Wildwood School is an urban, coed, college-preparatory, K-12 school in West Los Angeles recognized for its innovative practices, progressive pedagogy, and commitment to multicultural programming. Approaching its 50th anniversary, the school enrolls 750 students in three divisions on two campuses. Wildwood School’s deep commitment to ongoing professional development feeds a renowned Outreach Center that has provided programming for public and independent school teachers, administrators, and trustees in 16 states and eight countries. Wildwood is also a founding member of the Mastery Transcript Consortium.
While many schools may describe themselves as “progressive”, the term often refers largely to forward-thinking and liberally minded attitudes toward social issues. At Wildwood, the progressive qualities extend well beyond the social constructs into the curriculum and pedagogy. The school was founded with the Coalition of Essential Schools’ Common Principles in mind. This is a truly student-centered school, one whose academic and co- and extra-curricular programs are based on “what’s good for students”. The teaching, the content, and the overall organization of the school are informed by research and a spirit of innovation that are rarely seen in other strong schools. Wildwood is an innovative, inspiring, and exciting community in which to work and learn.
The school is housed on two urban campuses on the west side of Los Angeles. The Elementary School, which was the original campus, is close to LAX, and the Middle and Upper School is about three miles north between Century City and Santa Monica. Both campuses are highly appropriate for the program and well-facilitated. A decidedly urban school, the school rents athletics facilities as needed. Students attend from all over the greater Los Angeles area and are drawn by the school’s excellent reputation as one of the city’s leading and most exciting independent schools.
SCHOOL PROGRAM AND CULTURE
Wildwood is a truly mission-driven school. Wildwood teachers, administrators, and trustees are not afraid to lean on best practice and research to develop new models of learning, modernize curriculum to include diverse voices, or embrace assessment practices that reflect mastery learning. This spirit of innovation is evident in the real world skills students develop, the commitment of the faculty to shift course for the benefit of students, and especially in the leadership of the school’s growth mindset. Based on best practices, the school has acted with courage and foresight to create programs that are engaging and relevant to the lives of students who will be entering a very different workforce from previous generations. Collaboration among students and faculty are the norm and project-based learning has existed at the school since it’s founding in the 1970s.
Typical of a culture of innovation, there are now three Institutes at Wildwood:
WISRD – Wildwood Institute for STEM Research and Development (wisrd.org)
Institute for Social Good and Community Leadership
Institute for Incubation and Entrepreneurship
These are programs in which cohorts of upper school students work collaboratively with professionals, researchers, and professors on real world issues and develop solutions to those problems. They are interdisciplinary and reflect “design-thinking” practices such as those begun at Stanford and MIT. Every senior at Wildwood is responsible for a Senior Exhibition, in which they present original thinking and work accomplished during their time at the school. These are inspiring demonstrations of research, accomplishment, and character through which the school’s transformative power is evident.
There is a deliberateness and honesty in the school’s culture; people at Wildwood are not afraid to be direct and clear, which has created an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. There is humor and warmth among students, faculty, and administration. This is a school where adults trust one another. In this kind of community, innovation is possible and improvement, as well as acceptance of imperfection, becomes the norm.
The Associate Head position will open in 2020 because the current person is moving on to be head at another school. This job at Wildwood involves an extraordinarily high degree of collaboration with Landis Green, the Head of School, and acting in lieu of the Head when necessary. It is a position with considerable autonomy and breadth, where the Associate Head is the primary academic officer of the school and is expected to continue to encourage and drive innovation and best practices.
Reporting to the Head of School, the Associate Head of School for Teaching, Learning, and Strategic Initiatives (AHTLSI) serves as a key leader for all programs provided to students, families, and employees. Overseeing program and working closely with the head of school, school directors, faculty, parents, and appropriate Board committees, the AHTLSI coordinates research, data collection and analysis, execution, evaluation, and evolution for K-12 programming. The AHTLSI is the head’s primary delegate when the head is unavailable and works very closely with the Board of Trustees. The AHTLSI supervises leaders in several key programs, including college counseling, outreach, athletics, and The Institutes.
