate records of student attendance and citizenship.
- Assist in the admission process for testing, interviewing, and evaluation of applicants for enrollment.
- Actively work towards the admission of a more socioeconomically diverse student body, and support increasing admission of students of color to the Upper School.
- Maintain timely and relevant communication to parents and facilitate faculty communication with parents regarding routine matters and unique situations.
- Organize annual parent education meetings for each Upper School grade to discuss developmental issues that are timely and appropriate to discuss at certain developmental ages and act as a resource for advice on parenting.
- Coordinate and supervise the work of Upper School parent grade chairs and volunteers.
- Counsel parents about the joys and travails of parenting Upper School students.
Other Administrative Responsibilities
- Oversee the budget and expenditures for the Upper School.
- Collaborate with all administrators as a member of the administrative team, including admissions, athletics, student life, and college counseling.
- Ensure compliance with the 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.
Please submit cover letter with resume by mail or email 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.