CHILDREN'S DAY SCHOOL MIDDLE SCHOOL DIRECTOR - San Francisco, California Start Date: July 2021

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CHILDREN'S DAY SCHOOL MIDDLE SCHOOL DIRECTOR - San Francisco, California Start Date: July 2021
 San Francisco, California

    Start Date: July 2021

CHILDREN'S DAY SCHOOL MIDDLE SCHOOL DIRECTOR - San Francisco, California Start Date: July 2021
At Children’s Day School, what you learn and who you become are equally important.

CDS is a welcoming community in the big city, a farm and garden among urban streets, an advocate
for responsibility to others as well as individual achievement, an independent school with down-to-
earth values, always asking how we can do this better.

We strive for balance so students become both academically successful and grounded. They leave
CDS confident, with the humility to listen and the resolve to speak up for what they see as right.

Learning is Active, Differences Lift Us, Community Matters

Be Just and Courageous, Share Kindness and Joy, Stay Grounded

Children’s Day School (CDS) is a co-educational preschool through eighth-grade school serving over
481 students in the Mission Dolores neighborhood of San Francisco. Spanning two campuses, and
home to a diverse community of students, faculty, and families, CDS is a vibrant learning community
grounded in its newly adopted Mission, Beliefs, and Values.

At CDS, teachers believe that when children are encouraged to fully engage with complex topics in
myriad ways, they are learning the tools to become lifelong learners and passionate citizens of the
world. Through a constructivist education, students at CDS grow into engaged community members
through a unique combination of service, experiential learning, and social justice education.

Assuming the role in July 2021, CDS is seeking an innovative, dynamic, and civic-minded Middle
School Director to provide strategic leadership to build upon the strength of the current program for
grades 5-8 and continue to learn together. The ideal candidate will be a forward-thinking, experienced
middle school administrator aligned with the CDS Beliefs and Values looking to make an impact on
the community. Reporting to the Head of School, this senior administrative position is responsible for
providing outstanding leadership for the students, faculty, and families connected to the middle school.

Children’s Day School is an independent coeducational school for students in preschool through eighth
grade. Founded in 1983 as a preschool, CDS was incorporated in 1996 as a non-profit independent
school with a vision grounded in principles of social justice and socio-economic diversity.

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CHILDREN'S DAY SCHOOL MIDDLE SCHOOL DIRECTOR - San Francisco, California Start Date: July 2021
Fast Facts
 Total students: 481
 Middle school students: 179
 Students of color: 49.9%
 Admin and support staff: 30
 Total faculty: 66
 Faculty of color: 50%
 Faculty with advanced degrees: 53%
 School-wide student/teacher ratio: 1:8

Today, CDS educates 481 students on two campuses. The school provides an intimate and effective
learning environment with low student-to-teacher ratios—1:8 in preschool, 1:12 in kindergarten,
and a schoolwide ratio of 1:8. CDS is characterized by an inclusive environment and is proud of its
commitment to diversity and to welcoming families from across the San Francisco Bay Area, including
from 15 different zip codes. Over a quarter (26%) of students are on sliding scale tuition. Students of
color account for 49.9% of the population, 7.5% are from LGBTQ-headed households, and 5% are from
single-parent households. The 66-member faculty is similarly diverse, with 50% people of color.

Teaching and learning are grounded in the school’s 11 Learning Beliefs. Academics at CDS draw
on the principles of constructivism—an educational philosophy that emphasizes active learning,
interdisciplinary thinking, emotional intelligence, and civic-mindedness. Hands-on, project-based
learning enables students to develop critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills across a
curriculum that includes math, language arts, social studies, science, Spanish, art, music, and physical

The school is accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) and is a member
of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), as well as many national bodies promoting
diversity, curriculum excellence, and professional development.

CDS has a thriving and lively community. Visitors and longtime school members agree that this is one
of the defining characteristics of the school. From the moment you step foot onto campus, the school’s
family-like atmosphere welcomes faculty and staff and offers opportunities to join together to create a
special community.