The Associate Head of School for Teaching, Learning, and Strategic Initiatives will propel Wildwood School’s ethos and mission by:
steadfastly modeling a consistent commitment to high standards, reflective practice, evaluation, and continuous improvement, utilizing both primary and secondary research to inform change;
thoughtfully supporting faculty and administrators, actively mentoring and sponsoring others in their professional growth and contributions to both Wildwood School and to the broader educational community;
respectfully questioning behaviors and policies that impede Wildwood School’s progress toward all manner of strategic goals, from building a more diverse community to preparing students for a changing college landscape to working with Board committees to secure the healthiest future possible;
consistently reminding others of shared goals and holding them accountable for their part in moving the school forward; and
promoting and representing Wildwood School locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally as a leader in educational innovation.
The Associate Head of School for Teaching, Learning, and Strategic Initiatives will ensure that Wildwood School’s:
faculty recruitment, evaluation, performance, and salary models are implemented using current research and best practice in teaching and learning;
student outcomes are reflective of a mission-driven K-12 process for student learning and growth, preparing graduates for the full range of colleges and universities to which they matriculate and the world of work and active citizenship;
academic administrators coordinate and calibrate student programming between the three school divisions, appropriately reflecting the age levels for which they are responsible;
current academic priorities—which include the growth of The Institute Model, the introduction of K-12 Global Citizenship programming, Mathematics and STEM programming, and K-12 technology integration—achieve established and future goals;
upcoming CAIS accreditation process (2020-2021) is effectively used to seed Board and staff strategic thinking and planning, while tying to the school’s concurrent 50th/20th anniversary celebrations;
administrative and Board priorities for diversity, equity, and inclusion receive necessary focus and resources;
parents and parent association have access to effective, strategic, meaningful programs to provide them with education to better understand Wildwood School pedagogy and programs, as well as resources for better parenting; and
outreach programming serves as a dynamic conduit through which research and best practice is shared with and received from educators, researchers, foundations, and non-profit and for-profit organizations with which the school partners.
BACKGROUND AND QUALITIES OF THE SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE
Minimum of five years experience in an academic leadership role in an independent school (most likely as a division head, director of studies, or dean of faculty)
Significant experience with issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion
Evidence of leadership as an innovator and generator of ideas
Supervision and evaluation of teachers and programs
Teamwork and collaboration in everyday practice
Work in a progressive setting, broadly defined
An advanced degree
Wisdom and judgment
Strong management and organizational skills
Patience and decisiveness
Excellent interpersonal abilities
Strong work ethic
A genuine affection for students
Backbone – being able to say “no” with grace
Self-reflection and the ability to admit mistakes
Energy and stamina
A fine sense of humor
Interested candidates should submit:
A cover letter that responds to this opportunity statement
A current resume
Sample(s) of writing
A list of five references
About Wildwood School
Wildwood School is an urban, coed, college-preparatory, K-12 school in West Los Angeles recognized for its innovative practices, progressive pedagogy, and commitment to multicultural programming. Approaching its 50th anniversary, the school enrolls 750 students in three divisions on two campuses. Wildwood School’s deep commitment to ongoing professional development feeds a renowned Outreach Center that has provided programming for public and independent school teachers, administrators, and trustees in over 16 states and eight countries. Wildwood is also a founding member of the Mastery Transcript Consortium, working with universities and other private and public schools to transform the college process and move away from, “...an outdated system that rewards only the acquisition of information segregated into single subject areas.”
Wildwood is committed to building a diverse and inclusive culture and welcomes teachers and staff members who bring skills, qualities, and/or experiences that demonstrate an understanding of and ability to support our work surrounding multicultural education, global citizenship, and sustaining a diverse and inclusive school community. Wildwood School i...s an equal opportunity employer, dedicated to a policy of non-discrimination in employment on any basis including race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, the presence of mental, physical, or sensory disability, sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by federal or state law.
To learn more about Wildwood School, visit our website at www.wildwood.org.