Position: Principal, Upper Elementary Start date: July 2016, or earlier if available Location: Harlem, New York

The Organization

Harlem Village Academies is a community of educators working together to build an urban school

district in Harlem based on the ideals and rich tradition of progressive education.

Progressive Educational Philosophy

“Are we forming children who are only capable of learning what is already known or should we try to develop creative and

innovative minds?” – Jean Piaget

We believe students learn best through experience, deep engagement and discovery. We want our students to be intellectually curious, creative, and independent. We want them to love reading, to be

articulate and reflective. We want them to be open-minded as well as skeptical, to take initiative, and to be kind, respectful and compassionate. Students should spend their school days constructing knowledge,

grappling with text, and doing the intellectual heavy lifting, with teachers as adept guides.

The Opportunity

This role is a unique professional step for an experienced educator with a track record of school

leadership because:

• We’re committed to progressive education and deeper learning

• The Principal will join an intellectual community of fellow HVA principals and academic leaders


• It’s a chance to make a profound mark – not just on one school, but on the K-12 network

• Our culture is special: we put kids first, care about each other, and work with passion and joy

• We banish bureaucracy. A Principal’s time is incredibly valuable; we go to great lengths to eliminate administrative nonsense, burdensome paperwork, and pointless meetings

• The Principal can truly focus on people and culture leadership, as s/he is supported by skilled operations staff in the school and the HVA network

The Principal leads faculty, staff, instruction and culture at an HVA upper elementary school, guiding the school community to realize our vision. All school faculty and staff report to the Principal; the

Principal will report to the Chief Executive Officer and the Superintendent. S/he is supported by a

school leadership team that includes Academic Directors, a Director of Operations, and Deans of

Students. The Principal also receives HVA network support in the areas of recruitment, fundraising,

finance, operations, technology and data.

The successful candidate will have extensive expertise in school leadership and instruction at the elementary and/or middle school level, together with a profound commitment to rigorous progressive pedagogy and social justice. As the instructional leader of an HVA elementary school, the Principal’s critical focus is on every student’s academic, social, and emotional growth, and the development of

faculty. S/he will work with talented colleagues in an organization that prizes entrepreneurial drive, teamwork and accountability.


The key responsibilities of the Principal include, but are not limited to, the following:

Ensure the Highest Quality Education

• Support ongoing improvement in instruction, through ensuring high-quality, ongoing professional learning for faculty

• Continuously deepen student learning, shown by increasing sophistication in classroom discourse, authentic assessments, student portfolios, writing, and other evidence

• Lead instruction and the school environment to require and foster students’ character development, independence and motivation

• Ensure that the school meets goals for growth on New York State assessments, without compromising our commitment to high-quality instruction and curriculum

Build Student Culture of Ownership, Leadership and Engagement

• Support all students as they develop ownership and agency in their education

• Cultivate reflectiveness, hard work, compassion and sense of community throughout the school

• Embody and compellingly convey vision for student life and culture, and how we’ll get there, to

all members of the school community

• Develop practices, structures and traditions that foster a culture of student ownership and engagement.

• Ensure that disciplinary actions support student growth

Lead People and Culture

• Be an exemplar of commitment, professionalism, and inspiration to all members of the school community

• Communicate a compelling vision of a progressive school of the finest caliber, and work strategically and collaboratively to execute on that vision

• Establish and uphold a school culture that exemplifies the HVA values

• Hire, manage and develop an outstanding and diverse faculty and staff

• Retain faculty for the long term, especially the best; clearly define expectations, evaluate performance and hold people accountable; ensure that low performing staff rapidly improve or transition out

• Build and nurture strong relationships with students, faculty and families, to create and maintaining a thriving school community

Manage Change and Growth

• Continue leading changes already underway at the school, in the direction of deeper learning

• Build on, improve, and create structures that foster student engagement, high-quality and authentic student learning, and a culture of ownership

• Working closely with the CEO, Superintendent and other principals, help align curriculum, instruction and culture between the HVA’s elementary, middle and high schools


The successful candidate will have extensive experience working with elementary school students in an urban school, including successful school-wide leadership (e.g. as Principal, Assistant Principal or

another leadership role). He or she will have a demonstrated track record of success in all or most of the following:

• Willingness and skill to guide an urban elementary school toward a culture of student ownership and engagement, one that is mutually reinforcing with sophisticated academics and deeper learning

• Identifying, supporting, developing and retaining a talented and diverse faculty and staff; proven experience developing teacher leaders strongly preferred

• Effectively managing people in an entrepreneurial, changing environment

• Developing high-quality instruction in grades 3-8 leading to measurable improvements in student learning and achievement

• Building strong relationships with families, partnering with them to support students and engaging them in the life of the school

• Gathering and using data to inform strategies for moving a school forward

• Effectively working with and serving urban children and families

• An extraordinary work ethic and capacity for problem-solving; stamina to work longer days and a longer school year;

• Commitment to be held accountable for results and hold others to high standards; very entrepreneurial attitude, with focus on results, teamwork, and continuous learning

• Shares all HVA values, including a deep conviction that educators are accountable for student motivation and learning at a high level

• Bachelor’s degree required; relevant Master’s degree strongly preferred

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