HEAD OF SCHOOL SEARCH: OPPORTUNITY STATEMENT

OCTOBER 2020

About the Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor

The Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor (HDS) is a kindergarten to 5th grade Jewish Day School located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  HDS was founded in 1974 by a dedicated group of educators and others.  Since 1986, the school has been housed in a wing of the Jewish Community Center of Ann Arbor.  HDS is a trans-denominational institution, committed to being a place where every Jewish child will feel at home.  The school currently has 56 students, from families affiliated with a variety of Jewish denominations.  The Hebrew Day School is the pride of our small but mighty Jewish community. The school is nurturing, innovative, ambitious, and filled with the joy of learning.

The following video provides information about HDS: https://vimeo.com/170827159

Mission and Philosophy

Mission Statement

The mission of the Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor is to nurture the development of knowledgeable, caring and committed Jewish children in a dynamic learning environment. Through exceptional general and Judaic studies and Hebrew language immersion, students will create a meaningful and joyous connection to their heritage and build a strong foundation for lifelong learning and involvement in the wider community.

Our Educational Philosophy

HDS provides a Jewish and secular elementary school education, with instruction in conversational Hebrew. HDS prizes academic excellence, critical thinking, joy in the learning process, strong traditional Jewish education, and the building of confident children.

The following Videos provide students’ perspectives of their HDS education: 

The Mensch Code – https://vimeo.com/328650839

Differentiated Learning – https://vimeo.com/328036546

My Favorite Thing about HDS – https://vimeo.com/320335007

Multiage Learning – https://vimeo.com/328650770

Inquiry-Based Science – https://vimeo.com/328650683

Anchored by standards and grade-level expectations, yet flexible enough to meet and teach all students where they are, our curriculum is continually evaluated, updated and refreshed.  High expectations coupled with a supportive environment allow students to move beyond their comfort zones and rise to the challenges before them. Our emphasis is on process: the process of thinking, the process of developing skills, the process of understanding.  

HDS provides students and families with:

  • A nurturing, attentive, and supportive learning environment.
  • A strong, vibrant community.  HDS families form a tight and supportive community, and the children see HDS as a second home.
  • Playful learning, ethics-based conversations, deep intellectual work, and curious exploration.
  • Recognition of each student’s gifts. We celebrate our students for who they are as individuals and for their contributions to the group.
  • Learning that is active, alive, contextual and relevant. Through our multi-faceted dual curriculum, students develop the skills and habits of lifelong learners.
  • Reinforcement of students’ Jewish values and identities. Our goal is to support the development of mensches

Follow this link to read testimonials about HDS: 

https://hdsaa.org/admissions/hds-experience/stories/

Head of School Position

HDS is seeking a new Head of School to begin July 1, 2021.  The current Head of School is retiring from the school after 21 years at HDS, as a teacher, principal, and most recently as Head of School.  The job is an excellent opportunity for a candidate with vision and moxie.  The Ann Arbor community is educationally oriented, and the University of Michigan has a large number of Jewish faculty whose children constitute an enviable core population for any school.  The Board of Trustees is committed to realizing the school’s full potential.  We are accordingly seeking an inspirational leader with the energy, administrative skills, and drive to advance the school’s mission.  

The Head of School serves as the lead professional of HDS, providing the leadership, management, and administrative skills to ensure the school’s success.  The Head of School has the authority to employ and discharge other personnel, to propose a budget, and generally to conduct the business of the school.  

The Head of School is the leader of the school community, representing and embodying the mission of the school. The Head is the spokesperson for the school with all constituencies including students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, governmental agencies, and local, state, regional and national educational organizations and accrediting agencies. Though much of the work is properly delegated, the Head of School has ultimate and overall responsibility for board relations, curriculum and instruction, student life, business affairs, admissions, and advancement. 

No particular denominational affiliation is a prerequisite for the position of Head of School, or indeed for any other position within the school.  HDS is committed to serving a broad range of Jewish families, comfortably and joyfully.  More important than the Head of School’s own orientation toward Judaism is his or her ability to act as a leader for people with many different orientations within the Jewish world.  

The following are key responsibilities for the Head of School:

Education

HDS is a kindergarten to fifth grade school, with a dual-language curriculum.  The Head of School is responsible to lead the evolution and consistent improvement of the Judaic and general studies curricula.  He or she should be knowledgeable about the theory and practice of elementary education and be able to communicate clearly and lead skillfully, where educational issues are concerned.  The Head of School will work with staff, students, and parents to sustain an educational climate that is joyful and rigorous in Jewish and general studies.  He or she should foster a vibrant sense of Jewish life.

The Head of School is responsible to recruit, retain, and develop faculty members who can carry out the educational mission of the school.  He or she must support the faculty’s educational decision-making as individuals and as a team.  The Head of School should evaluate teachers regularly, support their continuing professional growth, and build a sense of a team that works collaboratively to implement the school’s educational vision.

Administration 

The Head of School structures, organizes, and leads the school’s administrative team.  He or she should be able to delegate responsibility, and also to supervise and motivate the people to whom responsibility is delegated. An important portion of the Head of School’s administrative responsibilities is financial.  The Head of School proposes an annual budget to the Board of Trustees and must then operate the school within the budget that is approved.  

