Located in the beautiful and historic Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City, The School at Columbia University, a K–8 independent school, seeks a dynamic Primary Division Director whose vibrant spirit and innovative leadership will spark each child’s curiosity and awe — fostering confidence, interdisciplinary rigor, socio-emotional development and an extraordinary passion for learning.

The School at Columbia University (TSC) is an innovative and inclusive school intentionally designed to meet the diverse and progressive needs of the families of Columbia University employees and local community members. Guided by its Mission, The School engages its university, local and national partnerships to expand their unique learning experience to a co-ed community through neighborhood lottery and open admissions.

The School seeks a mission-driven, compassionate Director to lead The School’s Primary Division, Grades K–2. Reporting directly to the Head of School, the Primary Division Director is a member of the Senior Administrative Team; the Director works in partnership with other key administrators to ensure the success of the teachers and the welfare of the students in the primary grades.

Founded in 2003, The School is a national leader of inquiry-based, constructivist, progressive pedagogy. The School seeks an experienced early childhood leader, skilled at building a foundation for discovery and a sense of belonging that will guide student development through the elementary years. The Director partners with the leadership team and larger community to foster personal resourcefulness and integrity, a sense of social responsibility, and a lifelong appreciation of learning through an innovative, socially and emotionally supportive, and academically challenging program. The School believes deeply in educating students for a diverse and democratic society. Along with a dedicated leadership team, passionate and talented faculty, and an engaged community, the Primary Division Director will lead a team of approximately 50 faculty and staff and 180 students.

The successful candidate will be devoted to the education of young people, excited about working in a family-centered environment, has experience with best practices in neurodivergent thinking, and is committed to collaborative working relationships with teachers, other administrators, and The School community

The Position

Essential Functions and strategic priorities

Leadership: Serve as the educational leader for the Primary Division, responsible for day-to-day operations, maintaining congruency between The School’s mission and all division activities.

  • Lead academic and curriculum reviews to continually assess opportunities for growth

  • Participate in the recruitment, hiring, support and ongoing evaluation of diverse teachers in a co-teaching model

  • Co-coordinate a two-year teacher induction model with the other directors and a faculty coordinator to promote excellent teaching and progressive pedagogy

  • Monitor and track the progress of students by championing differentiation of instructional practices to meet their neurodivergent and social developmental needs

  • Develop consistent and effective communication strategies with parents and guardians to keep them informed of their child’s academic and socio-emotional progress

  • Represent The School at local, regional, national and international events as determined in conjunction with the Head of School

  • Attend conferences and professional meetings in order to remain current with academic trends, emerging pedagogy, available technology, and diversity and inclusion opportunities that support The School

  • Lead professional development opportunities

  • Oversee the Child Support and Learning Support Teams, including personalized teacher administered assessments, report-writing and family conferences

  • Coordinate student screening, testing, and support services with the Child Support Team for academic and social development

  • Collaborate with the Psychologist, Learning Support Staff, Social Worker and Trainees to facilitate professional learning and development

Administration: Function as the chief articulator of the Primary Division’s programs, expectations, behavioral guidelines, and other information necessary to ensure that all constituencies are fully informed and prepared for success.

  • Be a visible presence in all areas of The School while managing the day-to-day operations of the Primary Division

  • Maintain the budget for the division

  • Oversee, along with a team of teacher leaders, the year-long professional development that revisits the four school pillars: Community, Collaboration, Diversity, and Innovation

Curriculum Innovation: Oversee the implementation of an academically rigorous integrated curriculum, ensuring that mission drives curricular decisions. The curricular focus at The School includes gender sexuality education and social justice.

  • Provide professional development to support inquiry-based, constructivist education, and neurodivergent learning in teaching and learning

  • Work in partnership with the academic leadership team and faculty members to evaluate, advise on, and support the development of an inclusive and multicultural curriculum across all three divisions

  • Coordinate alignment of curriculum, instruction and assessment with faculty to ensure horizontal and vertical alignment of the curricular program

  • Supervise faculty model to ensure co-teaching and other research-based instructional practices are effectively implemented and support students’ needs

Community: Provide strategic leadership in the area of diversity and inclusion. Cultivate belonging, team-building, and collaboration among key stakeholders at The School.

  • Advocate for developmentally-appropriate approaches that serve young children from a range of socio-economic, cultural, and academic backgrounds

  • Plan and implement buddy programming between the youngest and the oldest students in The School

  • Work in partnership with the Parents Association to develop meaningful family engagement that promotes trust building and academic socialization among families with teachers in their first three years at The School

  • Provide leadership that ensures that students and families are oriented to The School, understand mission and pedagogy, and feel known and included in the community

  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Head of School

Qualifications & requirements

The Primary Division and school culture values creativity, intelligence, joy, humor, and organization. The next Primary Division Director will be a passionate, empathic, and welcoming leader, eager to engage in a constructive and collaborative relationship with teachers, parents and guardians, and students. This ideal candidate will be a leader who is decisive and understands the paramount importance of clear verbal and written communication; while also having the flexibility to adapt, change, and grow.