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CHILDREN'S DAY SCHOOL MIDDLE SCHOOL DIRECTOR - San Francisco, California Start Date: July 2021
All-school and student traditions play a major role in CDS’ strong community. The school has a variety of
activities in which students, parents, and families come together to participate in a learning community.
Examples include Friday Morning Assembly, led by one class each week as students present a project
or classroom topic; County Fair, where the community gathers to celebrate the farm and garden program
and enjoy barbecue, games, and live music; Martin Luther King Jr. and Harvey Milk observances; and
the Passing the Torch Ceremony, where each class imparts wisdom and advice to the class below.

A strong CDS Parent Teacher Trustee Association (PTTA), parent education program, and other
initiatives round out the already robust opportunities the school offers to build community.

School life at CDS embodies diversity and inclusiveness. Through various means, including sliding scale
tuition, the school consciously works to ensure an atmosphere where all members of the community
feel welcome and accepted, and where the students are always at the center of the conversation. CDS
understands that creating such an environment is an ongoing process, so it creates opportunities for
connection, reflection, and dialogue in order to foster a culture of inclusion. Most recently, the school
published its Antiracism Statement which heralds a call to action and gives rise to a series of antiracist
action plans.

The Committee on Inclusion and Diversity (COID) was created by the Board in 2007 in order to ensure
a diverse CDS community and provide strategic direction. Recent or ongoing initiatives include creating
the CDS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Toolkit; partnering with families through Gender Support Plans;
and hosting Adult Education Nights for parents. Further, teachers on COID facilitate professional
development for faculty and staff, lead affinity groups for students, and integrate work on social justice
into the curriculum.
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CHILDREN'S DAY SCHOOL MIDDLE SCHOOL DIRECTOR - San Francisco, California Start Date: July 2021
A commitment to fostering social justice pervades the community. A key priority is for students to
develop a sense of agency and to understand that they can make a difference in the world and have
a duty to try. Teachers consciously construct a curriculum that provides an anti-bias education and
work to build within students an understanding of who they are within the context of a wider world,
empowering them to be active participants in society.

CDS has continually worked to be a leader in developing students’ political awareness and social
engagement. At each grade level, teachers engage students in intentional, age-appropriate discussions
of relevant social issues, often drawn from current events. These explorations are woven into academic
units of study, service learning projects, and community-wide initiatives. By the time students leave
middle school, they have developed social perspectives as well as the agency to thrive—and lead—as
members of the adult world.

CDS’ middle school recognizes each child’s unique approach to learning and prepares students for
high school through a rich and varied program of interdisciplinary work. The core of academics in the
middle school revolves around math, science, humanities, and Spanish.

Each day, students spend time in each of these core areas. Learning in these classes is typically
project based, hands-on, student-centered, and intellectually challenging. Whether students are writing
a history paper, participating in a reader’s workshop, completing a lab, or practicing note-taking, middle
schoolers learn to apply their skills to dynamic and in-depth projects: using GarageBand to perform
rap lyrics exploring Andrew Jackson’s presidency, building a Rube Goldberg machine in the rooftop
garden, creating maps of the solar system, and composing stories in Spanish.

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CHILDREN'S DAY SCHOOL MIDDLE SCHOOL DIRECTOR - San Francisco, California Start Date: July 2021
The core curricular areas are supplemented with a rich study of art, drama, and music throughout the
year. Middle schoolers also rotate through two additional specialist classes each year, spending one
semester in Innovation Lab and one semester in Food and Agricultural Sciences (FAS), an organic
progression of the Lower School Farm and Garden curriculum. In the Innovation Lab, or iLab, students
tackle design and engineering challenges using a variety of equipment. In FAS, students work in
collaboration with plant- and micro-biologists, scientists, universities, and food experts to investigate
the science behind where food comes from and learn how their choices about food affect their health,
the environment, and their communities.

“Project Times,” scheduled periodically through the school year, enable students to further focus on a
particular area of the curriculum or to explore topics that are not covered in other parts of the middle
school curriculum. Recent project time experiences have included trail running, going on an art walk,
hiking, and creating student-used voter pamphlets in English and Spanish.

The advisory program fosters mutual respect and caring in an age group often known for bullying and
social tensions. Throughout the school day, CDS middle schoolers are active participants in discussions
and activities, are eager to contribute and share their ideas, and forge connections with their teachers
and peers. A weekly “Navigating” class period dedicated to study skills, social-emotional development,
and media literacy supplements the advisory program.

