Opportunities and Challenges for the Assistant Head of School
The Buckley School seeks an Assistant Head of School to help lead a vibrant community that encompasses three divisions, 830 students and 110 faculty members. The oldest 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 independent school. The position is slated to begin July 1, 2019.
As the school welcomes its new Head of School, Alona Scott, the new Assistant Head of School will become an important partner in leading the school to the next phase of development. With Ms. Scott’s proven leadership, commitment to equity and diversity, and experience as a teacher-leader, Buckley will continue in its place as one of the premier K-12 institutions in the country. The new Assistant Head will be instrumental in helping the school align its K-12 programs and chart a new strategic vision that marries Dr. Isabelle Buckley’s original 4-Fold Plan with the best and most innovative thinking and practices around pedagogy. These central Leadership Team members will be met by a committed and passionate faculty who at once hold dearly the best of the School’s traditions and are also at the forefront of innovation within Buckley’s dynamic learning environment.
Buckley’s aspirations to realize its mission of, “A dynamic, nurturing learning community dedicated to equity and inclusion,” requires strategic visioning, unwavering leadership, and management, to implement meaningful institutional change. In this role, the Assistant Head of School works in partnership with the Head of School to support the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, division heads, and department chairs to implement the school’s diversity initiative and guide the evolution of the academic program.
This is a marvelous opportunity for the right person! It will need to be approached as a commitment and a challenge which will afford extremely rewarding experiences and opportunities. The professional who gets excited thinking about the challenges of educational leadership, and recognizes that Buckley is an unfinished canvas with high potential, will realize a fulfilling career here. In particular, strategic priorities for the Assistant Head of School include:
Strategic Planning: The School is looking forward to embarking on a strategic planning process and the Assistant Head of School will be critical in the design and implementation of this effort.
Curricular development: As a K-12 school, with outstanding, yet separate divisions, curricular mapping and continuity across the divisions is vital, especially as the School continues to innovate its programs.
Mentoring and Professional Development: Building a culture of teacher support, especially for new teachers and administration is essential in maintaining and building a strong faculty. Buckley also seeks to strengthen its evaluation and professional development support of long-term faculty and administrators.
Advancing Buckley’s DEI mission: Leading the development and execution of a five year DEI plan. Recruitment and retention of students/families, faculty and staff of color remains an important priority for the School. Leadership in this arena is key to advancing the School’s mission.
Building a culture of trust: Recent turnover necessitates the strength and savvy of a keen listener and advocate who can build relationships and develop a culture of collaboration among faculty, staff and leadership.
Qualifications, Skills and Knowledge
The School seeks a deft change manager; someone who can collaboratively develop a vision with a group of smart, engaged community members, is able to lead implementation and shepherd the institution as it evolves. The new Assistant Head of School should have curricular vision and be able to communicate that vision. The faculty desire a partner, someone experienced in helping develop continuity, moving a shared vision of divisions working together in a K-12 community.
The Assistant Head of School will be an experienced school leader with strong independent school administrative experience who understands both the primacy of academic excellence that is the timeless hallmark of a good independent school, while also appreciating and promoting innovative curricular and pedagogical practices. This school leader will have proven abilities to supervise and mentor division leaders, department chairs, and faculty with regard to evaluation and professional development and will have been recognized and respected for success in collaboration, communication and thoughtfully managing change.
Focus on DEI
The first sentence of Buckley’s mission reads: “The Buckley School is a dynamic, nurturing learning community committed to equity and inclusion.” The Assistant Head of School must believe deeply in DEI for Buckley. This position requires that the successful candidate has significant experience in and dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion, and a proven ability to implement positive institutional change in this area. The person will be present and involved, particularly, in the attraction and retention of members of the Buckley community, from faculty to staff to students. In fact, Buckley regards retention to be at least as important as recruitment and attraction. The Assistant Head of School will play a central role in the cultivation of a diverse staff and faculty.
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.
