The Waverly School, a progressive independent school serving students from preschool through 12th grade, seeks a devoted student-centered educator and leader to serve as its next Elementary School Director starting July 1, 2022.

The new Elementary School Director will lead all aspects of this vibrant division of 180 students in preschool through 6th grade. Working closely with the other division directors and the incoming Head of School-Elect, Clarke Weatherspoon, the Elementary School Director will demonstrate a commitment to the school’s mission and ideals of community, progressive education, and diversity and inclusion.

Established in 1993, Waverly fosters lifelong learning in a child-centered and intellectually challenging environment. With nearly 350 students, the school offers an exceptional faculty, thoughtful programs, and expressive students within three adjacent campuses located in Pasadena, CA. The elementary school, housed on its own campus, boasts an interdisciplinary and thematic curriculum that places an emphasis on active learning experiences for the students. Classes have an 8:1 ratio in the preschool and a 12:1 ratio in grades K–6. Starting in First Grade, classes are multi-age and dual configuration (1st/2nd, 3rd/4th, and 5th/6th), allowing for all developmental levels to be nurtured. Through its well-structured education program — inspired by the philosophies of leading progressive educational thinkers and informed by the contemporary science on learning and brain development — Waverly fosters lifelong learning in a highly child-centered and intellectually challenging environment.

Waverly believes that an equitable and diverse school community makes members better informed, more empathetic, and better prepared to effect positive change in the world. To that end, Waverly seeks out, supports, and celebrates a diverse staff, faculty, and student body. The school is also committed to social justice education (as noted in its Mission Statement) and seeks to provide an environment where all members of the community can engage in dialogue, question, learn, and contribute fully. It prides itself on the fact that its community members feel that “Waverly isn’t a place you go to, it’s a place you belong to.”

The Position


Strategic priorities for the Elementary school Director

  • Continuing the school’s approach of child-centered, progressive education

  • Ensuring continuity and alignment of program across all divisions and campuses

  • Supporting and developing the elementary school faculty

  • Advancing the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the school community

  • Fostering a sense of community within the division

  • Building a relationship with current families

  • Partnering with the incoming Head of School to achieve strategic objectives

  • Sharing Waverly’s stories and value to prospective families the division in these two areas.

HISTORY

Waverly is a progressive, coeducational, college preparatory school in Pasadena, California, serving students and their families from preschool through 12th grade. The school opened in 1993 as a place where children from preschool through 8th grade could grow and explore the joys of learning. The high school was launched in 1997, offering an integrated curriculum designed to challenge curious adolescents while preparing them well for college and life beyond.

Essential Functions

The Elementary School Director is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the division (preschool through 6th grade), including its academic program, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities and programs, as well as hiring and supporting a diverse staff. Reporting to the Head of School, the Elementary School Director serves as the educational and administrative leader of the Elementary School and works collaboratively with the directors of the Middle and High Schools to create alignment in program, practice and culture. Throughout all decisions and practices, the Director must demonstrate a commitment to the school’s mission and ideals of community, progressive education, and diversity and inclusion.

Other duties for the Elementary School Director include:

  • Hire, supervise and evaluate faculty and staff, upholding professional expectations and evaluating all preschool and elementary school curriculum, teaching, and learning

  • Establish and facilitate regular meetings with faculty, students, and staff

  • Liaise with parents and guardians regularly, responding to a broad range of questions and concerns

  • Assess and deploy resources effectively across the division

  • Ensure that the needs of all students are met successfully in multi-age classrooms

  • Create a master schedule for the division

  • Work with the Learning Specialist and School Counselor to ensure that students’ academic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs are addressed proactively

  • Collaborate with the administrative team on schoolwide policy and communications

  • Ensure successful transition for students rising to Waverly’s Middle School

  • Interview admissions candidates, represent the school at admissions events, support retention efforts, and deliberate on admissions decisions

MISSION

The Waverly School cultivates curious, resourceful, confident learners who demonstrate intellectual engagement, critical and creative thinking, respect for individual differences, a strong awareness of personal responsibility, and an active commitment to social justice.

