The Center for Early Education, a culturally and socio-economically diverse independent school for children, toddlers through grade six, seeks a dynamic Director to lead its Early Childhood Programs.
Founded in 1939 as The School for Nursery Years, The Center has become the national leader of early childhood education that it is today. In this position, The Center is seeking an energetic, caring, flexible leader who deeply believes in and has an innate respect for the mission of the school “to graduate students who are joyful, resilient, life-long learners,” and “embraces a philosophy of education that combines a nurturing, inclusive learning environment with an increasingly challenging academic program that addresses the developmental needs of each child.”
Under the leadership of Mark Brooks (only the third Head of School for The Center), and his unwavering commitment to the school’s mission and history of diversity and inclusion, The Center is poised to continue to be a leader in this field. Mr. Brooks believes that a student-centered, relevant education that engages each child in inquiry, problem solving, and project-based learning best prepares children for a constantly evolving world. Along with a dedicated leadership team, passionate and talented staff, and a vibrant and engaged community, the Director of Early Childhood Programs will find caring partners in the quest to provide cutting edge education that honors the inner world of children.
While the history of the school continues to inform and guide its current life, the Center understands that a changing world demands innovation and dynamism from the school as well. The Center’s facilities are undergoing a major renovation that will be complete later this year. The new, state-of-the-art facilities are a realization of the community’s aspirations in a physical form; more flexible spaces to allow for project based learning and greater collaboration and creativity, along with expanded outdoor spaces.
The Center for Early Education began as a play group for children in a single-family home in the Hancock Park section of Los Angeles in 1939, then named The School for Nursery Years. The original founders of this group, most of whom were professional psychoanalysts, were passionate about respecting the inner world of the child. They sought to develop an early childhood education based on each child's natural developmental pace as well as on the recognized developmental stages through which each individual passes to maturity. At a time when preschool education was in its infancy, CEE's Founders pioneered a school dedicated to the needs of young children. The School opened a teacher training program for nursery school teachers and administrators, eventually called The College for Developmental Studies. The country’s first Head Start also found its home at The School.
Today, The Center for Early Education is made up of a group of extremely dedicated faculty, staff, administration, trustees, parents, grandparents, volunteers, and friends who work together to make CEE the vibrant, caring and inclusive place for learning that it has been for over 75 years. CEE has over 60 educators providing instruction to their 540 students.
The Center strongly believes in helping to nurture professional growth in its faculty and staff. Each year, CEE funds school-wide and individually selected professional development programs for faculty and staff so that they can continue to learn and grow as educators. In addition, world-class experts regularly visit campus to give workshops and lectures to members of the campus community.
Early Childhood at The Center
From its earliest days, the Center’s expertise has been in understanding the inner world of children and helping to develop and prepare them for success in elementary school and beyond. That important foundation starts in the Early Childhood Program. The Early Childhood Program begins with the Toddler Program, followed by the EC1 and EC2 Programs, and then Kindergarten.
As students move through the Early Childhood Program, they learn how to play with others, participate in a group, select a learning center, use a cubby and serve themselves a snack. The curriculum is play-based, developmentally appropriate, and integrates social and emotional learning. Socialization and learning through exploration and discovery are the core of every classroom and outdoor space.
The Toddler Program provides both a transition into a school setting as well as a means to further a healthy separation between parent and child. A successful separation helps to transfer the child’s trust from family to school. The result is a happier first experience in autonomy for the child and a sense of security for the parent.
Since the Toddler Program is a true transition and separation program for the parent and child, one parent must attend with the child until separation occurs. There is a parent lounge adjacent to the toddler classroom for parents who wish to stay until their child is comfortable.
The Toddler Program day centers around learning that meets the individual interests and needs of the children, while helping them adjust to being part of a community. The day begins with playtime on the toddler yard. In their classroom, toddlers experiment with art materials and choose from activity centers that include blocks, dolls, trucks, dress up clothes and more. Toddlers learn to sit for snack and serve themselves, as well as use the restroom. They also sit in groups to listen to stories or engage in other activities.
