The Buckley School seeks a Head of Upper School to lead a vibrant division of 331 students in grades 9-12 and 50 faculty members. The oldest independent co-ed K-12 school in Los Angeles and one of the very few with all grades on one campus, Buckley is a nationally recognized college preparatory school with a bold mission, clear values, and a desire to honor its past as it evolves to shape the future. The position is slated to begin July 1, 2020.
The new Head of Upper School will be an important partner in a dynamic senior leadership team that recently welcomed Alona Scott, Head of School, and Lolli Lucas, Assistant Head of School, this past July. With Ms. Scott’s proven leadership, commitment to equity and diversity, and experience as a teacher-leader, Buckley will continue as one of the premier K-12 institutions in the country. The new Head of Upper School will partner with the other division heads to align the School’s K-12 programs and chart a new strategic vision that marries Dr. Isabelle Buckley’s original 4-Fold Plan (which puts equal emphasis on Academics, Athletics, the Arts and Moral Development), with the best and most innovative thinking and practices around pedagogy. These central leadership team members support a committed and passionate faculty who at once hold dear the best of the School’s traditions and are at the forefront of innovation.
Strategic priorities/opportunities for the Head of Upper School include:
Evolving Curricula and Instruction: Utilize recent research in neuroscience and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to evaluate programs and practices, with an eye for balancing the demands of the 4-Fold plan with overall student well-being. Support the articulation of a well-resourced school to enrich the US curriculum and vertical alignment with the K-12 program.
Advancing Buckley’s DEI commitment: Help lead the development and execution of a five-year DEI plan. Integrate cultural competency skills for students, faculty and families into the fabric of the school. Recruit and retain students/families and faculty/staff of color remains an important priority for the School. Leadership in this arena is key to advancing the School’s mission.
Promoting SEL and Mental Health: Attend to the challenges and pressures that adolescents face and utilize recent research about the importance of social-emotional skill development to build even greater capacity among faculty to provide systematic support across programs and individual interactions. Provide similar education to families to help them navigate and support their teen.
Supporting and Developing a Diverse Faculty: Strengthen the support systems and professional development program to continue offering both Buckley faculty and non-instructional staff opportunities to grow and remain leaders in the field.
Building Strong Relationships Among the Faculty, Staff, and Parents: Foster trust, rapport, transparency, and collegiality in service of the students.
Being a Visible, Active and Engaged Presence in the Life of the School
HistoryThe Buckley School, founded in 1933 by Isabelle Buckley, is the oldest K-12 independent co-educational day school in Los Angeles. Dr. Buckley developed the 4-Fold Plan of Education with equal emphasis on Academics, the Arts, Athletics, and Moral Education. These four pillars remain the foundation of our school and are continually updated to reflect current research in teaching, brain science, diversity, and a globalized world.
The Buckley Commitment
The Buckley Commitment was created by students in 1995 to guide the community in school-wide standards of behavior. These values are carved into the cement steps of the Commitment Courtyard and posted around campus. Students, families, faculty, staff, and the Board of Trustees commit to: Honesty, Loyalty, Respect, Kindness, Self-Reliance, and Self-Discipline.
The next Head of Upper School will be a curriculum and instructional leader, who, in partnership with the Head, Assistant Head, and Lower School and Middle School Heads, can help develop a bold K-12 curricular vision: one that preserves Buckley’s key values and best traditions while embracing innovative programs and practices that prepare students to problem-solve complex issues in their future.
The Head of Upper School is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the division, including its academic and advisory programs, student policies, athletics, arts performances and activities, service learning and outdoor education and other co-curricular and extra-curricular activities and programs, as well as hiring and supporting a diverse staff. This leadership and oversight must create a culture that fulfills the school’s mission, embodies the school’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and exemplifies the Buckley Commitment.
The Head of Upper School is expected to model lifelong learning by staying abreast of research, advances and trends in educational programs and practices, and to use this knowledge to inform the ongoing evolution of curriculum, instruction, and community activities, ensuring K-12 alignment. In partnership with the Assistant Head of School and department chairs, the Head of Upper School will design professional development opportunities.
