Neighborhood House Charter School (“NHCS” or “School”), an exceptional preK-8 public charter school in Boston, MA, is seeking an outstanding leader to serve as Head of School. In 2012, NHCS was the only public school in Boston to earn both Commonwealth of Massachusetts Commendation status and a perfect score on the state’s new Progress and Performance Index. The Head of School will be responsible for maintaining the School’s strong commitment to helping all students succeed while taking it to new levels of excellence and scope.
NHCS combines rigorous and engaging academics with extensive social/emotional programming to help all children succeed. We strive to develop scholars who embrace effort, seek knowledge, act thoughtfully, and commit to the common good. Many children come to us with significant challenges. We don’t give up on them. Our goal is that all of our students thrive at Neighborhood House, graduate from high school, and pursue post-secondary education on the path to life success.
Founded in 1995 by local parents and community members, NHCS is one of the 14 original charter schools in Massachusetts. The School began under the auspices of Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses, Inc. (now College Bound Dorchester) with the vision of combining a high quality academic program with wrap-around services to support the development of the whole child. The School separated from Federated in 2000. In 2003, NHCS raised $5 million to acquire and substantially renovate a 75,000 square foot building on four acres in Dorchester. The School relocated to this building in 2006 and in doing so was able to double its enrollment from 200 to 400 students, increasing from one to two classes per grade.
As a charter school, NHCS has the responsibility to ensure that its own students are successful and to be an agent of change within urban public education. In 2010, NHCS was invited to partner with an under-performing district school on a three-year turn-around effort which resulted in the district school exiting turn-around status last year. Building on the success of this project, NHCS is currently working with two additional Boston public schools – one a district school and the other a charter – to similarly help them strengthen instructional practices and improve student outcomes.
NHCS currently serves 400 students and is one of the most sought-after preK-8 public charter schools in the city with a waiting list of more than 2,000 children. With 66% of the students low-income and 82% minority, the student body reflects the diversity of Boston. NHCS is proud to be among a cohort of high-performing charter schools in Boston that is impacting the national conversation about what is possible in urban education. In 2013, NHCS significantly outperformed the Boston Public Schools in all subjects at every grade level, and earned the second highest growth score in English Language Arts among all public elementary/middle schools in the state.
The School believes that the following four factors explain much of its success:
- High expectations for all students, coupled with extensive support.
- A commitment, shared by all adults in the building, to valuing students as people.
- An instructional philosophy that promotes richness and rigor as co-equal components of great teaching.
- A skillful use of data and other tools to assess learning and tailor instruction in real time.
In addition to the academic standards laid out by the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, NHCS focuses on core skills such as collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking. At the same time, extensive social/emotional programming helps students build resiliency and strength of character. The School complements this program with a variety of supports and opportunities including robust creative arts offerings; psychological counseling and crisis intervention; after-school and summer programs; and an intensive high school placement effort.
The budget of almost $8 million comes from state per-pupil education funds and through private fundraising. A nineteen member Board of Trustees holds the School’s charter and is responsible for ensuring the School’s success in partnership with the Head of School and an eight member Management Team.
The Head of School will be responsible for leading a very successful organization in which children and staff work and learn effectively. S/he will be a strong leader who shares NHCS’s values and philosophy and is passionate about urban education. S/he will lead the organization in realizing the five goals of its current Strategic Plan: 1) perfecting the program model; 2) maintaining long-term financial sustainability; 3) playing a leadership role in the field of urban education; 4) ensuring long-term strong governance and leadership; and 5) developing a plan to expand through grade 12 and applying successfully to the state for said expansion.
As it relates to goal five above, because Boston is very near the current cap on the number of allowable charter school seats per district, the Massachusetts Legislature must vote to lift the cap before the School can apply to expand. If the cap is lifted, the Head of School will lead the expansion effort which will include program design; financial modeling and oversight; securing and/or constructing a facility; fundraising; hiring; and overall project management.
The Head of School will be accountable for the following responsibilities:
- Implementing and building on the School’s Strategic Plan to strengthen and grow the organization and secure its future.
- Partnering with the School’s Board of Trustees to ensure the School stays true to its mission and satisfies the requirements of its charter and accountability plan.
- Hiring and leading the Management Team which oversees the Lower and Middle Schools, Special Education & Student Support, Finance & Administration, and Development.
- Partnering and communicating effectively with families to achieve shared goals for students and the School.
- Fundraising for operating and capital needs (with the Board of Trustees and Director of Development) and managing the School’s budget (with the Chief Financial Officer).
- Serving as the School’s primary spokesperson and managing communications with external constituencies, including the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, governmental leaders at both the state and local levels, the Boston Public Schools, other charter schools, funding organizations and donors, community partners and the media.
- Working with the broader educational community to achieve high quality schools for all students in Boston and beyond.
The ideal candidate will offer many of the following qualities and skills:
- Unshakeable belief that every child can be successful, no matter his or her background.
- Entrepreneurial approach with demonstrated leadership success in an educational environment.
- Ability to articulate a compelling vision, set appropriate goals, and develop a strong framework for implementation and accountability.
- Demonstrated success in recognizing, hiring and developing talented staff and staff with potential.
- Exceptional team leader, capable of inspiring and motivating a high-performing team.
- Experience in organizational planning, staff development, board relations, financial management and project planning/management.
- Outstanding analytical, problem-solving, strategic planning and communication skills.
- Knowledgeable about instructional techniques and pedagogy.
- Philosophically aligned with the School’s inclusive approach to education and commitment to helping every child be successful within the NHCS setting.
- An appreciation for the value and benefits of a diverse staff.
- Strong work ethic and a commitment to continuous learning and improvement.
- Demonstrated skills in engaging effectively with diverse constituents.
- Demonstrated success in cultivating and securing philanthropic support from individuals, foundations and corporations.
To apply please send cover letter, salary history and resume to Susan Egmont, Egmont Associates, at email@example.com.