Founded in 2003, the Hill View Montessori Charter Public School (HVM), located in Haverhill, Massachusetts, is a public charter school that provides urban students in grades K-8 with a tuition-free, public, Montessori education.
Overview of the Organization and Programs
As a Montessori school, HVM offers its students differentiated curriculum and instruction in multi-age classrooms. Learning is maximized by teaching to each student’s individual academic level and by leveraging each child’s unique learning style. Classrooms are stocked with a complete complement of scientifically-designed Montessori manipulatives and resource materials to facilitate inquiry and provide a concrete understanding of abstract concepts. HVM is committed to character education and integrates this into the Montessori classroom with ongoing lessons in grace, courtesy, respect and responsibility.
By embracing the Montessori educational philosophy enhanced to align with state standards, HVM students attain academic excellence and are intrinsically motivated, independent thinkers who love to learn. In the end, they are socially responsible and mature contributors to the world. Also, at HVM, parental involvement in the educational process and a highly effective, committed staff are at the core of its community. HVM is driven by its four core values, which are to:
- Be a Preeminent Public Montessori School
- Support Holistic Student Development
- Foster School-strengthening Collaboration
- Hire, Support and Retain High-Quality Staff
With an enrollment of about 300 students, HVM’s operating budget is approximately $3.5 million, and school employs about 50 staff members. HVM is overseen by a board of directors currently comprised of nine members−parents, business leaders, community members, educators and supporters from Greater Haverhill. In addition, the Hill View Montessori Foundation, an affiliated 501c(3) organization which raises funds and holds long-term assets for the school, is overseen by a four-member board of directors.
HVM has been very ably led since 2013 by its current executive director, who will retire from her position effective June 30, 2018. A nine-member hiring committee comprised of five board members, two teachers and one representative each from the community partnership and the foundation board.
Strategic Opportunities and Challenges
HVM is at an important juncture as it approaches its third charter renewal in 2018-19. High priorities for the new executive director include:
- Managing effectively and efficiently the daily operations of a standalone charter public school with a $3.5 million budget, a school which educates approximately 300 children daily and employs more than 50 staff members.
- Strategically balancing the accountability standards required of a public school with the philosophy and curriculum of Montessori education, so the school is acknowledged as academically strong by standard measures while also remaining true to its core values.
- As a mature, choice school in the City of Haverhill that attracts an increasing diverse student population, ensuring the entire school community remains informed about and committed to full participation in public, Montessori education.
- Developing and implementing a human resource strategy to recruit, support and retain the highest quality Montessori teachers at the school.
- Building on the strong community spirit that already exists at HVM, strengthening connections and teamwork amongst administrators; with administration and the teaching staff; amongst teachers across the three divisions of the school; and with parents and the boards of the school, so the entire school community is empowered to contribute to achieving the school’s agreed-upon vision.
- Strengthening communication across the entire school community to improve community awareness, provide clarity, and increase participation and support.
- Maintaining a strong public presence within the city, state, charter community and with funders to maintain a positive profile for the school, which will allow HVM to sustain enrollment and grow and diversify non-tuition revenue.
- A minimum of five years of senior executive leadership, preferably in an education-related organization, nonprofit or school.
- Master’s degree in education or a related field.
- Experience with, training in and/or commitment to Montessori education; prior teaching experience a plus.
Skills and Experience
Visionary Educator Committed to Montessori Philosophy
The executive director must be an experienced educator with extensive training or exposure to the Montessori philosophy, culture and curriculum, as well as the ability to incorporate the core values of grace, courtesy, respect and responsibility into leadership practices. The leader must be able to create and articulate a strategic vision and actionable plans, while confidently informing educational best practices to impact individualized child development for an increasingly diverse population of students.
Experience working in a leadership role in a school, with the ability to balance the demands and accountability of a charter public school with the philosophical underpinnings of the Montessori model are key skills sought in an executive director at HVM. The school’s leader must be adept at creating an organizational structure, optimizing staffing patterns, managing human resources, overseeing finances, complying with regulations and accountability plans, and leveraging the input and expertise of the entire school community, particularly parents and the board of directors.
Consensus Builder and Developer of Staff
The executive director must inspire, develop and empower others, while generating trust and respect across the entire organization. The leader will need to be adept at building consensus and committed to valuing the contributions of the entire school community, while also holding all accountable to high standards. In addition, the school leader must be committed to investing the time, resources, and personal wisdom needed to develop and improve individual and collective practice, so the school sustains and retains high-quality teachers, administrators and support staff.
The executive director must be an engaging, motivating and consistent spokesperson with excellent communication skills, possessing the ability to share HVM’s vision to diverse audiences. Whether communicating with parents, students, staff, board members, external partners, donors or the public, the school’s leader must listen carefully, speak persuasively and passionately, anticipate concerns and questions and proactively respond to inquiries. The ability to develop and execute on a school-wide communication plan and implement standard protocols are highly desired traits.
Politically Astute Networking and Mobilizer
The school’s leader must have a strong interest and skill in creating an external presence and strategy for HVM, inclusive of networking with political, business and education leaders in the City and the State. The executive director must be an eager public face for the school, proactively and opportunistically pursuing opportunities while also mobilizing others, especially members of the board of directors and the foundation board, to achieve significant results, inclusive of delivering on a broad-based, yet targeted marketing and fundraising program for the school.
This search is being conducted by TSNE MissionWorks’ Executive Transitions Program with Transition Consultant John Tarvin. All submissions are confidential. Interested candidates should submit materials online.
Please include a resume and a cover letter with salary requirements, where you learned of the position and a description of how your qualifications and experience match HVM’s needs. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
Salary is commensurate with experience, within the framework of the organization’s annual operating budget.
HVM is an Equal Opportunity Employer and actively seeks a diverse pool of candidates.