In addition, the Head of Upper School will:
Oversee the UC and NCAA course approval processes, the College Board AP Audit, the National Merit Scholarship program, and pertinent standardized testing including ACT and PSAT administration in conjunction with the Director of College Counseling
Establish yearly and summer course offerings approved through the curriculum committee and disseminate information to the community
Maintain the Upper School budget in conjunction with the Middle School Head
Serve as one of the Upper School academic deans to students in grades 9 and 10
Oversee the design of the Upper School schedule and maintain Upper School calendar
Assist with the coordination of the commencement ceremony in conjunction with senior class advisors, Assistant to the Division Heads, and the Advancement and Facilities Departments
Serve on the admission committee and assist in the admission process for the testing, interviewing, and evaluating of applicants for enrollment
Motto: "Dare to Be True"
The Buckley School is a dynamic, nurturing learning community committed to equity and inclusion. Our innovative teachers and challenging programs inspire creativity, courage, and collaboration. By promoting a balanced development of mind, body, and character, we encourage each student to find joy and meaning in life and make an impact in the world.
Founded in 1933 by Isabelle Buckley who developed the
4-Fold Plan of Education: equal emphasis on Academics, the Arts, Athletics,
and Moral Education. These four pillars remain the foundation of our school
and are continually updated to reflect current research in teaching, brain
Faculty: 110, 8 hold doctoral degrees, and 64 have master’s degrees. 77% have 10+ years of teaching experience
Average class size: 17 students, 8:1 student-teacher ratio
Campus size: 18 acres
Colors: Red and Grey
Academic and Co-curricular Programs
Our Lower School program is guided by our mission and history. Buckley’s program blends tradition and structure with a developmental methodology that engages students in active learning and allows our teachers to address differences in student learning styles. We place a heavy emphasis on the development of compassionate children. Across all grades, students are immersed in a rich program of traditional academic classes as well as weekly specialized classes, including computer science, dance, theatre, visual arts, music, and physical education. We believe that physical education and arts education are among the core components of academic success.
Buckley’s Middle School values and nurtures creative self-expression and problem-solving through both traditional pedagogy and student-centered experiential learning opportunities. Social-emotional growth is valued as much as academic development; skills as much as content. Student choice and agency guide much of the Middle School’s programs and curricula. Children are pushed to direct their own learning, hold themselves accountable, and understand how good it feels to try hard at something you love.
Buckley’s Upper School curriculum does more than prepare students for success at the college level; it helps them develop into independent, creative thinkers who will positively influence the world around them. The Upper School maintains a rigorous college preparatory education grounded in collaboration, cultural competency, and character education. The school provides an intentionally small, supportive, and diverse learning environment. Through our Applied Science program, students work on year-long independent research projects with real-world applications, often applying for and receiving patents for their work. Upper School Writing Fellows receive formal training in peer mentoring, tutoring, and in helping their younger classmates find their voices through their own writing. Students in Diversity Club guide the Upper School in regular conversation and help plan assemblies and our Social Justice Symposia. Every ninth grader is required to take Intersections of Identity, a semester-long course in which students learn about identity markers, socio-economic differences, and the on-going gentrification of the city in which they live. Buckley is a member of One Schoolhouse, a consortium of independent schools through which students may enroll in online courses.
A rigorous curriculum ensures that every student acquires the knowledge that our expert faculty considers crucial to a comprehensive liberal arts education and college preparation. In addition, students compete on high school athletic teams or participate in physical education classes each trimester until the final term of their senior year; they take a minimum of two visual or performing arts classes; and they participate in ethical education programs through advisory sessions, speaker series, and student-led sketches and discussions.
Our school culture encourages the pursuit of new ideas and personal goals. Students who reach beyond their requirements and tackle additional academic challenges — whether through electives or AP courses — are the norm, not the exception.