At CDS, the high school counseling program begins in the spring of a student’s seventh grade year to
develop a list of high schools, review the admissions process, and set expectations. In eighth grade,
students participate in a Selectives class called “Navigating High School Admissions” and have many
opportunities to discuss everything from applications and recommendations to decisions about high
schools. The goal of the high school counseling process is to make sure each student finds a high
school that is the right fit for them. CDS is proud to have students admitted to a wide range of leading
independent, parochial, and public high schools.
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CHILDREN'S DAY SCHOOL MIDDLE SCHOOL DIRECTOR - San Francisco, California Start Date: July 2021
High School
                                                                The independent and faith-based
                                                                high schools offering places to
                                                                the graduates of the Classes
                                                                of 2016-2020 include but aren’t
                                                                limited to:

                                                                Academy of Thought and
                                                                Bishop O’Dowd High School
                                                                Cate School
                                                                Convent of the Sacred Heart
                                                                Crystal Springs Uplands School
                                                                Drew School
                                                                Head Royce School
                                                                International High School
                                                                Jewish Community High School
                                                                Lick-Wilmerding High School
                                                                Lusher Charter School
                                                                Marin Academy
                                                                Maybeck School
                                                                Mercy High School
ATHLETICS                                                       New Hampton School
                                                                Northfield Mount Hermon
CDS Bulldog Athletics is an after school sports program that    Proctor Academy
offers four sports over three seasons during the academic       Sterne High School
year. Students can participate in co-ed cross-country, co-ed    Stevenson School
volleyball, girls’ and boys’ basketball, and girls’ and boys’   Stuart Hall High School
futsal, a game similar to indoor soccer.                        The Bay School
                                                                The Bentley School
All middle school students are welcome to participate in the    The College Preparatory School
CDS After School Sports Program which follows a no-cut          The Nueva School
policy. Starting in fifth grade, students may participate in    The Urban School of San
junior varsity cross country and developmental teams for          Francisco
volleyball, basketball, and futsal. Sixth and seventh-grade     The Webb School
students may participate at the junior varsity or varsity       University High School
levels for all four sports. Eighth-grade students may only      Waldorf High School
participate at the varsity level for all four sports.
                                                                Public schools include:
CDS is part of the San Francisco Athletic League (SFAL).        Balboa High School
Other participating schools include Live Oak, Burke’s,          City Arts and Tech High School
Lycée Français, SF Friends School, SF School, Kittredge,        Design Tech High School
Synergy, CAIS, Presidio Hill School, and KIPP Academy.          George Washington High School
                                                                Leadership High School
                                                                Lowell High School
                                                                Mills High School
                                                                Oakland Technical High School
                                                                Ruth Asawa School of the Arts

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CHILDREN'S DAY SCHOOL MIDDLE SCHOOL DIRECTOR - San Francisco, California Start Date: July 2021
Children’s Day School ensures students have opportunities to explore, make their own decisions, and
grow confident in their skills and passions. Believing that an effective education includes experiences
outside the classroom, CDS offers a multitude of chances for students to continue to learn and discover.

The Extended Day Program offers a balance of age-appropriate organized activities and supervised
free play. The after-school program provides academic and recreational activities. Teachers take full
advantage of the school’s facilities and protected acre of land, offering options including team games,
art and music, cooking, gardening, and specialty enrichment classes. These classes, taught by CDS
teachers, community teachers, and instructors from local organizations, meet for approximately one
hour a week after school.

The CDS footprint is an important part of San Francisco’s Mission Dolores neighborhood. The school’s
founding campus, which houses preschool through fourth grade, is located at 333 Dolores Street,
directly across from the historic Mission Dolores and behind Notre Dame Plaza. The 1.2-acre campus
includes the preschool (housed in three bungalow classrooms), St. Joseph’s Hall (home to kindergarten
through fourth grade), and the Farm and Garden.

