The Hewitt School seeks a dynamic, collaborative leader to serve as its next Director of Equity and Community Life. At Hewitt, equity and justice stand as foundational commitments that guide every aspect of teaching and learning. Supported by the Board of Trustees, Head of School Dr. Tara Christie Kinsey, and Hewitt’s professional and parent communities, the Director of Equity and Community Life will join a robust, intentional, joyful educational community engaged in the work of advancing equity and justice. In this highly visible role, the next Director will lead and guide the community, building upon the foundation of excellence fostered by Hewitt’s inaugural Director of Diversity and Inclusivity.
The preferred candidate will be responsible for providing leadership across the school in support of Hewitt’s commitment to equity and inclusion. The Director will work closely with students, faculty, staff, parents, trustees, and other school leaders to further enhance a climate of equity and belonging for all members of the school community and to foster a school environment equally conducive to the well-being and success of all members.
ABOUT THE SCHOOL
The Hewitt School is an independent school serving 525 girls in grades K-12 on New York City’s Upper East Side where each girl is known and empowered to achieve her best. Founded in 1920, Hewitt empowers girls to discover their full intellectual and creative abilities, to pursue their passions and personal best, and to lead lives of consequence with character, compassion, and conviction. Nestled on a quiet block on East 75th Street, the Hewitt School’s main campus consists of three connected buildings housing its middle and upper schools. Located just one block away is McKelvey Hall, designed specifically for young learners and located nearby, is home to lower school students. The Theater at St. Jean, as well as wellness facilities, further enrich the student experience.
Presence, Empathy, Research, Purpose
Hewitt’s program is carefully constructed around four academic pillars—presence, empathy, research, and purpose—that shape the way teachers teach, students learn, and, ultimately, the way both teachers and students live their lives: beyond the expected, beyond the easy answer, and beyond what seems possible. From kindergarten through commencement, Hewitt faculty members exemplify thoughtful presence, social-emotional and intellectual empathy, research-driven teaching, and a personal sense of purpose as they expertly and personally deliver a curriculum that stimulates each girl’s capacity for reflective engagement.
Presence: At Hewitt, teaching and learning are profound acts of presence, because teachers and students truly listen and talk with one another, because they value reflection and embrace the process of learning, and because they change and are changed by the alchemy that happens in a school where the “touch of life upon life,” so eloquently expressed by Hewitt’s founder, Caroline D. Hewitt, is at the center of daily life.
Empathy: A core value in every division, empathy enables Hewitt students to maintain a point of view that is not narrowed by the limits of personal experience but expansive, because of the ability to make a deep connection to the stories of others. At Hewitt, empathy is cultivated as a habit of mind key for emotional intelligence and design thinking.
Research: Research informs everything Hewitt teachers do every day. Every teacher at Hewitt understands the research on why girls learn best in collaborative environments that support exploration, experimentation, and play. Hewitt faculty are trained to design curriculum and implement pedagogy that explicitly fosters a growth mindset in classrooms that are cooperative, collaborative, and relevant to young women. Further, research reveals that girls who feel known and valued through trial and triumph learn more enthusiastically, think more adventurously, and grow into young women who thrive in college, career, and life itself.
Purpose: Guiding girls to become young women of purpose—purpose that is meaning to the self and of meaningful, beneficial consequence to the larger community—is why Hewitt exists. Hewitt students are taught to chase dreams, not credentials. They come to know who they are and learn to construct a vision for their lives, long before they choose their majors or careers.
The Hewitt School’s three divisions connect to these shared pillars while offering distinct programs designed to embody its motto—“By Faith and Courage.” Hewitt students learn to have faith in themselves and pursue their sense of purpose with courage, empathy, and conviction.
Lower School Dynamic, Girl-Focused and Student Driven
At Hewitt, teaching is both an art and a science. Faculty members provide each student with a rich learning experience. Hewitt girls in the lower school have both the freedom to let their minds engage new ideas and explore fresh perspectives with a carefully plotted pedagogical path to follow, intentionally designed to carry them to places where they learn better and achieve more. Their classrooms emphasize healthy relationships, collaboration, storytelling, building, and creating, providing girls a space to learn cooperatively with other girls and creating the ideal conditions for learning that research recommends. This does not just benefit students—it also attracts inquisitive and passionate teachers to the Hewitt community. While the warm, familial atmosphere endures decade after decade, the curriculum is constantly evolving.
