The following items offer sample language from a variety of sources to help craft or review a position description. Several examples are provided to allow schools to choose those that best match the culture of the school and the requirements of the specific position. 

Job Summary Example

The head of the lower school is the educational and administrative leader of the division with responsibility for the students, faculty, programs, and parent relations. The three division heads (lower, middle, upper schools) report directly to the head of school and form the core of the administrative team. The next head of lower school will have the opportunity to help shape an exciting and creative future for the program while building upon a tradition of success and excellence. The head of lower school enjoys the support and benefits of working with an experienced, talented, cohesive, and dedicated faculty.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Mission and Leadership

  • Maintain congruency between the school’s board-approved mission statement and all activities of the division.
  • Be a visible presence in all areas of the school.
  • Advocate for the division while working collaboratively within the school’s leadership team to establish and execute broader institutional goals.
  • Provide an orderly, controlled environment in which learning can take place in a school climate that is supportive and reflects high morale.
  • Make recommendations to the head of school regarding the hiring and retention, and the assignment of faculty.
  • Keep the head of school informed of the general programs, activities, and concerns of the division.
  • Agree and support the mission, vision, and core values of the school.
  • Promote a school climate that is safe, supports learning, and emphasizes character development.
  • Develop close relationships with families and actively seek resolution of routine and unique problems as they arise.
  • Communicate proactively with students, parents, faculty, and staff.
  • Ensure a smooth student and family transition between divisions.
  • Further develop the school’s positive engagement with parents.
  • Create and embrace meaningful connections with families.
  • Commit to being visible and accessible to all, including faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, and visitors to campus.
  • Meet and coordinate with other division heads on a regular basis to ensure mission clarity and consistency across divisions.
  • Co-create, support, and implement a vision for the division that speaks to the school’s overall mission and vision.


  • Act as the educational leader of the school division, responsible for its day-to-day operation.
  • In conjunction with the business office, direct the activities of the school’s non-instructional staff in the performance of their duties.
  • Ensure compliance with legal requirements of government regulations and agencies, and maintain the educational standards established by the state and by those agencies that examine and accredit the school.
  • Maintain a comprehensive calendar of school events and keep the entire school community informed of various school programs and activities.
  • Oversee the coordination of the co-curricular and extra-curricular activity programs, including the planning and the presentation of school assemblies and programs.
  • Develop instructional and co-curricular schedules.
  • Supporting the budgeting process by determining and monitoring the division budget.
  • Plan and manage the divisional budget, approve all purchases and any allocations required to meet the needs of the division, and work with the business office to ensure proper facilities provisions.
  • Experience related to compliance with various accreditation agencies.

Curriculum and Pedagogy

  • Be knowledgeable and able to articulate advances and trends in pedagogy and education.
  • Review and evaluate the academic programs, including horizontal and vertical curricular flow.
  • Lead the academic policies and curriculum committee in the articulation of the school mission, school goals, department goals, course objectives, materials, methods, and means of assessment.
  • Ensure consistency in programming across the division and vertically in coordination with other division heads.
  • Engage with research and innovation about the future of education.


  • Observe, supervise, and evaluate the faculty.
  • Establish programs for the in-service training and evaluation of classroom teachers.
  • Serve as a consultant to teachers in matters of classroom management, teaching methods, and general school procedures.
  • Ensure that teachers are familiar with and adhere to school policies in all areas of the school’s operation.
  • Strive for unity, harmony, and cooperation through tact, helpfulness, respect, and the recognition of individual differences and the special abilities and strengths of each teacher.
  • Conduct regular meetings with faculty that address routine school matters and explore issues of educational and philosophical interest and concern.
  • Coach faculty through observation, evaluation, growth goals, and opportunities for professional development.
  • Foster a professional, respectful, and appreciative environment that values the contributions of all team members.
  • Build trusting relationships with faculty and staff, identifying their needs and strengths, and supporting their work.
  • Interview and recommend prospective teaching candidates to the head of school.
  • Consistently assess where teachers are, what they need to move forward, and how to allocate resources to meet those needs.
  • Supervise specialist teachers who teach across multiple grades and divisions.