Visitors to campus will find students outside on the basketball courts and doing farm chores. Inside St.
Joseph’s Hall, children meet in small groups to work on projects, conduct science experiments, and
gather for morning meeting. The founding campus is also a gathering location for parents to mingle
over coffee after Friday drop-off or attend a parent education event.
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CHILDREN'S DAY SCHOOL MIDDLE SCHOOL DIRECTOR - San Francisco, California Start Date: July 2021
In 2011, CDS acquired an 18,000 square-foot building at 601 Dolores Street, just a few blocks down
from the founding campus. Renovation was completed in 2015 and the building now houses the middle
school. Founders’ Hall provides space for students to gather and perform, and the Innovation Lab
encourages collaboration and sharing of knowledge. Middle school students also enjoy two state-of-
the-art science labs, a rooftop garden, a teaching kitchen, nine dynamic classrooms, and breakout
study spaces.

In 2008, the school purchased an adjacent building on 16th Street for administrative offices and student
learning spaces.

Both campus locations and the Community Library & Center for Inquiry allow CDS to enhance its
involvement in the Mission neighborhood. Students are regularly involved in projects that impact their
local community, from working with neighboring senior citizens to gathering food and clothing for those
in need.

Though small in physical area—a compact seven-by-seven-mile grid of narrow streets and avenues
at the tip of a peninsula—San Francisco’s impact on the nation’s economic, technological, social, and
political landscapes is immense. Today the city is a hub for progressive social movements, high tech,
and global commerce.

Many characteristics define San Francisco in the American psyche—the elegant Golden Gate Bridge,
Victorian row houses, cable cars, rolling fog, Alcatraz Island, and majestic redwood forests. While a
popular tourist destination, the city also ranks high on lists of the country’s—and world’s—most livable

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CHILDREN'S DAY SCHOOL MIDDLE SCHOOL DIRECTOR - San Francisco, California Start Date: July 2021
cities. Comprised of 11 distinct and colorful neighborhoods including the famous Chinatown and Haight
Ashbury districts, San Francisco offers a thriving economy, a vibrant and open-minded cultural scene,
and an exceptionally mild year-round climate.

The city attracts a diversity of people, from entrepreneurs and environmentalists to artists and engineers,
from foodies and families to anyone drawn to an active, outdoorsy lifestyle. While traffic and parking in
the city can be challenging, San Francisco boasts one of the nation’s most sophisticated public transit
systems. The city’s compact layout and pleasant weather make it pedestrian-friendly in most months
as well. In addition to San Francisco’s well-known tourist attractions, the city boasts a vibrant music
and arts scene and is a popular site for cultural events and festivals. San Francisco residents tend to
be avid fans of the Giants (MLB) and the 49ers (NFL).

Mission Dolores is the oldest neighborhood in San Francisco (yet still described as one of the “coolest”)
and is a sub-area of the much larger Mission District. Small but mighty and energetic, this neighborhood
offers an abundant supply of attractive and well-maintained homes, including classic Victorians and
Edwardians. Because of its hills, Mission Dolores provides striking views of San Francisco’s downtown
and the East Bay beyond. With its central location, a variety of amenities, attractions, and world-class
cultural outlets are within walking distance, including shopping and restaurants. Dolores Park provides
sunny green space for San Franciscans to gather, picnic, walk, and enjoy the spectacular skyline.

•   Joining a school with a well-established and distinctive vision for progressive education, an adult
    community that models the Learning Beliefs it cultivates in its students, and an engaged, lively, and
    diverse school and neighborhood community.

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•   Establishing an understanding of and presence in the Children’s Day School community even as it
    continues to navigate the complexities of COVID-19.
•   Leading a dedicated middle school faculty and support staff by building strong individual relationships,
    developing clear and consistent reciprocal communication patterns, providing opportunities for
    growth and leadership, and cultivating a culture of high standards and accountability.
•   Fostering partnerships with middle school parents and promoting engagement and cohesion among
    the parent community.
•   Envisioning and developing the next evolution of the middle school program in collaboration with the
    middle school faculty and staff, the school’s senior leadership, and other constituencies. Capitalizing
    on existing strengths and palpable growth opportunities, this could include –
    o a reimagined schedule that prioritizes interdisciplinary, project-based learning and inquiry and
       that reflects current thinking on adolescent learning, health, and wellbeing.
    o a capstone experience geared to place an exclamation point on each student’s CDS experience
       and launch them into their high school years.
    o new systems and structures that promote ongoing professional learning and collaboration within
       the middle school.
    o refining signature programs (i-Lab and FAS) to maximize engagement and student learning
    o student leadership/ownership/service/community-based engagement.
    o inspiring a culture of collaboration, innovation, and whole school engagement.
•   Representing the middle school as a part of the school’s evolving and growing senior leadership
    team that will include the newly announced Assistant Head for Community, Equity, and Belonging.
•   Engaging proactively with educators and families in ongoing learning about adolescent development,
    pedagogical approaches.