Qualities of the next elementary school director

The next Elementary School Director will be a collaborative and compassionate leader who must relish the joys and opportunities of working with students ages 3.5 –12, and possess a deep understanding of the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development of children within this age group. A thorough appreciation and passion for child-centered, progressive education with a social justice lens will need to be conveyed through a solid understanding and application of educational practice and philosophy, and communicated to current and prospective families.

As the leader of the Elementary School, the Director is the chief community builder within the division. This requires the person to seek out and model inclusive practices throughout all aspects of the program. While the Director will need to be able to have direct and difficult conversations, and make tough decisions when necessary, the candidate will need to be able to do this with respect, thoughtfulness, and integrity. It is important that the faculty and families within the division feel heard and appreciated. With that said, the Director should be capable of continuing to inspire and bring together the faculty, families, and students within the division when there may be disagreements or disappointments. Having a sense of humor and humility, possessing a high-level of emotional intelligence and self-awareness, conveying a sense of pride and optimism for the school and its traditions, and being joyful in one’s approach are imperative for success in this position.

Because the Elementary School covers preschool through 6th grade, has multi-age classrooms starting in 1st grade, resides on its own campus, and as an enrollment that makes up roughly 50% of the total enrollment for the school, there are many moving parts to the program and, therefore, Director’s position. Accordingly, the Director needs to be detail-oriented, flexible, and capable of wearing many hats. Being thoughtful, proactive, and appropriately communicative in one’s approach to systems and policies will help things continue to run smoothly and will sustain the success of the division.

Lastly, the Elementary School Director needs to be committed to the development of the division’s most valuable resource: its faculty. With 11 leader teachers, 6 associate teachers, and 3 specialists, the Director should be committed to progressive education practices. Being proactive and enthusiastic when it comes to visiting classrooms, reviewing curriculum, providing timely and on-going feedback, having a transparent and consistent professional growth process, and providing and supporting professional growth opportunities for the faculty are important.

In addition, the next Elementary School Director will possess:

Bachelor’s degree as a minimum, but an advanced degree is preferred

  • Experience in a progressive school environment

  • Strong teaching experience at the elementary school level

  • Demonstration of administrative success, whether as a senior administrator or in the completion of administrative duties

  • Demonstrated commitment to anti-racist and inclusive practices that support students, faculty, and families of all backgrounds

  • Proven success in developing academic programs

  • Willingness and ability to work in-person on campus

Waverly is a progressive, coeducational, college preparatory school in Pasadena, California, serving students and their families from preschool through 12th grade. Established in 1993, Waverly fosters lifelong learning in a child-centered and intellectually challenging environment. With 340 students, Waverly offers an exceptional faculty, thoughtful programs, and expressive students within three adjacent campuses. Its one-acre farm is within walking distance.

Waverly’s educational philosophy asserts that students learn best when they are actively involved in their education, when they become responsible for their own growth as students, when they are encouraged to work to their highest level, and when their learning is based on life experiences. Children and adolescents develop in stages; Waverly respects and supports each child’s journey through these stages. The educational program incorporates all aspects of human development—intellectual, social, physical, aesthetic, and ethical—and strives to integrate learning by guiding students to be curious about all that the world has to offer.

Each day, students collaborate to study, problem solve, discuss, and make connections. Waverly teachers know students on a personal level, with a keen understanding of their cognitive and social emotional needs. Waverly teachers also model intellectual curiosity, a commitment to a life of meaning with the highest integrity. From preschool through 12th grade, Waverly uses formative assessment to evaluate students. The result is a community in which highly engaged students, teachers, and families learn from one another.

Waverly strives to build a school community that is rich in and supportive of multiple aspects of identity, and to establish institutional practices that foster equity so that all members of the community may fully participate and prosper. The result is a warm, inviting, and engaged community of adults and students.

