Posting Date: Oct 16, 2018 Application Deadline: November 16, 2018
Charles Wright Academy (CWA), located on a beautiful, wooded 107-acre campus, serves 654 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The only coeducational independent PK-12 school in Tacoma, Washington, CWA provides challenging, college preparatory academics that prepare students to thrive in college and in life. Equally important is a wide array of experiential education, artistic, athletic, and service opportunities that promote students’ social-emotional development and provide avenues by which they discover and pursue their passions. Close, respectful, and trusting relationships between faculty and students result in an environment in which all community members embrace both the hard work and the joy inherent in the journey of intellectual and personal growth.
Charles Wright’s Upper School is a central part of the school’s program. It currently enrolls 280 students, 34% of whom are students of color, and 18% of whom are international students residing with local host families. Charles Wright’s Upper School draws students from a geographically broad area spanning four counties in the South Puget Sound area.
Our Mission Statement: Charles Wright Academy provides a rigorous and dynamic liberal arts education built on the principles of excellence and compassion. Within an inclusive and globally aware learning community, we foster self-reliance, integrity, social responsibility, and humor, inspiring our students to discover within themselves the courage to achieve their personal best in mind, body, and spirit.
Summary: The Upper School Director is a member of the school’s Senior Leadership and Academic Leadership Teams and reports directly to the Head of School. The right candidate will understand and affirm the strengths in Charles Wright’s tradition while stimulating continued program improvement and innovation. After the retirement of a 22-year veteran Upper School Director, a capable interim Upper School Director is filling this role for the 2018-2019 school year. This is an opportunity to lead a division that is already strong while thinking aspirationally about the future of the school. The Upper School Director will supervise the Upper School’s Dean of Students, College Counselors, Registrar, Receptionist, Learning Support Specialist, Counselor and approximately 70 faculty. The Dean of Students oversees student discipline and student life in partnership with the Upper School Director, and in turn leads a team of four grade level deans who are also full-time teachers.
Priorities for the Next Upper School Director: Leading Curricular Innovation It is a priority for the upper school to maintain its tradition of academic challenge, and to continue to honor an exceptional faculty through their active involvement in this process. The next Upper School Director will be asked to stimulate curricular innovation, reconsider the role of AP curriculum, explore project-based and place-based learning as strategies to increase student engagement, increase student voice and choice in shaping their course of study, and strengthen the school’s long-standing programs in experiential education. To be successful, they will collaborate with teachers in re-examining past assumptions, maintaining a climate of academic challenge, and leading the division to adopt proven new practices.
Fostering Student Well-Being and Social-Emotional Health The school is working to develop a more balanced Upper School program through the adoption of a new schedule and homework policy, which created more time for more student collaboration, clubs, community activities, and elective classes. The next Upper School Director will be asked to build on these initiatives, foster a culture that encourages the continued pursuit of both excellence and health, and model both excellence and balance through their leadership.
Supporting Diversity and Inclusion The school has made a clear commitment to care for all students, employees, and families, regardless of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The next Upper School Director will be asked to foster an inclusive culture that affirms the value of all students and teaches them to be a constructive citizen in a pluralistic society.
Build Community and Spirit The next Upper School Director will be asked to build a wide range of extracurricular programs, demonstrate equitable commitment its many athletics and arts programs, and increase opportunities for the community to come together. They will also be asked to work with the Dean of Students and grade level Deans in fostering a sense of connectedness for all students at our school.
Living in Tacoma: Located nearly halfway between Seattle and the state capital of Olympia, Tacoma is the third largest city in Washington and the heart of Pierce County. The city provides the cultural, educational, and economic amenities of a highly urban area with the quality of life, cost of living, and sense of community typically associated with a smaller city. Tacoma was recently featured in Sunset Magazine as one of “20 Game-Changing Places To Live.” As the article put it, “the former shipping and manufacturing powerhouse has seen an influx of creative Left Coasters making new use of once-defunct warehouses—and enjoying the port’s down-to-earth allure.” Despite this, housing costs in Tacoma are 61% less than in Seattle. The next Upper School Director will be able to select from a wide variety of desirable neighborhoods.
Qualifications: The school has conducted an inclusive process to determine search criteria based on feedback from administration, faculty, students, and parents.
We are seeking:
* An experienced educational leader, though not necessarily a sitting Upper School Director; * An active, accessible, and friendly presence in the hallways and extracurricular life of the school; * A collaborator who leverages the talent and insight of an experienced faculty while moving the school forward; * A capable manager of a busy division with many moving parts; * A steady, fair hand in upholding student discipline and behavior; * An educator who values athletics, the arts, and experiential education; * A rooted presence who can foster an environment of respectful, balanced dialogue in an era of cultural and political polarization; * A leader with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion; * A model of balanced, healthy, and high-performance leadership; * A creative educator who both stimulates and supports learning, experimentation, and innovation among faculty; * A teacher who understands the classroom experience and maintains the school’s commitment to academic challenge; * An empathetic person who listens to students (even when they disagree with them) and is committed to their growth in mind, body, and spirit.
Salary/Benefits: Salary is competitive with other independent schools in the Pacific Northwest. Compensation includes a comprehensive benefits package to employees and their families designed to provide choice, flexibility, and value. In addition to health (medical, dental, vision), life and disability insurance, and a flexible spending account, we offer participation in the Academy’s 403(b) retirement plan, including a generous employer contribution once you meet eligibility, paid time off, tuition remission for immediate dependents, subsidized lunches, and professional development.
Application Process: Interested candidates should send a letter of interest and resume to:
Mail: Attention Office of Human Resources at address above.
In-person application: Follow campus signs to “Upper School”, using Upper School visitor parking. The Office of Human Resources is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm.
No phone calls, please. Charles Wright Academy is an Equal Opportunity Employer: M/F/V/D.