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Head of School - SEED School of Cincinnati #charter #education (closed)

Cincinnati, OH
Recruiter Comment: Looking for a leadership role in charter education?

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Job Description

The SEED Foundation -- a catalyst for change in urban education -- is on the threshold of national expansion. In addition to operating high-performing schools in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, SEED is actively developing new schools in both Ohio and Florida. The success of the SEED model has been showcased in media outlets and publications such as 60 Minutes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and in the documentary film, Waiting for Superman.  The President of the United States has hailed SEED as “a true success story.”


SEED’s innovative model integrates a rigorous academic program with a boarding program that teaches life skills and provides students with a safe and secure environment.  Our model includes academic, residential, mental health, physical health, social, and enrichment programs, all available on-campus. SEED emphasizes positive contact with families and community leaders, thereby strengthening students’ support structures and surrounding communities.


In 1998, SEED opened the nation’s first public, college-preparatory, tuition-free boarding school for underserved students in Washington, D.C. In 2008, The SEED School of Maryland opened its doors to welcome new students. And in July of 2012, SEED plans to hire a Head of School for our next school, expected to open in Cincinnati, Ohio in the fall of 2013. We anticipate opening our fourth school in Miami, Florida.


The breadth of responsibility for a SEED Head of School is unique in education—virtually every aspect of the learning environment is under your control. As Khalek Kirkland, the Head of The SEED School of Maryland said “Over the last 20 years as an educator, I often fantasized about an environment that gave me more time with students. No matter how I saturated kids with morals, study habits, and life skills, some of it would seep out when they left school each afternoon… But at SEED, I have realized my dream. Here, we can supplement our positive daytime efforts with equally constructive work at night.”  


Charles Barrett Adams, the Head of The SEED School of Washington, D.C. focuses on helping students become better citizens. He notes that “We tell students that preparing for college is more than just being able to read well and solve a math problem. It’s equally important that they’re exposed to cultural opportunities so they are well-rounded and open-minded. SEED is a 24-hour learning environment, so we have the hours in the day to provide a comprehensive curriculum … Our kids tango on campus, canoe on the Anacostia River, and listen to oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court.”


The SEED model has proven successful:  94 percent of SEED graduates have been accepted to four-year colleges and universities, including American University, Brown University, Howard University and Princeton University; 94 percent of SEED graduates enroll in college within 18 months of graduation, and 62 percent remain enrolled in college or already have earned college degrees.


SEED understands the profound impact a single college graduate can make on an entire family, and we are passionate about making public education work for everyone. As public schools, SEED schools are tuition-free and by design are serving students with significant risk factors. In every year of our existence, the number of applications to attend SEED schools has far exceeded the number of spaces available.  To determine enrollment, SEED schools hold an annual lottery. (To learn more about the lottery, please read Tom Friedman’s column about it in the New York Times.)




The proposed SEED School of Cincinnati (SEED Cincinnati) will be the third school in the expanding network of urban, college-preparatory, public boarding schools developed by The SEED Foundation.  SEED Cincinnati will grow to serve 400 students in grades 6-12. The school will be governed by a 25-person board of trustees and will operate under a contract with the State of Ohio.  As a part of its plans to operate in Cincinnati, SEED has also completed a partnership agreement with Cincinnati Public Schools.  The development and growth of SEED Cincinnati has been supported by dozens of community members, civic and educational leaders and lawmakers.  Private donors have committed significant capital funds to the School startup and campus construction.   




Each SEED School integrates a rigorous academic program with a nurturing boarding program. The academic program is college-preparatory in focus, while the boarding program teaches life skills and provides a safe and secure environment 24 hours a day. SEED students live on campus and benefit from a collaborative network of families, faculty, staff and community members. SEED schools operate according to SEED Belief Statements, summarized as college bound culture, 24-hour learning environment, positive culture of high expectations, integrated and engaging program to foster love of learning, individual student support, focus on data and continuous improvement, recruiting and nurturing outstanding educators, family and school partnership, and community partnership.


