Chief of Schools –
Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is the third-largest school district in the United States, serving over 340,000 students in more than 600 schools and employing nearly 36,000 people, most of them teachers. CPS has set ambitious goals to ensure that every student, in every school and every neighborhood, has access to a world-class learning experience that prepares each for success in college, career, and civic life. In order to fulfill this mission, we make three commitments to our students, their families, and all Chicagoans: academic progress, financial stability, and integrity. Six core principles are embedded within these commitments – student-centered, whole child, equity, academic excellence, community partnership, and continuous learning.
About the Chief of Schools Role
District-run CPS schools are organized into 17 networks and are provided administrative support, strategic direction, and leadership development by the Office of Network Support (ONS). By eliminating a one-size-fits-all network support model, schools benefit by having support that focuses exclusively on their needs. CPS principals have access to their Network Chief as a resource and a liaison between their schools and district administration.
ONS is looking for a Chief of Schools to serve as the chief executive for Network 8, a network of 18 elementary schools serving 10,000+ students in the Southwest area of the city. This position reports to the Deputy Chief of Elementary Schools. With school principals serving as critical agents in accomplishing the district’s vision, the Chief’s most important role is supporting, developing, coaching, and supervising principals’ instructional leadership.
The Chief of Schools works in collaboration with local school councils and CPS departments to identify, prepare, place and retain great principals in network schools; create a climate of professional collaboration by establishing structures that foster shared learning and resource exchange across networks and schools; and implement a strategic plan to anchor the work of the network in improving student achievement. Chiefs also leverage network and district resources strategically to effectively support students and schools.
The Chief of Schools has the following primary responsibilities:
- Supervise and support school leaders and schools in the Network by:
o Developing the ability of principals and their instructional leadership teams to develop, implement and monitor a strategic plan that helps meet student achievement goals. This includes assisting principals and their teams in engaging in root cause analyses, developing theories of action and building coherent multi-year strategies.
o Support principals’ development and implementation of their school’s Continuous Improvement Work Plan (“CIWP”), including the change management process needed to implement transformation initiatives at the school-level.
o Working with school leaders to closely monitor school improvement through a cycle of continuous improvement and sound management practices.
o Assessing the leadership capacity of each principal and their leadership teams (including teacher leaders and Assistant Principals) and developing an individualized Leadership Development Plan (“LDP”) for each leader; conducting regular performance evaluations to support the goals in the LDPs.
o Providing frequent, actionable feedback to assist principals and their leadership teams in improving in their leadership practice and achieve better results.
- Assess principal quality within the network and effectively plan for, facilitate and/or execute school leadership transitions as needed (including succession planning), in consultation and partnership with the Office of Network Support, Department of Principal Quality and Talent Office.
- Identify, recruit and engage in the selection of new principals able to successfully lead school improvement efforts.
- Develop a high-performing community of principals who leverage one another’s strengths and support one another in achieving shared goals. This may include via principal network meetings, peer mentoring, and/or individual job-embedded coaching focused on instructional leadership.
- Develop and build a high-performing network team focused on supporting the work of school leaders and their leadership teams. This support should include activities that:
o Foster meaningful relationships with families and community stakeholders to create a strong neighborhood structure to support the learning of all students.
o Differentiate resources and support to schools in accordance with their CIWP and student achievement goals instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.
o Leverage the resources of Central Office departments and teams and coordinate their delivery in the best interests of principals, their leadership teams, and schools’ CIWPs.
o Pursue the district’s goals for diversity, equity and inclusion, with a particular focus on ensuring equitable access to high-quality instruction for students and eliminating the opportunity gap. 6. Collaborate with the CPS Senior Leadership Team, the Chief Education Officer and fellow Chiefs of School in developing communication systems that ensure the smooth flow of information (both vertically and horizontally), enable energy to be concentrated on the highest-priority goals for each school, and ensure best practices are shared across schools.
- Regularly monitor schools’ performance and provides feedback to assist in developing principal leadership capacity, the schools’ progress toward implementation of CIWP efforts, and the networks results in achieving the student achievement goals set in the 5 year CPS Vision, Success Starts Here.
- Perform other administrative duties as assigned by the CEO/CEDO or designee.
The Chief of Schools should have demonstrated ability and/or experience to:
- Lead literacy and numeracy instruction, as well as design and implement successful instructional strategies for English Language Learners and students with diverse learning needs.
- Lead large-scale, sustainable improvement efforts, whether in school transformation or movement from “good to great.”
- Exhibit a consistent sense of urgency around closing opportunity gaps and making the instructional improvements needed to do so.
- Develop leaders, build an effective collaborative team, and coach team members to ensure professional and career growth.
- Articulate a vision and set high standards for all students, and effectively drive schools to fully commit to high expectations, as well.
- Communicate a clear vision and build consensus among a diverse set of stakeholders around the common purpose of helping students succeed.
- Build collaborative relationships with a broad variety of constituent groups, including both internal and external partnerships.
- Analyze and synthesize multiple sources of data to inform daily decisions and indicate areas for improved instructional practice.
- Seek out and share research- and evidence-based best practices; explore innovative ideas, understanding the practical challenges and how to overcome them.
- Successfully navigate politically-charged environments, always acting with integrity, honesty, and courage in the best interests of students.
- Commit to one’s own continuous improvement, and possess an unwavering belief that all students can achieve at high levels.
- Ability to make challenging decisions, remain professional under stress and possess exceptional judgment. Type of Education Required:
- Bachelor’s degree from accredited college or university
- Master’s degree in Education or related field
Type of Experience Required:
- Minimum of four (4) complete school years of experience as an elementary school principal or three (3) complete school years as an elementary school principal and one (1) year of experience in a district administration role; urban education experience preferred
- Minimum of three (3) years of experience coaching and mentoring educators
- Minimum of five (5) years of experience managing within a complex educational organization • Principal supervisor experience preferred
- As a condition of employment with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), employees are required to live within the geographic boundaries of the City of Chicago within six months of their CPS hire date and maintain residency throughout their employment with the district.