Middle School Exploration, Transformation and Joy
Hewitt’s middle school invites girls to embrace early adolescence as a time of exploration, transformation, and joy. Its learning culture is rooted in empathy—the ability to put oneself in another’s shoes—and Hewitt girls cultivate this essential habit of mind as both an intellectual and emotional practice. This approach is informed by the emotional, physiological, and intellectual development during early adolescence. Middle school girls learn to support each other during a time of significant individual change, and their teachers serve as coaches and mentors in resisting pressures to conform and developing a sense of purpose as they explore who they are as young people. Hewitt’s middle school teachers love working with girls who are in the midst of this extraordinary developmental phase, and they employ a pedagogy that is rooted in the best research on girls’ social-emotional and neuropsychological growth.
Upper School Autonomy and a Burgeoning Sense of Purpose
Hewitt’s upper school celebrates the autonomy and burgeoning sense of purpose that come with young adulthood. Hewitt’s young women in grades 9 through 12 develop a keen understanding of how they learn, how they construct and manage their time and obligations, and how they both express their individuality and connect to their community, at school and beyond. Girls who feel known and valued through trial and triumph learn more enthusiastically, think more adventurously, and grow into young women who thrive in college, career, and life itself. Trained in the research on girls and young women, upper school faculty members foster inquiry, resilience, and collaboration in their classrooms, and students know and trust their teachers as wise and caring mentors.
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT
The Hewitt School, originally known as Miss Hewitt’s Classes, was founded by Caroline Hewitt in 1920. Caroline Hewitt was born in England and arrived in America at the turn of the 20th century to work as a governess for a family in Tuxedo Park, NY. As her reputation grew, Hewitt offered private classes to children at a townhouse on the Upper East Side. As was the case in the early years of many girls’ schools, Hewitt was initially a finishing school for the daughters of wealthy New York City families. After WWII, the expectation grew that graduates would attend college and careers. Over the decades and the tenure of six succeeding heads of school, enhancements to the curriculum and facilities led to the Hewitt of today. With the arrival of Dr. Tara Christie Kinsey, Hewitt’s eighth head of school, in 2015, Hewitt placed a priority on putting research on girls into pedagogical practice. Under her leadership, the school’s small size and celebration of girls as individuals have been at the forefront. Her charge to girls and young women to slow down and develop their “inner resume,” as opposed to the “manic padding” of credentials, is prized. Hewitt is a “girls’ school by design, small by design, joyous by design.”
LEADERSHIP AND STRATEGIC PLANNING
With over 20 years in education, Dr. Tara Christie Kinsey is a passionate advocate for girls’ education and a lifelong learner, educator, and leader. Kinsey received her A.B. in English from Princeton University, where she was a varsity athlete, and her Ph.D. in English from Emory University. She began her teaching career at Peddie School and has since taught at Emory University, Oxford University, Georgetown University, and Princeton University.
Prior to Hewitt, Kinsey served as Associate Dean in the Office of the Dean of the College and the Office of the Vice President for Campus Life at Princeton University, where she worked closely with students to help them realize their full potential through formal advising and programming such as the Princeton Perspective Project and the Princeton Women’s Mentorship Program. As chair of Princeton’s Advisory Committee on Women’s Leadership, Kinsey was the recipient of two awards: the Nannerl O. Keohane Women’s Mentor Award, given to “the member of the Princeton University community who has done the most to mentor Princeton women students for leadership,” and the Marvin Bressler Award, given to “that member of the Princeton family who through heartfelt support of the University’s student-athletes and coaches, embodies a belief in the lifelong lessons taught by competition and athletics as a complement to the overall educational mission.” Prior to her work as an Associate Dean, Kinsey partnered with faculty, senior administrators, and the university president on Princeton’s $1.88 billion Aspire fundraising campaign.
