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Founded in 1906, St. Mark's School of Texas is a non-sectarian, college-preparatory, independent day school for boys in grades one through twelve. The School’s charter states that it is “designed to afford its students well-rounded physical, intellectual, moral, and religious training and instruction.” The School is intended to be a diverse community of teachers and students who share a love of learning and who strive for high achievement in whatever they undertake. St. Mark’s aims to prepare young men to assume leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world. To this end, the School professes and upholds certain values. These values include the discipline of postponing immediate gratification in the interests of earning eventual, hard-won satisfaction; the responsibility of defending one’s own ideas, of respecting the views of others, and of accepting the consequences for one’s own actions; and an appreciation for the lively connection between knowledge and responsibility and the obligation to serve.
The School seeks a new head of Lower School who embodies the values of the institution and who will contribute to its overall leadership by supporting and serving a committed and experienced faculty while working closely with all school community members to improve what is recognized throughout the nation as an academically excellent program. The new head of Lower School will join St. Mark’s at an unprecedented time in its 116-year history. With the challenges brought forth by an F3 tornado in October 2019 which caused significant damage to the School, and the worldwide pandemic just six months later which forced the School to reimagine learning experiences for two school years, the new head of Lower School will need to have shown flexibility and adaptability in guiding students through challenging times. Certainly, tending to regular administrative functions, while leading a diverse and talented instructional staff is a high priority. The new head of Lower School should be confident in day-to-day decision making and in long-range strategic directions and outcomes. The sense of collaboration, trust, and collegiality among the school’s senior administrators has only grown stronger these past three years, with the integration of these subtle but critical demands.
The new head of Lower School will report directly to the headmaster and will be responsible for the continued academic, programmatic, administrative and cultural health of the division. In addition to overseeing daily operations of the Lower School, this individual will provide the strategic vision and leadership necessary to create and sustain a nurturing and supportive environment that values both tradition and innovation while also identifying future opportunities for growth and enhancement of existing programs. Direct reports currently include two phase leaders, the Lower School faculty and an administrative assistant.
Specific duties will include the following:
- Serving as a member of the headmaster’s senior leadership team and collaborating with the associate headmaster and the heads of Middle and Upper School in strategic planning as well as focused efforts to achieve horizontal and vertical alignment of the 1-12 curriculum.
- Refining and developing Lower School curricula and programs to ensure a challenging and developmentally appropriate experience for boys.
- Promoting a community in which parents, faculty, staff and students feel safe and valued.
- Hiring, supervising, mentoring and evaluating knowledgeable and committed Lower School faculty and staff in consultation with the associate headmaster and other key administrators.
- Ensuring that administrative structures and processes effectively support both the daily operations and the strategic goals of the division.
- Fostering a growth mindset and encouraging the achievement of professional goals among faculty both through formal development plans and by leading ongoing conversations about best practices and trends in curriculum, pedagogy and educational technology.
- Working collaboratively with Parents’ Association representatives and maintaining open and on-going communication with all Lower School parents with regard to curriculum, programs, school events and individual student issues.
- Being an active and visible presence in all areas of school life, from classrooms to after school activities and events.
- One who has high expectations for himself or herself and whose experience, intellect and dedication to the academic, physical, social and character development of young boys inspire the confidence of others.
- A team-oriented and service-minded individual who leads through influence and collaboration rather than solely exercising the power of his or her office.
- An adept manager who is aware of important division matters at all times while still being comfortable delegating to an experienced and responsible faculty and staff.
- An educator who balances the need for scope, sequence and general consistency in educational approaches with appropriate autonomy and flexibility for faculty members.
- Experience as a teacher and leader in independent schools, including working at the early childhood or elementary school level, with an emphasis on institutions known for their strong academic programs.
- A history of collaborating with department heads, faculty and staff to refine educational policy, curriculum and programs.
- Exposure to hiring, motivating, managing and evaluating an exceptional faculty and staff, ideally including experience designing and implementing professional development programs.
- A track record of working successfully with a variety of constituencies, including administrators, faculty, parents and students.
Skills and Knowledge
- A broad and deep knowledge of elementary education, including an awareness of current best practices, brain research, developmental stages and educational trends.
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
- Strategic thinking skills that allow one to promote a vision, to develop and communicate a strategy and to see a plan through to practical execution, all while exercising the flexibility necessary to respond to shifting priorities and unexpected challenges.
- The ability to contribute meaningfully to a team and culture within the context of an institution’s history, traditions and values, including working effectively with both new and veteran faculty and staff members.
- The ability to balance rigorous academics, developmentally appropriate approaches and a sense of play in educating young boys.
- Strong problem solving and critical thinking skills, including a talent for moving easily between details and “the big picture.”
- A person of unquestioned honesty and integrity who interacts with people in a straightforward fashion.
- One whose high emotional intelligence allows him or her to understand the motivations and perspectives of others and to develop genuine and meaningful relationships with a variety of constituents.
- A servant leader who is self-confident and assured but lacks arrogance or pretension.
- A proactive, energetic and innovative educator who is constantly thinking about the best ways to educate boys, is not afraid to try new approaches and is motivated by what is best for students.
- A good listener who respects differences of opinion, seeks consensus when appropriate and is comfortable making difficult decisions.
- A person who embraces single-sex education, is excited about being in a boys’ school and has a genuine passion for the mission of St. Mark’s.
- Compensation is expected to be in the top decile of NAIS schools in the region.
- A bachelor's degree is required; a master's degree is strongly preferred