Waverly is economically diverse and culturally rich, with families coming from many of the Los Angeles area neighborhoods.The Waverly School is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the California Association of Independent Schools and is a member of The Alliance, POCIS, and A Better Chance. The school is within walking distance from the Metro L (Gold) Line Del Mar station.

The Elementary School

In preschool (ages 3.5–5), the focus is on experiential learning, play, and social-emotional growth, consistent with developmentally appropriate practice. Each school year, the preschool teacher team develops a theme that fosters a love of learning and adjusts their curriculum to allow the children to be co-constructors of their own knowledge. Waverly preschoolers spend about half of the day outside. The program is limited to 17 students and staffed by gifted and experienced early childhood educators, including a director/teacher and two full-time teachers. The preschool is located on the elementary school campus and is within walking distance to the school’s one-acre organic farm.

At the elementary level (K-6), teachers develop a social studies theme for the school year and build an interdisciplinary curriculum around the theme. Science, math, the arts, and language arts are all integrated with that theme. Emphasis is placed on active learning experiences for the students. In each elementary classroom and throughout the elementary school, a sense of community is fostered using the Responsive Classroom approach that fosters skill building in conflict resolution, teamwork, collaborative learning, and more.

Arts

Waverly’s visual and performing arts program aims to foster bold, inventive, and confident participants in the arts. Elementary students attend visual arts, vocal music, and instrumental classes with specialists each week. Furthermore, with the school’s music program starting in preschool, it gives students the opportunity to progress through high school.

Athletics

One of the primary goals at Waverly is that students work towards their highest potential. The school believes that participation in sports can contribute significantly to the physical, social, and emotional well-being of students. The athletics program allows students to compete at the middle school level, which includes grades 5 and 6, in several interscholastic offerings including flag football, volleyball, basketball, tennis, and soccer.

School Farm

An important community-building element is the Waverly organic farm. The farm exists to enable students, their families, their teachers, and the broader community to engage nature on multiple levels. The scope of participation in the life of the farm is broad, ranging from active cultivation and organic production to inventive play, hands-on learning, observation of wildlife, and simple appreciation of nature. The farm also creates opportunities for students to interact in ways that nurture cross-generational mentoring, leadership skills, and social harmony. The intent is that the far be inspirational, experimental, educational, and sustainable. A plot for each classroom is available if desired by the teacher.

Location

Pasadena is located 11 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. As a city in its own right, it is home to around 140,000 residents. Pasadena may be best known as the home to the Rose Bowl and the site of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade, but it is also home to numerous scientific and cultural institutions, including the Jet Propulsion Lab, the Pacific Asian Museum, the Art Center College of Design, the Norton Simon Museum, the Huntington Library, and Caltech. The city is also chock-full of interesting, walkable neighborhoods and sits close to both the San Rafael Hills and the San Gabriel Mountains. In all, Pasadena is considered one of the best places to live in California and offers residents a combination of a suburban and urban feel. Efforts at environmental sustainability and historic preservation put the city high on the livability index.

Procedure to apply

SEARCH CALENDAR*

Priority Application Due Date
February 7, 2022

Semi-finalist Interviews
Mid-February, 2022

Finalist Interviews
Late February, 2022

Announcement
Mid-March, 2022

*Approximate dates subject to change

Sports MS Boys Basketball Team Huddle
HS students

Interested candidates are invited to apply by submitting the following materials confidentially as one PDF file through the dedicated application portal:

  • Cover letter expressing interest in the Elementary School Director position at the Waverly School

  • Current resume

  • Statement of educational philosophy and practice

  • Three to five references, identifying your relationship to them and including their phone number and email (candidate will be notified before references are contacted)

  • A writing sample that reflects your voice in your school community (can be current or past correspondence)

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

The Waverly School cultivates curious, resourceful, confident learners who demonstrate intellectual engagement, critical and creative thinking, respect for individual differences, a strong awareness of personal responsibility, and an active commitment to social justice.