Job Title: Chief Academic Officer
Wage/Hour Status: Exempt
Funding Source: Local
Reports to: Superintendent
Pay Grade: Administrative/Professional 09 ($124,040 – $167,819)
Contract Days: 226
Dept/School: Instructional Service Center
Revision Date: October 2020
What We’re Looking For
We’re looking for an enthusiastic, dynamic leader to propel our short- and long-term strategic vision of deep personalization for students and staff. This involves helping to set the vision and translate that into concrete, student-centered content delivery and mastery attainment methods. You would create and utilize precise project plans and efficient processes to manage this critical body of work. In this role, you’ll also be a people manager responsible for coaching and developing our team of instructional design leaders and campus- based instructional coaches.
About the Ideal Candidate
You have a unique level of expertise, experience, and qualities, including:

  • Teaching experience at the K-12 level, giving you a deep empathy with teachers and
  • Leadership experience at the K-12 level (school and/or district) leading a whole-school or whole-district redesign process with quantifiable results.
  • Deep management experience working with teams of teachers and/or content
  • True expertise in at least one humanities, math or science area (e. a college degree or teaching certification in humanities, math or science).
  • Great intuition for when a content area you are less familiar with could benefit from more clarity, simplification, or research.
  • Strong familiarity with TEKs and major national rigorous curricula.
  • Knowledge of the educational technology marketplace, including best practices and potential pitfalls
  • Quantifiable and results-oriented track record of successfully coaching and growing teams
  • Impeccable project management skills
  • Ability to plan and execute short- and long-term strategy as it relates to content creation priorities
  • Thorough understanding of personalization and competency-based progression and an ability to concretize those big ideas and implement them across multiple campuses
  • An understanding of change management along with artifacts that demonstrate past successes.
  • Strong communication skills, including different strategies for delivering effective feedback and for articulating how to make great ideas and content even better.
  • A strong sense of emotional intelligence and an ability to navigate tense situations with poise, precision, and professionalism while demonstrating persistent resilience and optimism.
  • Comfort with ambiguity and enthusiastic about experimentation
  • A commitment to contribute to a culture that values integrity, joy, and solidarity as core values and a desire to work alongside a team committed to doing the same
  • A passion for education, a belief that transformative change is possible, and an inextinguishable desire to improve student lives and strengthen communities through education.

How You’ll Spend Your Time

  • Support and influence the creation of a cohesive Pre-K through Post-secondary competency-based learning experience that is culturally relevant and personalized for each DeSoto student
  • Align, crystallize, and define our point-of-view on topics such as:
    • Mastery learning & grading
    • Personalization
    • Competency-based progression
    • Performance-based assessments and tasks
    • Problem & project-based learning
    • A culture of formative feedback and coaching
    • Place-based learning
    • Culturally relevant literacy
    • Multi-Tier Systems of Support
  • Use brain-based and learning science to guide the creation of content and learning experiences that students have in person and online
  • Build upon, and perfect, our Anytime, Anywhere Learning model.
  • Lead district-wide learning communities to ensure curricular and learning coherence through relevant and seamless academic professional development
  • Manage external thought leaders and subject matter expert relationships to incorporate expert knowledge and feedback on content and student learning experiences.
  • Assist in the creation of standardized language around learning and pedagogy to support marketing, district, and teacher training with clear, consistent, industry-aligned messaging.
  • Balance research insights with the practical realities of classrooms and scalable digital solution
  • Work cohesively with other leaders to design and deliver personalized professional learning for adults across the DeSoto ISD system
  • Writes (and/or co-authors with Superintendent) articles, blogs, and other content marketing materials to better demonstrate DeSoto ISD as a thought leader in education and increase teacher, school, and district confidence and trust

Primary Purpose:
The Chief Academic Officer provides direct support and feedback to instructional staff on the development of district-wide school improvement efforts and the related programs that support student services grades K through 12. This position is responsible for all matters related to the development and delivery of instructional programs, professional development, and use of instructional technology in the school district. This position is responsible for the management of instructional services based on the effective use of data, collaborative processes that include all stakeholder groups, and the use of research based instructional strategies. The Chief Academic Officer makes budget and staffing projections/ allocations for the maximum effective use of human and financial resources in the Teaching and Learning Department.

  • Master’s Degree (Doctorate preferred)
  • Valid supervisory and/or administrator certificate (must receive Texas Certification within 6 months of hire)

Special Knowledge/Skills:

  • Strong organizational, communication, and interpersonal skills
  • Other qualifications deemed necessary by District Leadership


  • Demonstrated/documented success in improving student achievement at the campus and/or district level
  • Experience with curriculum development and delivery
  • Three – Five years of teaching experience
  • Campus principal experience preferred; campus administration required
  • T-PESS / T-TESS certification preferred; (must be certified within 6 months of hire date)
  • District-level leadership experience preferred

Major Responsibilities and Duties:
Instructional Management and Curriculum Design