During the Toddler Program, children develop relationships with other children, gain comfort with classroom routines and making choices, develop gross and fine motor skills, enhance their curiosity and build self-confidence.
Early Childhood Programs
Appropriate for children ages three to four years old and four to five years old respectively, the EC1 and EC2 Programs are a combination of whole mixed-day alternatives. Each classroom has three teachers and includes both indoor and outdoor experiences organized around learning centers and child-centered themes, which change throughout the year.
The Early Childhood curriculum develops self-esteem, motor skills, creativity, self-mastery, and autonomy. Students work on developing skills in language and communication, socialization, logical and sequential thinking, literacy and mathematical concepts.
The beginning years of a child's elementary school experience are full of wonder, growth, change, and excitement. Students transition from our Early Childhood program and from other nursery school experiences into our full-day kindergarten, where they form a community of learners that will accompany them along their journey.
Beginning in kindergarten, students take part in many of the special traditions of our elementary school, from participating in morning assemblies and the Olympics to acting as community service representatives and members of multi-age "families". Children enjoy a 10:1 student-teacher ratio in Kindergarten, and a 15:1 ratio in grades 1-3; our two master teachers in every classroom are able to conduct a combination of whole-class, small-group, and individual instruction to meet the needs of our diverse learners. The social-emotional makeup of each student is considered; ever-mindful of the developmental spectrum along which our students grow, our teachers observe, assess, and communicate the needs of the whole child to parents and to one another.
A full day program, Kindergarten is a transition from Early Childhood (or another pre-school program) into the Elementary Program. There are two master teachers in each classroom, plus two teacher assistants who work with the entire grade.
In Kindergarten, teachers introduce academic subjects using learning centers and units of study. Core subjects include language arts, math, and social studies. In addition, Kindergartners go to teacher specialists for music, art, physical education, science, and library. Each Kindergarten classroom makes creative use of computers in learning centers. Both classes use Smart Boards and iPads to support interactive learning.
Opportunities for The Director of Early Childhood Programs
The Center seeks an experienced Early Childhood leader; someone who deeply understands and loves Early Childhood. The Director must be able to jump right into this amazing community which lives the school’s core values of caring, inclusion, responsibility and honesty. The parent and guardian community seeks a partner in the Director whom they can trust and learn from. The Center’s incredible teaching staff is eager to work with a Director who supports their growth and works with them to deliver innovative instruction that holds children at the center. In the leadership team, transparency, clear and direct communication, collaboration, creativity and integrity help to maintain a high functioning and high performing relationship.
Strategic Priorities for the Director of Early Education Programs
Professional Development of a Diverse Faculty and Staff: The Center has always prioritized professional development and views it as critical to the growth of the school
Parent Education: The Early Childhood Curriculum goes beyond what is taught to the children in the classroom; it extends, by necessity, to parents, who partner with The Center’s educators to support the children’s learning at school and at home. The Center seeks to continue to build Parent Education as a critical component of the Early Childhood Curriculum.
Transition Experience for Children: As children graduate through the stages at The Center, particular attention to these transition points are vital. The Director of Early Childhood Programs will be central to helping The Center make these transitions as seamless as possible.
Expanded Day for The Toddler Program: Beginning in 2019, the Toddler Program is transitioning into a full day program. This change, while well-considered and welcomed, will require thoughtful and nimble leadership.
Essential Functions of the Director of Early Childhood Education
Reporting to the Head of School, the Director of Early Childhood Programs has direct responsibility for supervising the Early Childhood Programs, including The Caring Place, Toddler, EC1, EC2 and Kindergarten classes, and the Nutrition Coordinator.
Participates in the recruitment, hiring, supervision, observation, and evaluation and goal setting of the teaching staff.
Develops curriculum and authorizes the selection of teaching aids and curricular materials, as well as field trips, and assemblies to implement curriculum.
Conducts meetings and confers with teaching staff, other professionals, and parents regarding developmental, learning, behavioral or other issues of individual children.
Serves as a member of the Administrative Team.
Communicates with Department of Social Services and other official agencies and ensures conformance to county, state, and other regulations pertaining to the Early Childhood Division.