The successful candidate also needs to be able to demonstrate a deep understanding of progressive education, early child development, and a thorough knowledge of mathematics and humanities for this age group and beyond. The Director will appreciate the growing independence of primary students and how that informs teaching and learning in the division. The School’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion needs a champion of these values with the skills and successful experience necessary to ensure The School continues to move this mission-critical work forward.

In addition to the qualities and skills noted above, the ideal candidate will possess and have demonstrated:

  • Successful experience working in Primary or Early Years, with a minimum of eight years of experience in education and at least three years of leadership experience

  • Creativity, organization, and a joyful approach to education

  • Cultural competency

  • Familiarity and savvy with various technology

  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree in educational or school administration a plus

The School at Columbia University (TSC) is an independent K–8 school founded in 2003 with the goal of providing an excellent education to a diverse student body. The School respectfully acknowledges that our school is situated on the ancestral Lenape island of Manaháhtaan, “the place for gathering the wood to make bows,” in Lenapehoking. The TSC community pays respect to and recognizes our continuing connection to Lenape land, language, arts, culture, ancestors and their descendants.

The Lenape land acknowledgement and school mission shape The School’s pedagogical and curricular philosophies, which embrace multicultural perspectives that challenge educators and learners to examine their preconceived notions of race, gender, ethnicity, class, ability, religion, and sexual orientation.

Its intentional school culture embraces shared beliefs across disciplines and grades, which underlie important values expressed through everyday behaviors and visible symbols throughout our community:

  • Collaboration
    Encouraging creative problem-solving in dynamic groups where outcomes are not always predictable, but ultimately greater than any individual perspective could envision.

  • Community
    Promoting inclusivity, facilitating open communication, and providing clear expectations to all members of the community to ensure a healthy, productive environment, inside and outside The School.

  • Diversity
    Reveling in an environment of myriad learning experiences that address important aspects of diversity, including identity development, anti-bias skills, and the idea that difference is better.

  • Innovation
    Taking thoughtful risks grounded in current research, putting new technologies to work in classrooms, and always seeking new approaches to learning to provide a meaningful 21st-century education to all students.

Columbia University Partnership

The School at Columbia University is unique and is among a small group of schools in the world positioned to combine a close school community that meets the needs of each individual student, with the astounding resources of a leading university.

The School’s teachers, in collaboration with Columbia University faculty and graduate students, have created a wide variety of learning opportunities for students. Projects range from field trips and class visits, to ongoing collaborations that shape The School’s curriculum. For example, faculty from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health are pivotal members of The School’s Gender and Sexuality Education committee. Columbia-affiliated personnel have served as primary instructors or coaches for The School’s athletics and Model United Nations teams, among other groups. The University has also provided significant support to The School’s After School Program language courses.

University faculty and staff partner with The School on key Parents Association events, including our biennial Science Expo and Annual Fall Festival, which is free and open to the neighborhood and community. We now hold all of our performing arts concerts (also free and open to the community) and our Grade 8 graduation on the University’s campus. Now in its second decade as a school, The School continues to seek opportunities for greater and stronger relationships with Columbia University.

Faculty and Staff

Nearly 100 full-time and 50 part-time educators comprise The School at Columbia University’s global community. The School’s teachers and staff are accomplished professionals, with a majority holding MA, MSEd, PhD and PsyD degrees. Faculty have authored education articles in publications and journals including Teaching Tolerance, Edutopia, Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, Learning Languages, and more. Collaboration is critical to the work of the faculty, who work within and across grades and divisions to expand learning opportunities for students. The Faculty and Staff are also dedicated community members within The School and locally, and partner with the University and neighborhood organizations on service projects, community initiatives, and public events. Faculty and Staff members and leaders are expected to pursue continual growth and development, as they are expected to innovate and pursue cutting-edge methods, new techniques and technology driven projects for their students.

Procedure to apply


Priority Application Due Date
March 21, 2022

Semi-finalist Interviews
Early April, 2022

Finalist Interviews
Mid-April, 2022

Late April, 2022

*Approximate dates subject to change


Interested candidates should submit the following materials confidentially in one PDF attachment:

  • Cover letter expressing interest in the position

  • Current resume

  • Statement of educational philosophy and practice

  • List of three references including name, title, phone number, email address and professional relationship (references are contacted only with the candidate’s permission)

Please direct any questions via email to jobs@strategenius.org or by phone at 415-881-7105.

The School at Columbia is a special interrelational ecosystem that supports students as they develop into socially responsible, confident and curious learners.