Development

The Head of School is an important part of the school’s fundraising efforts.  Development efforts are jointly managed by the Head of School and the Board of Trustees.  

Governance

The Head of School is the only employee of the school to report to the Board of Trustees.  The Board of Trustees is a strategic body, not an operational one.  Its functions are to hire, support, and evaluate the Head of School; to provide the school with the resources that it needs to pursue its mission; to promote the school in the wider community; and, in conjunction with the Head of School and other stakeholders, to chart the long-term future of the institution.  The Current Board of Trustees consists of 11 members (see https://hdsaa.org/about-us/board-of-trustees/).

The Head of School is an ex officio, non-voting member of the board and all board committees. He or she should be an active partner of the Trustees in their deliberations and a leader in the development of long-term plans and strategic projects.  

Communication with Multiple Stakeholders – Embodying the Mission of HDS

HDSAA is the only full-time Jewish elementary school in Ann Arbor.  The entire Ann Arbor Jewish community should feel ownership of the school, and the school deeply values pluralism and inclusiveness.  This environment requires a leader who communicates easily with people from many different Jewish backgrounds.  The Head of School should have a leadership style that is warm, caring, perceptive, open, and team-oriented; should be sensitive to the academic, spiritual, and emotional well-being of students and their families; and must provide clear communication with students, parents, and the broader school community.  The Head of School should assume a leadership position in, and build strong relationships with, the broader Jewish community and its schools, synagogues, and other organizations. 

Qualifications

The ideal candidate for HDS Head of School is a professional educator with administrative skills and experience.  The Head should also be an effective communicator, a credible representative of the mission of the school, and a passionate leader who inspires others. The natural ability to build and foster relationships across the community and within HDS would be a highly desirable attribute for the new Head of School

We are seeing a candidate with Experience in the following specific areas: 

  • Teacher development
  • Implementation of practices that carry an educational vision
  • Managing an administrative team, including effective delegation and supervision
  • Staff recruiting, hiring, and onboarding
  • Working with multiple stakeholders including relationship building across the community
  • Creating and overseeing budgets
  • Fundraising and development

About Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a city of 120,000 residents located in southeast Michigan.  Ann Arbor is about 45 minutes from Detroit, Michigan’s largest city and just 25 minutes from the Detroit Metro Airport, a Delta hub.  Ann Arbor is the home of the University of Michigan, the premier state university in Michigan.  Southeast Michigan has a large and vibrant Jewish community, both in the Detroit metro area and in Ann Arbor. 

The character of Ann Arbor is shaped by the University of Michigan, the largest employer.  High tech, health services, and biotechnology are other major components of the city’s economy. Ann Arbor exudes a charm that has turned many students into lifelong residents.  It’s a friendly town with big-city sophistication.  There is never a shortage of things to do in Ann Arbor.  Concerts with internationally-known musicians, Broadway touring companies, museums, and experimental theater all are available.  Ann Arbor hosts an internationally acclaimed art fair every summer, named by American Style one of the nation’s “Top 10 Fairs and Festivals.”   And unlike many residents of large metropolitan areas, Ann Arborites have access to these resources within just a few minutes’ drive—or bicycle ride—of their homes.  

Ann Arbor is also a beautiful city, with the nickname “Tree Town.” There are arboretums, tree-lined streets, intimate boutiques, galleries, bike paths along the Huron River, and more than 157 municipal parks.  During the academic year it bustles with the energy of a major research university, and in the summer there are open-air farmers’ markets, outdoor concerts and movies, and one of the best Art Fairs in the country.  Livability.com ranked Ann Arbor #1 amongst its 2018 list of the top 100 places to live in the United States (https://livability.com/best-places/top-100-best-places-to-live/2018/mi/ann-arbor).  

Jewish Ann Arbor includes Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Reform congregations, a Jewish Community Center, and an active Jewish Federation.  Ann Arbor boasts a number of Jewish summer day camps for children, and kids from around the community attend Jewish sleep-away camps throughout the Midwest. There are several youth groups affiliated with denominational movements as well as Habonim-Dror.  The University of Michigan has a vibrant Jewish Studies center and one of the most respected and popular Hillel houses in the country. The Detroit suburbs are 40 minutes away and offer multiple Jewish day schools that extend to middle school and high school levels, as well as kosher restaurants, kosher supermarkets, and a wide array of other Jewish services. 

Position Details

  • Position: Head of School
  • Institution: Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor
    • Website
      • https://hdsaa.org
    • Address
      • 2937 Birch Hollow Drive, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108
    • Phone
      • 734-971-4633
  • Duration: full-time
  • Benefits: medical, tuition
  • Preferred Experience: Professional (6-10 years)
  • Preferred Degree: Masters
  • Date Job Posted: November 10, 2020
  • Salary range: range available upon request (depends on education, experience)

How to Apply

Applicants should send a cover letter and curriculum vitae/resume to the following email address:

searchcommittee@hdsaa.org