Currently leading the Hewitt community in a comprehensive strategic planning process, Kinsey has engaged Hewitt stakeholders in conversations centered on the question: How can Hewitt invent a new educational model that better empowers girls and young women to become the game-changing leaders of tomorrow? A commitment to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary learning that positions girls and young women to engage in real-world challenges lies at the heart of the vision, which will be announced to the entire Hewitt community after a lengthy process in March. As Hewitt prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary in the fall of 2020, there is tremendous momentum and collective enthusiasm within the Hewitt community to come together around the goal of being a school where girls and young women are empowered to pursue questions and problems that are relevant to their experience, are challenged to go beyond what is familiar in the pursuit of greater knowledge and understanding, and are committed to creating a world in which all people can thrive.
World-readiness is the focus of Hewitt’s signature programming and strives to go beyond siloed academic preparation while aligning itself with the curriculum. Hewitt girls explore deeply topics they find most intriguing and inspiring. Programs in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math), women’s leadership, public performance, and service learning advance the school’s commitment to engaging girls authentically and meaningfully with the world.
STEAM and Maker Education
Research shows that girls have higher interest and persistence rates in STEAM fields when they are afforded ample opportunities to tinker and build. By introducing design challenges in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics classes starting in the lower school, Hewitt prepares its students to embrace robotics with an eagerness to explore, a willingness to build upon failure, and an openness to constructive feedback. The school’s K-12 interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to STEAM ensures that Hewitt girls graduate well on their way to becoming the next generation of innovators, inventors, and leaders.
Hewitt students study, model, and practice the principles of leadership with a special focus on what it means to be a female leader. Their study and practice are connected to the development of purpose in their own lives. Working with faculty, visiting scholars, community partners, and Dr. Kinsey, students participate in workshops and projects that allow them to explore the issues women face and to understand those issues through an intersectional lens. They explore challenges to women’s leadership, such as the impostor phenomenon in highly successful girls and women, or the difference between passive and assertive communication, and the pitfalls of dysfunctional politeness. They also learn the importance of thinking about gender in relation to the different lived experiences of people as shaped by race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion, etc. Through these programs and their close integration with curriculum on women leaders, Hewitt students develop a rich understanding of the principles of leadership, a nuanced awareness of how leadership intersects with their identity as girls and young women, and a deep appreciation for the many ways they can find their purpose as leaders.
The Arts and Public Performance
Since Hewitt’s founding, the school has emphasized the importance of teaching girls and young women to express themselves publicly with confidence and courage. Caroline Hewitt, the school’s founder, deeply valued the theater, and drama, dance, and public speaking continue to be essential components of the K-12 program.
At Hewitt, the arts enhance and enrich the entire curriculum. Arts education at Hewitt affords girls the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world by taking creative risks, thinking independently, working collaboratively, and exploring visual and performative art from around the world. Through an array of artistic experiences—classes, rehearsals, dramatic productions, concerts and exhibitions—Hewitt girls have opportunities to explore and nurture their own creative abilities, and to analyze, challenge, and connect. The expansion of the campus to include an arrangement with the Theater at St. Jean, a 206-seat professional opera theater nearby, provides all Hewitt students access to a professional performance space with state-of-the-art lighting, sound, and technical elements for both productions and classes.
Research, Advocate, Act: Service Learning and Community Purpose
Hewitt students participate in multiple service initiatives each year. As part of their Hewitt education, students learn to research, advocate, and act for the betterment of their community and the world, becoming socially aware members of local and global communities. The emphasis on student-centered, experiential learning in lower and middle school classrooms fosters a mindset that blossoms in the upper school into a full-fledged Experiential Initiatives program, which takes the young women of Hewitt beyond the walls of Hewitt. The program gives students the opportunity to take a deep dive into a particular area of interest through an experience that is practical and hands-on. Such experiences are key to guiding young women in cultivating a sense of purpose.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSIVITY
Hewitt’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity is aligned with the academic and co-curricular programs schoolwide and recognizes that the work of creating a more diverse and inclusive community is ever evolving, never completed, often difficult, and deeply rewarding. All diversity and inclusivity initiatives at Hewitt ask the community to remain fully present, develop empathy, establish a collective purpose, and employ research-based practices for educating girls in a richly varied and globally interconnected world. Hewitt maintains a proportional, interactional and curricular commitment to diversity. With an enrollment that increasingly reflects the diversity of New York City, the Hewitt community engages vital questions of inclusion, equity, and social justice, ensures proximity to difference, and inspires students to form meaningful relationships with each other and people from every walk of life.