Two teachers manage each classroom in kindergarten through third grade; associate teachers in fourth and fifth grade work with the homeroom classes; and a deep roster of talented specialists teach subjects from science and math to art, dance, and theatre. Our talented teachers are active in professional development and, as a group, are engaged in learning about current brain research and its implications for education and the classroom. Based on this learning, we have reduced the amount of homework we assign, and one night each week we give Heartwork assignments that are associated with personal reflection and character development.
Our kindergarten program focuses on social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. In grades one and two, the emphasis shifts to the process of acquiring learning skills and strategies in core academic disciplines. As students gain mastery of reading and writing in the upper grades of Lower School, understanding how to learn and gaining self-knowledge as learners become central as student prepare for the academic challenges of middle school.
Across all grades, students are immersed in a rich program of 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.
The sixth grade Advisory program, seventh grade Life Skills, eighth grade Voices and Choices, and the Middle School Diversity Club provide forums for exploring identity, relationships, and personal choice. Experiential and service learning have become central in the last few years, as the eighth grade spearheaded an effort to clear and renovate Buckley’s Nature Trail. Through a robust STEAM program that includes robotics, a Makerspace, Design Lab class, and sophisticated computer offerings, students are encouraged to innovate and create, and to bring those skills into every discipline.
Space and time are built into the school day to activate passions and imaginations, through programs such as TED Talks and eighth grade Passion Projects, in which students pursue subjects of their own choice and design and present the results to a community audience.
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.
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 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 are already adding .
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
Interested candidates should submit the following materials confidentially as separate PDF attachments in one email:
Cover letter expressing interest in the Buckley position
Statement of educational philosophy and practice
Email to Orpheus Crutchfield firstname.lastname@example.org and Mary Rose Fernandez email@example.com with the subject line: “The Buckley School - Assistant Head of School.”
Applications due: February 15, 2019
Semifinalists interviews: Late February/Early March
Finalists interviews: Mid-Late March
Hiring announcement: Late March/ Early April
In addition, the successful Assistant Head of School candidate will have:
Bachelor’s degree. Advanced degree preferred
Experience as a teacher and teacher-leader in an independent school setting
Expertise in the academic, social, emotional and physical development of students K-12
Deep knowledge of instruction, curriculum, and educational theory
Passion for working collaboratively, communicating transparently, and seeking broad input
High capability to create inclusive processes and make informed decisions
Initiative, internal motivation, and a willingness to take on responsibilities beyond those explicitly defined
The ability to inspire, mentor, and evaluate faculty, staff and administrators
Confidence in working with actively involved parents
Exceptional written and verbal communications skills
Ability to execute responsibilities efficiently, accurately and on or before deadlines
Solid technological background in order to support the use of technology in the classroom. Proficiency with MS Office, particularly Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint, Google Suite, and a general knowledge of computers.
Knowledge of budget management
Interest in advancement, the ability to fundraise, and the willingness to be involved in the school's development effort
The skills and experience to act decisively in partnering with multiple departments addressing personnel, fiscal considerations, public relations opportunities and any other areas of consequence
An approach to work and to life characterized by a sense of humor, playfulness, and curiosity
Additional Salary Information: Generous benefits, including retirement, medical/dental and housing
About Strategenius, for The Buckley School
StratéGenius is the longest-standing search firm focused on administrative and faculty candidates of color for NAIS schools. Our consultants have the deepest relationships with our member schools concerning issues of recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty and staff. We treat our candidates with the utmost respect and place a premium on relationships. StratéGenius has successfully guided thousands of careers for candidates of color and continues to set the pace in developing effective leadership of color, in particular. We focus on schools that have demonstrated seriousness and focus on issues of diversity, inclusion, multiculturalism and equity, visiting all of our members on a rotating-year basis. As a StratéGenius member school, you will get production through a valuing retention over simple recruitment; as an administrative of faculty candidate, you will get focused attention, access and you will never be "a number." We follow you through your career and keep your materials fresh to take advantage of opportunities as well as make sure you avoid pitfalls that hurt other candidates.