At Buckley, there is no “typical” Buckley student. There is a close-knit, family atmosphere at the school that is permeates this small community, where students can explore different interests and are challenged to try new things in a safe environment.
There is widespread, deep respect for faculty and what they do. They are regarded as passionate, dedicated professionals. Faculty see a major benefit of working at Buckley in that they have the resources to accomplish what you want – Buckley is a place where the “sky is the limit.” Buckley has cultivated a culture where teachers continually seek to better themselves.
Faculty and staff are “all in,” and administrators can teach a class, or have an advisory -- in other words, those who do not have a teaching role can still be, and find ways to be, connected to kids. Presence is a highly valued virtue in the Buckley community.
The students at Buckley represent the many different neighborhoods and communities of Los Angeles. Buckley students are academically curious, joyful learners and appreciate the well-rounded education that the school offers.
The Buckley Community is an inclusive and warm community. There is a perceptible connectedness among this small community where relationships are cherished. Mutual respect is a hallmark of the Buckley community, one that encourages voice in a safe environment.
In 2016, the school added three new buildings to support academics, including specialized science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) classrooms, as well as the performing arts, including dance and music rehearsal spaces, a black-box theatre, and a state-of-the-art performance and community gathering space. Improvements also have included a renovated and fully modernized Middle and Upper School library and administrative offices, renovated classrooms, including the addition of a world languages lab, and renovated college counseling, admission, and Lower School administrative offices. Newly renovated studio art facilities, with video production studio and screening room, complete darkroom, and electric ceramic kilns enhance the School’s arts programs.
Los Angeles is the most populous city in California and the second most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of the West Coast. Nicknamed the "City of Angels" partly because of its name's Spanish meaning, Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and sprawling metropolis.
Procedure to Apply
The Buckley School values and supports diversity in the workplace and in the classroom, and thus encourage all qualified candidates to apply.
Interested candidates should submit the following materials confidentially by email in one PDF attachment that includes in the following order:
Cover letter expressing interest in the Buckley position
Statement of educational philosophy and practice
Three to five references, identifying your relationship to them and including phone and email (candidate will be notified before references are contacted)
A writing sample that reflects your voice in your school community (can be an existing or past correspondence).
Email to Orpheus Crutchfield firstname.lastname@example.org and Mary Rose Fernandez email@example.com with the subject line: “The Buckley School – Head of Upper School”
Applications due: November 15th
Semifinalists interviews: Mid December
Finalists interviews: Mid to late January
Announcement to community: Early to mid February
Qualities of the next Head of Upper School
The Head of Upper School must be an experienced administrator, with a successful history of building a warm and supportive culture as well as inspiring students and faculty to practice a growth mindset, lead with empathy, and make an impact in the world.
As Buckley continues to strive towards its aspirations for a more diverse, equitable and inclusive school, the Head of Upper School must be an experienced DEI champion and leader of institutional evolution. The Head of Upper School will partner with the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, recruiting and retaining diverse students and faculty and curating professional development opportunities to increase institutional capacity in DEI.
As the leader of this important division, the Head of Upper School must be able to model empathy, integrity, collaboration, and a sense of humor. Fostering constructive relationships with students, teachers, and parents to promote an atmosphere of positivity and support will be critical to help students navigate what can often be a stressful time in their lives.
The culture at Buckley is one that values hard work, clear and direct communication, a willingness to wrestle with difficult topics with colleagues and students, transparency in leadership and decision-making, and advocacy for the students and professionals in the school. The successful candidate will exhibit genuine warmth, confidence, humility, curiosity and lifelong learning, a willingness to listen, critical thinking, and problem solving.
EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE & SKILLS
Master’s Degree required
A minimum of five years of independent school teaching experience preferred
Prior experience as an instructional coach, Dean, Assistant or Division Head preferred
Experience supervising and evaluating teachers (and ideally administrators)
Proficiency with Google suite and Microsoft Office, and an interest in staying abreast of new devices and applications to support teaching and learning
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