  • Be aware of the educational, physical, social, and psychological needs of the school community and develop plans for meeting those needs.
  • Maintain complete academic records on all students.
  • Oversee the grading and the reporting of standards and methods used by teachers in measuring student achievement.
  • Establish guidelines for proper student conduct and dress.
  • Maintain accurate records of student attendance.
  • Center the best interests of students in every decision and interaction.
  • Observe and evaluate individual students displaying academic difficulties and collaborate with the academic support department to assess their learning strengths and challenges.
  • Collaborate with student services to promote an integrated approach to learning support.
  • Become immersed in student life and get to know students well.
  • Follow child safety and reporting requirements in the case of suspected child abuse or neglect.
  • Work with professionals outside the school to support students.
  • Review class placement at the end of the year to maintain healthy and balanced classrooms.
  • Possess a deep understanding of human development, including a particularly strong understanding of their intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development.
  • Relish the joys and challenges of working with students


  • Assist in the admission process for the testing, interviewing, and evaluating of applicants for enrollment.
  • Collaborate with the enrollment management team on admissions and retention of mission appropriate students.
  • Ability to share the school’s philosophy and practice with prospective families.

Other Duties or Responsibilities

  • Perform other duties as assigned by the head of school.
  • Serve on the administrative team, the education committee of the board of trustees, and the admission committee.
  • Teach at least one class.
  • Regularly attend conferences and other professional development events to remain current with industry trends and best practices.
  • Facilitate parent education programs.
  • Work with the advancement team on areas of fundraising that directly impact the division.
  • Work collaboratively with the auxiliary program coordinator for the curricular and extra-curricular activity programs of the division.
  • Assist in the planning and the presentation of school assemblies and programs.
  • Attend appropriate school functions, including evening and weekend events.

Common Qualification Requirements

  • Master’s degree in education or school administration
  • 5 – 10 years’ experience as a lead teacher (including teaching experience in the division)
  • 2 – 5 years’ experience as an administrative leader, preferably in independent schools
  • Possess a strong understanding of the developmental needs of elementary aged student (middle school aged, adolescent, etc. depending on division)
  • Proven success working collaboratively in educational leadership

Sample Skill Requirements

  • Dynamic instructional leader with a solid understanding of the developmental and curricular needs of students of the division
  • Outstanding leadership skills
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills
  • Excellent organizational and presentation skills
  • Strategic thinker and empathetic problem solver
  • Comfort and confidence in asking questions and seeking support 
  • Does not avoid making decisions to sidestep conflict
  • Capable of making tough decisions that support the school’s mission
  • An approachable, empathetic, and down-to-earth disposition, with a healthy balance of humility and confidence
  • Experience coaching teachers
  • Meet everyday stress with emotional stability, objectivity, and optimism
  • Ability to respond thoughtfully and decisively to the diverse needs of faculty, students, and their families 
  • Possess qualities of enthusiasm, courtesy, flexibility, integrity, gratitude, kindness, self-control, perseverance, and punctuality
  • Proven ability to work and communicate well with young children through adolescents, as well as their parents
  • Collaborative and relational style built on active solicitation of input and excellent listening skills
  • Knowledge of and commitment to diversity and inclusion practices
  • Ability to problem solve, build consensus, and work in collaborative partnerships across all constituent groups
  • Comfortable using and learning new or best-practice technology
  • Uphold professional standards of personal presentation, punctuality, professional courtesy, and discretion
  • Model a growth mindset and comfort with change
  • Inspire and motivate others
  • Value and respect children in the developmental ages and stages present in the division
  • Positive outlook on life with a good sense of humor
  • Ability to set clear priorities and define an appropriate pace of change that balances progress and innovation with reflection and sensitivity to the community
  • A track record of leading, developing, and implementing innovative educational ideas
  • A deep appreciation and passion for education, particularly in an independent school environment
  • History of building a warm and supportive culture as well as inspiring students and faculty to practice a growth mindset
  • Excellent project management skills and the ability to manage multiple initiatives.
  • Capacity for strategic thinking with the ability to look to the future, anticipate needs, develop new initiatives, and implement short- and long-term plans

A Day in the Life Example

  • Greet students, parents, and caregivers at arrival and dismissal along with other members of the faculty and leadership team. 
  • Facilitate a parent education forum on the developmental characteristics of children and issues relevant to parents and caregivers of students this age.
  • Join an admissions event for prospective families to discuss pedagogy and practice.
  • Convene the divisional student support team to discuss students of interest, devise learning or behavioral plans, and check on progress toward goals.
  • Make impromptu classroom visits and engaging teachers in conversation about their practice.
  • Physical Requirements: Daily desk work including significant amounts of telephone and computer time; as part of daily routines, moving around a large campus with uneven pavement and managing stairs; frequent walking inside and outside as part of general job duties and responding to students and/or incidents. 

Sample Requested Documents

  • Cover letter indicating the candidate’s particular interest, qualifications, experience, and how they are a fit for this position
  • Current resume or CV
  • Statement of educational philosophy
  • Personal statement about your leadership philosophy and style
  • 3-5 references