Interviews and screens prospective families and children as a member of the Admissions Committee and participates in the process of selection.
Develops and disseminates written communication to parents, including forms for conference reports, program notification, correspondence, and open house packets.
Participates in the creation and management of budget to implement the Early Childhood Program, including Summer Transition Programs, Toddler Bridge, etc.
Participates in the writing of faculty schedules and makes faculty assignments.
Supervises the professional development of faculty members, including writing performance objectives, selecting conferences, workshops, courses, and planning in-service experiences.
Plans and implements Summer Transition Programs for students in Toddlers through Kindergarten.
Effectively manages teaching team dynamics, facilitating communication and problem solving.
Manages and acts as the Administrator responsible for The Caring Place staff.
Oversees snack budget and school-wide nutritional offerings, and supervises Nutrition Coordinator.
Fast Facts about The Center
Founded in 1939 as a School for Nursery Years, it went through several iterations which included a teachers’ college. Today it is a toddler's program through 6th grade program.
Diversity: 51% of student body
Faculty Diversity: 40%
Financial Aid(FA)/Tuition Remission(TR)
Average Tuition FA/TR$15,739
FA/TR as % of Tuition Revenue 16%
Students Receiving FA/TR21%
FA Applications/FA Awards119/106
FA Applicant Income Range$20,000 - $405,000
Award Recipients75% < $225,000
The Center for Early Education core values: responsibility, caring, inclusion and honesty.
West Hollywood or “WeHo”, is home to The Center for Early Education. Incorporated in 1984 as a city of Los Angeles County, it is also home to the Sunset Strip. Bordered by Beverly Hills to the west, the Hollywood Hills on the north, Hollywood to the east and on other sides by neighborhoods of Los Angeles, WeHo is an energetic, creative city that benefits from its walkable street grid. West Hollywood and the Los Angeles Area is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and sprawling metropolis.
Procedure to Apply
Interested candidates should submit the following materials by March 1, 2019 confidentially as separate PDF attachments in one email:
Cover letter expressing interest in the Center position
Statement of educational philosophy and practice
Email to Orpheus Crutchfield email@example.com and Mary Rose Fernandez firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “The Center for Early Education - Director for Early Childhood Programs.”
Applications due: March 1
Semifinalists interviews: Early March
Finalists interviews: Mid-Late March
Hiring announcement: Late March/ Early April
Qualifications, Skills and Knowledge
The Center is rooted in diversity, inclusion and equity and is seeking to have those values reflected by its new Director of Early Childhood Programs. Successful candidates will have extensive knowledge of administration, early childhood education, curriculum development, departmental budgeting and management, and strong written and verbal skills. This administrator must have the ability to be clear, honest and direct in his/her communications with faculty, staff and parents and in presentations.
Qualifications and key characteristics:
A Master’s degree (preferred) and statutory Early Childhood credentials
A minimum of two to three years of relevant administrative experience
Demonstrated ongoing professional interest and focus on early childhood
Current role at another institution with core values and mission similar to CEE
EC and/or Kindergarten teaching experience at a recognized school
Experience managing early childhood faculty and faculty teams.
Diversity and/or demonstrable commitment to diversity in education.
Knowledgeable of EC program, pedagogy, and trends in EC education.
Open minded, collaborative, and flexibility with a good sense of humor.
About The Center for Early Education
Founded in 1939, The Center for Early Education educates students from Toddler through Grade Six. Our urban West Hollywood campus houses 538 children in instructional building with rooftop playgrounds, unique 'green' planting and underground parking. The Center combines a challenging academic curriculum with a nurturing environment that harkens back to the founders' focus on the inner life of the child. Both the student body and faculty/staff are very diverse with 50% students of color. The Center offers an ample Financial Aid program with inclusion awards but also strives for socioeconomic diversity among its families. Generous donors and a mature advancement program keep tuition below the median of comparable schools in the Los Angeles area. The Center offers competitive salaries and excellent benefits to employees. A long-standing commitment to professional development allows all employees to further their professional and personal growth.