Within the Curriculum
Starting in lower school, Hewitt affirms the tremendous impact of diversity and inclusivity work on healthy identity development and cross-cultural relationship building. Through a variety of programs designed to meet learners where they are, each division engages students in yearlong, intentional, community-building activities and opportunities to grow and develop together while focusing on four anti-bias goals:
Explore social identities to build positive self-concept, awareness, and confidence
Express comfort and joy with human diversity using accurate language to describe similarities and differences; establish caring human connections
Recognize unfairness, develop ability to think critically & assess misconceptions and stereotypes
Demonstrate empowerment and skills to act, alone or with others, against prejudice and discrimination
In the Lower School social studies curriculum, essential questions help girls to think critically about their individual identities, celebrate cultural diversity, and challenge assumptions and stereotypes.
Me, You, and We Launched in 2018, the Me, You, and We program incorporates anti-bias education into Hewitt’s lower school curriculum. Inspired by the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Anti-bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves program, Me, You, and We was developed at Hewitt and encourages students to explore the wide range of human diversity they see at school and in their extended communities while building a positive sense of self and developing caring human connections.
Throughout middle school girls continue their identity work with part two of Me, You, and We with an expanded program of anti-bias education. This curriculum is included across disciplines, as girls consider global histories and traditionally marginalized communities and develop a more historical perspective through the study of social hierarchies. Meanwhile, Hewitt’s English curriculum incorporates voices from a wide breadth of cultures and experiences, and the languages department incorporates the voices of writers from across the Spanish-speaking and Francophone world.
As students enter the upper school, they consider their future place in the world and take on leadership roles. At this stage, Hewitt challenges young women to consider multiple perspectives as they explore everything from feminism to globalization, current events to ancient civilizations.
Student leaders and activists shape the nature of these nuanced and complex issues and provide student-facilitated discussion groups on issues of relevance to young women today. Upper School students take a stance on matters they find important, from proposing affinity spaces to participating in marches, writing to elected officials, or attending local and national conferences, including DAIS (Diversity Awareness Initiatives for Students) and SDLC (Student Diversity Leadership Conference).
Diversity and Inclusivity Programs
Diversity and Inclusivity Steering Committee (DISC)
Chaired by the Director of Equity and Community Life and composed of faculty and staff from across divisions and departments, DISC leads the Hewitt community in establishing a more empathetic and equitable school culture by guiding conversations about diversity and inclusivity, organizing community events, collecting and sharing stories that reveal who we are, and promoting a pedagogy of anti-bias education. The DISC is committed to facilitating ongoing conversations within the community, establishing community norms, and creating a sense of trust and vulnerability.
Activists and Allies
Activists and Allies community events are open to all faculty and staff who identify as or are interested in becoming activists, advocates, and/or allies for social justice. Participants gather to engage in courageous conversations and collective work towards becoming upstanders in the Hewitt community and beyond.
D.I.T. Book Club
The E.D.I.T. (Equity, Diversity, Identity, Talk) book club is open to all faculty and staff. Initially a lower school initiative, each division now hosts its own E.D.I.T club. In addition to reading adult literature, these book clubs engage with articles and research related to educational themes and issues relevant to Hewitt students. As part of Hewitt’s commitment to community engagement, parents are also invited to participate in targeted book discussions.
National SEED Project
Inspired by the ongoing work of the National SEED Project (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity), Hewitt’s SEED group comes together once a month to listen, reflect, share, learn, and build a stronger, more inclusive school culture. Together, SEED participants explore how to support the Hewitt community by deepening self-awareness, expanding the knowledge of others, analyzing the world, and becoming leaders who work to make Hewitt a more conscious, equitable, aware, and informed institution. SEED work engages the head, heart, and soul. Participants develop ways of understanding race, class, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability/disability, and cultural experience.