  1. Applies the findings of research and district student achievement results to codify and improve the content, sequence and outcomes of the teaching/learning
  1. Utilizes knowledge of curriculum content and the curriculum development process to facilitate teacher development of appropriate learning experiences for pupils to ensure that the curriculum development process is continuous and responsive.
  1. Plans, implements and evaluates TEKS-based instructional programs with teachers, coaches, staff, and principals, including learning objectives, instructional strategies and assessment techniques.
  1. Works with appropriate staff to develop, maintain and revise curriculum documents based on systematic review and analysis
  1. Encourages and supports the development and implementation of innovative instructional programs to achieve identified needs, through deep personalization, competency-based progression, and cultural relevance.
  1. Is effective in involving instructional staff with evaluating and selecting instructional materials to meet student learning
  1. Coordinates and supervises core curriculum programs and prepares any relevant federal reports and budgets.
  1. Supervises Directors, Instructional Facilitators, Coordinators, Instructional Coaches, and Librarians
  1. Coordinates and supervises all curriculum for summer programs and summer school.
  1. Designs, coordinates, and supervises district professional development and organizational improvement

Organizational Culture and Climate:

  1. Uses surveys and feedback from others to maintain or create a positive climate, ensuring that teachers and other campus-based staff have a voice in curriculum design and select
  1. Demonstrates high expectations of students and staff.
  1. Ensures that all employees and staff work in alignment towards the attainment of the overall goals and objectives of DeSoto ISD.
  1. Communicates effectively with all stakeholders including staff, students, parents and community, while relating with people ways that convey equality and mutual respect.
  1. Demonstrates skills in conflict resolution with others.
  1. Responds appropriately to situations that could impair the teaching/learning process or could threaten safety and the well-being of students and staff (i.e. guidelines, policies, and laws).

Organizational Improvement

  1. Works cooperatively with others in developing the mission and articulating a vision for the school/district instructional program
  1. Systematically monitors school improvement activities or program activities as they pertain to the instructional program and fidelity of impact and implementation across the system
  1. Uses evaluative findings and disaggregated data to determine the extent to which goals and objectives are met.
  1. Demonstrates appropriate use of student achievement data in interpreting, reporting, and acting on results.
  1. Actively supports the efforts of others to achieve district goals and objectives
  1. Works closely with campus principals and staff to ensure that all have the support to implement the curriculum and instructional program with fidelity
  1. Secures consultants, specialists, and other community resources for principals and instructional staff to assist in attaining objectives

Personnel Management

  1. Assists with recruitment, selection, orientation and assignment of district employees in all relevant areas
  1. Demonstrates skill in coaching staff, providing technical assistances to others concerning curriculum implementation and execution, and improving overall performance
  1. Manages instructional resource and curriculum material procurement and ensures that all staff have access to high-quality curriculum in alignment with the vision and direction of the district
  1. Uses the mission of the school district, program evaluation outcomes, input from teachers and others to work with others to design and provide effective, personalized staff development.

Administration and Fiscal/Facilities Management

  1. Implements the policies established by federal law, state law, State Board of Education rule, and the local Board policy in the area(s)
  1. Offers constructive suggestions to ensure that policies and regulations support the teaching/learning process.
  1. Defines the program and fiscal needs in the budget development process for special programs, ensuring that fiscal resources address the mission of the district and state/federal guidelines.
  1. Demonstrates responsible fiscal control over assigned program budgets.
  1. Provides necessary reports and documentation for special programs in a timely manner.

School/Community Relations

  1. Communicates district curriculum, instructional practices, accomplishments, goals and new directions to parents and the community, as appropriate.
  1. Supports the district design for articulating the district’s instructional philosophy and curriculum implementation strategies.
  1. Demonstrates commitment to the district’s mission as communicated to the public.

Professional Growth and Development

  1. Uses information provided through assessment instruments, the district appraisal process, and evaluative feedback to improve performance.
  1. Strives to improve leadership skills through self-initiated professional development activities (e., undertaking professional reading, attending conferences, participating in training programs.), including constantly seeking of feedback from others.
  1. Constantly u:lizes insights for self- improvement.
  1. Disseminates ideas and information to other professionals; provides leadership in addressing the challenges facing the profession.
  1. Conducts oneself in a professional, ethical manner in accordance with generally accepted community standards; complies with TEA code of ethics and Board policies. Supervisory Responsibilities:

Equipment Used:
Personal computer, printer, calculator, copier, fax machine, and shredder.

Working Conditions:
Mental Demands/Physical Demands/Environmental Factors:   Must maintain emotional control and exercise reasoning and problem solving skills while under stress. Must demonstrate ability to communicate effectively (verbal and written). Should be able to interpret procedures and analyze data for decision-making. Frequent in-district and occasional in-state or national travel. Occasional prolonged and irregular hours.
Safety: Contribute to the prevention of accidents and injuries by observing safety rules and District policy, practicing the principles and skills taught in safety training, wearing personal protective equipment as required, reporting injuries and incidences immediately to supervisor, and being proactive in the ongoing efforts to improve and maintain workplace safety.

The information contained in this job description is for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and foregoing statements describe the general purpose and responsibilities assigned to this job and are not an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills that may be required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.