SEED's academic program offers a skills-focused, standards-based middle school curriculum, followed by a college-preparatory upper school curriculum. Students receive individualized attention to ensure that they achieve their academic potential. SEED's boarding program is structured to stimulate academic, personal and social growth in every student through extracurricular activities, leadership opportunities and community service. SEED’s boarding curriculum combines life skills training (study skills, home chores, money management) with character education and authentic experiences that allow students to demonstrate their independence in ways that are consistent with SEED’s core values (responsibility, respect, self-discipline, compassion and integrity). The college & career counseling program works in conjunction with the academic and boarding programs to identify each student's interests, ambitions and skill level and to assist the student throughout the college application process. Athletics and extracurricular activities round out students’ experience on campus. In addition, our staff works with students to identify summer opportunities that will enhance students' skills and provide them with valuable life experiences.




As the Head of School for a start-up school, you will recognize that change is a constant, and you will be comfortable with that.  You will relentlessly focus on outcomes, using data at all levels to ensure that activity is never mistaken for progress. You will articulate a clear school vision, and build a strong, positive school culture with expectation of collaboration between all program areas. You will lead school-wide strategic planning, and will oversee all school performance, programs, administration, finances, facilities and operations. You will serve as the role model for both the adult and student community by constantly and consistently demonstrating SEED’s core values of responsibility, respect, self-discipline, compassion and integrity. 


A primary focus will be on recruiting, hiring, coaching and training SEED’s adult community, enabling the adults to best support each students’ needs. The school senior leadership team will include the Head of School, Principal, Director of Student Life, Managing Director and Director of Student Support Services. You will be responsible for hiring, coaching, supporting and managing senior school staff to ensure high academic achievement for all students, and effective, quality implementation of all aspects of the SEED program.  You will understand what is necessary to prepare underserved students for college, and you will have a deep conviction that every child can achieve if given the right supports.  Every adult on your team will share this conviction.


You will represent and advocate for the school in various settings and ensure accuracy and consistency of the school’s internal and external messages.  In addition to direct reporting staff, you will develop and maintain effective relationships with other constituents including students and parents, the board of trustees, the SEED foundation, legislators and state officials, business and community members, donors and the media.


During your first year, you will work closely with The SEED Foundation staff and the leadership at other SEED schools. Your day-to-day reporting will be to the SEED Foundation with no less than quarterly reporting to the board of trustees. You will work closely with the board chair and other board and committee leadership to communicate relevant information and to seek input and resolve issues of relevance to the board. Naturally, you will develop relationships with trustees and SEED Foundation staff and take advantage of the experience and contacts that they offer. You will manage and ensure good standing with regulatory and education authorities in Cincinnati and in Ohio, including the Ohio Department of Education, Cincinnati Public Schools and other education organizations that support and further SEED’s mission. 




The Head of School is responsible for all aspects of leading and operating The SEED School.  The school is scheduled to open in late August of 2013, so the Head of School and key members of the leadership team will be on-board approximately one year in advance to prepare for opening.  In the first three months you will hire the principal, managing director, and director of student life – the core senior leadership team who will be working side-by-side to prepare for school opening.  Together, you will hire the initial staff, recruit the first class of students, develop and adapt curricula and programs, and prepare for school operations and administration.  A team from The SEED Foundation will be working to support you and your team, and you will be spending time at the existing SEED campuses as a part of your training.  For the school start-up and early years, the Foundation will also be leading key areas related to campus construction, capital fundraising and financing, board development, technology, and marketing and public relations.


During the start-up year (pre-opening) and the early years of the school’s growth, your key priorities will include:  

  • Program Development:  The SEED Foundation is developing a SEED Blueprint which will serve as a guide for all aspects of SEED’s academic, student life/boarding, and college counseling program.  You and your team will use the Blueprint as a basis from which to develop and customize curricula, school program, schedules and hiring needs to the particular requirements of the Ohio and Cincinnati environment.
  • Hiring Staff:  You and your team will be progressively hiring staff as the school grows.  Teachers and student life counselors will be hired as the student population expands, starting with teachers and counselors for the first 6th grade class.  Other staff will be hired based on budget and program growth.  Critical to success will be careful strategic thinking related to balancing the challenges of growth and limited resources, particularly related to staff structure and programmatic priorities. As is the case with any start-up operation, staff in the early years may wear multiple hats and their jobs may change as the organization grows.  
  • Recruiting Students:  The school will start with 80 students in the 6th grade, and will add one grade each year to reach a total of 400 students in grades 6-12.  As a statewide public school that draws students from across Ohio, you and your team will be determining important strategies for this new and innovative school.  You will also be explaining and marketing an entirely unique educational opportunity to underserved families, so communications strategy will be all-important. 
  • Establishing Operations:  Working closely with you, the managing director’s primary responsibility is to establish all operations for the school.  This includes finance and budget, administrative policy and procedures, procurement of contracted services, and compliance.  The managing director will coordinate with SEED Foundation staff related to campus construction, financing and technology, in particular.
  • Achieving Performance Goals:  You will work with the principal and other academic staff to ensure that the school develops a strong academic program that is consistently rigorous and structured to support achievement for all students. You will ensure that the school meets federal and state requirements and, specifically, those defined through the No Child Left Behind legislation. You will maintain commitment to a higher order/critical thinking environment for students while balancing the need for test preparation to meet state standardized testing goals and requirements.