New York City is the school’s classroom. Hewitt’s curriculum embraces and capitalizes on the school’s proximity to vibrant city life, frequenting museums, extending service to others, offering internships, and studying the history and culture of New York.
New York City is one of the world’s cultural capitals and is home to premier art, theater, and music communities. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum, The Guggenheim Museum, and The Museum of Modern Art are all located within walking distance of Hewitt. The Studio Museum in Harlem and Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture are located across the park in Harlem. Theaters abound in the Broadway district, and throughout the city. Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera, and smaller venues supporting the city’s extensive music communities abound. Comprising five distinct boroughs, the city offers vibrant parks, waterways, and outdoor recreation. Hewitt faculty and staff hail from all five boroughs, New Jersey and Connecticut, living within walking distance or commuting by easily accessible, metro-area public transportation.
THE ROLE OF THE DIRECTOR
Reporting to Head of School Dr. Tara Christie Kinsey, serving on the senior administrative team and regularly attending Hewitt Board of Trustees’ meetings, the Director will oversee school-wide initiatives for equity and justice to advance and build sustaining programs. The Director will have the opportunity to provide individual and community support as well as develop new programs and initiatives that will ensure systemic and structural support for the Hewitt community. In addition, the Director will serve as a school-wide resource for students, faculty, staff, parents, and trustees regarding equity and inclusion.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
The Director of Equity and Community Life will help lead and guide the Hewitt community forward, informed by the strategic priorities of the school, by expanding on the school’s active work to champion equity and justice. The Director, working collaboratively with the Head of School, members of the senior administrative team, faculty and staff, students, families, and alumnae, will advance the mission of Hewitt by empowering all community members to embrace multiple points of view and engage others with empathy and integrity as well as prioritizing the following:
Using the results of Hewitt’s recent AIM survey, and working in partnership with the Head of School and other senior administrators, develop an equity and community life strategic plan whose goal is to create new systems and processes that institutionalize equity and inclusion work at Hewitt, instead of relying on interpersonal relationships and community members who are passionately devoted to advancing the work;
Expand cultural competency training and other professional development programs for faculty to strengthen inclusive classroom environments and support deep engagement with topics related to real-world problems, diversity of thought and experiences, and global issues;
Develop and advance initiatives and programs that foster an equitable and inclusive community thereby supporting the social, emotional, and academic experiences of all students while advancing a culture of trust, transparency, and open communication;
Build and implement a strategy that narrows the equity and inclusion knowledge gap between the professional community and families;
Develop and implement strategies for recruiting and retaining families, faculty, administrators, and staff of diverse backgrounds; and,
Strengthen ties to and build relationships within the broader city community.
DESIRED QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS
The Hewitt School seeks candidates who are confident and passionate educators with a talent for establishing partnerships with a wide range of constituencies, high emotional intelligence, deft communication skills, broad knowledge of child development across various age groups, and a collaborative approach to this work. A Bachelor’s degree or comparable experience is required; an advanced degree will be preferred.
The ideal candidate will also bring many of the following abilities and experience to their work:
A commitment to research-based practices and broad knowledge of diversity, equity, and inclusion work;
An ability to work effectively across divisions and departments, creating robust partnerships and connecting resources;
The long-term planning and implementation skills to deliver on the school’s strategic priorities as they relate to promoting an equitable and inclusive community;
Demonstrated ability to develop meaningful relationships with students and to work productively with a broad range of constituents, including faculty, staff, parents, trustees, and alumnae;
A positive and optimistic attitude and creative approach to problem-solving;
A desire and ability to build on current innovative programming and scale change throughout the institution;
Excellent interpersonal and communication (verbal and written) skills;
An appreciation for the value of a girls’ school education;
A strong work ethic, personal integrity, and the ability to handle sensitive information with discretion, tact, and confidentiality; and,
A joyful approach to learning and a sense of humor.
For best consideration, please send all nominations and applications in confidence to:
Hewitt is an inclusive and diverse community of students, faculty, administration, trustees, and staff and continues to integrate diversity into the life of the school. Hewitt respects and values individuals whose differences include age, ethnicity, family structure, gender, learning styles, physical ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.