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The essential duties/responsibilities of the position include, but are not limited to, the following:

Program Support and Design
• Ensure that students are at the center of the planning, vision, and the daily life of the school.
• Work with and develop teachers and support staff to ensure that the middle school’s program and
   culture are optimally supportive of the physiological, cognitive, social, and emotional needs of
• Support and cultivate a culture of high standards and accountability for students, faculty, and staff.
• Articulate and implement a comprehensive vision for the Middle School that connects and holds
   accountable the existing program to the school’s Mission, Beliefs and Values.
• Collaborate with and support the Director of High School Placement to build connections with local
   high schools, support students and families through the high school application process, and engage
   faculty in the process to support students.

Faculty Development, Nurturing, and Retention
• Model an inquiry stance and curiosity about life and learning.
• Develop faculty experience and expertise in inquiry-based learning.
• Support and guide the faculty individually and in teams to effectively implement the distinctive CDS
   inquiry-based programs such as community engagement, food and agricultural science, design,
   and social justice.
• Support leadership development in teachers by promoting team leadership roles and structured
   mentor programs.

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Collaborative Partnership
• Support the sense of community among the teachers, parents, and students.
• Provide appropriate responses, actions, and support when needed to faculty, student and parental
• Foster greater collaboration and coordination with the early childhood and lower school divisions.
• Engage proactively to build and nurture community partnerships with mission-aligned groups.

Admission and Enrollment Management
• Represent the middle school at admission events, including tours and open houses.
• Serve as part of the admission committee, including participating in student visit days/assessments,
  interviewing prospective parents/guardians, and collaborating with the admission team on lower
  school admission decisions.
• Support school-wide retention efforts and help lead middle school retention efforts.

Along with excellent organizational and leadership skills, the ideal candidate will have a background
that demonstrates most, if not all, of the following:

•   Alignment with CDS’s Mission, Beliefs, and Values and the ability to synthesize and articulate them
    so as to inspire and lead the faculty in implementing them.
•   Demonstrated leadership experience in the areas of change, transition, and/or innovation.
•   A warm, approachable presence on campus, knowing and enjoying the faculty, staff, parents, and
    students of the school.
•   A consultative and collaborative leader who invites and respects the views of others yet is decisive
    when needed.
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•   Strong familiarity with significant educational and technology trends in independent schools and
    middle schools, in particular.
•   Effective and responsible oral and written communication with faculty members, students and
    parents in a clear, concise and timely manner, keeping these groups appropriately informed of
    potential issues and needs.
•   Ability to participate effectively in and contribute to the highly functioning senior leadership team.
•   Teaching and administrative experience at the middle school or high school level.

The following skills and experience are required:

•   Bachelor’s degree required (master’s degree preferred).
•   5-7 years of experience as a lead teacher.
•   3 years of experience in a leadership role in a middle school or equivalent experience.
•   Excellent written and oral communication skills.
•   Proficiency in technology.
•   Experience with inquiry-based learning, and familiarity with Responsive Classroom, Bridges and
    CPM Math and the Lucy Calkins Writer and Readers workshop approach (and/or interest in being
•   Spanish speakers preferred.

Interested and qualified candidates are invited to contact the consultants in confidence. Candidates will
ultimately need to submit the following materials as separate PDF documents:

•   A cover letter expressing their interest in this particular position;
•   A current résumé;
•   A one-page statement of educational philosophy and practice;
•   A list of five professional references with name, relationship, phone number, and email address of
    each (references will not be contacted without the candidate’s permission) to:

Lawrence Alexander
Search Consultant

Chris Boyle

Seliat Dairo

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