At SEED, everyone believes and acts upon the belief that with the right resources any child can complete college and achieve his or her dreams.


As Head of School you must be:


  • Passionately committed to children and to their education at every level. Your love for children and confidence in their ability to learn will be apparent in every aspect of your leadership style. You have empathy for, and commitment to programs and services for urban children, and a solid understanding of child development.
  • An entrepreneurial educator with demonstrated experience as a successful instructor, leader and manager. You actively seek out innovative strategies to improve student achievement. You demonstrate a commitment to academic excellence, and an intense curiosity for developments in education.
  • A proven team builder with strong leadership skills. You are instrumental in the recruitment and selection of a superior and diverse faculty and staff, and manage their performance and growth by assessing, coaching and developing their potential. You work collaboratively with all staff and resolve issues that affect them while maintaining a clear-eyed focus on meeting the needs of children.
  • A strong, organized and independent manager. You know what it takes to build something significant from scratch, or to transform an organization into a place of excellence. You are also a critical thinker, relentless achiever, and an independent-minded self-starter who rewards autonomy and accountability. You delegate appropriate responsibilities and authority, involve people in decisions that affect them and address performance issues promptly with fairness, firmness and consistency. You lead by example, with a hands-on approach. You establish high performance standards; hold people accountable and keep them focused on goals and priorities; identify and remove barriers to objectives; show a willingness to strategically take tough, principled stands even when unpopular; and ensure that adequate resources are available to achieve objectives. 
  • An inspiring communicator, you confidently articulate high expectations for achievement by every student. You inspire staff, parents and children to embrace your vision. You are relentlessly positive, projecting energy and enthusiasm. You are poised, self-assured and effective both informally and in public presentations. You are an equally effective writer. 
  • A relationship builder. You build constructive relationships of trust with the staff, parents, teachers, community leaders and board members. You respect and value parents' input and are comfortable utilizing their talents and energies as resources. You genuinely value cultural, racial and economic diversity. 
  • Personally effective. You have a prodigious work ethic. You demonstrate grit, tenacity and an unrelenting focus on your goals. You inspire others to follow your lead. You are equally effective when things are not going well. You think clearly, and exhibit grace under pressure. 
  • You are confident in your own abilities, but not brittle or egocentric. You willingly take responsibility for mistakes and work with determination not to repeat them. You are a constant learner, and eagerly learn from people at every level of the organization. 




Certain personal characteristics are essential for success as Head of School. Our expectation is that you will: 

  • Possess personal integrity and a strong moral and ethical character
  • Be a goal-setter with boundless energy who goes “above and beyond” what is expected
  • Be approachable, accessible and highly visible
  • Be a positive and enthusiastic consensus-builder
  • Be an open and reflective listener
  • Enjoy and excel at working with adults for the good of the students
  • Have a secure sense of self that results in steady leadership
  • Have a sense of humor
  • Work productively with colleagues in both The SEED Foundation and in other schools.
  • Show a personal dedication to boarding education and a willingness to live on campus.



This is an extraordinary opportunity for an exemplary educator and school leader. A competitive compensation package commensurate with qualifications and experience is available.


The SEED Foundation is committed to the letter and spirit of equality.  It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national and ethnic origin in hiring and employment, nor in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and other programs.


The fastest way to apply is through the link at the top of this page.  If you prefer, simply send a word version of your resume to Aileen Hedden at with "Head of School" in the Subject line.


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