Principal and Chief Academic Officer


Principal and Chief Academic Officer

José M. Torres, PhD, President of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy® (IMSA) invites you to apply for this leadership opportunity to foster a uniquely challenging, highly personalized program of advanced study for our talented students who understand and share our passion for our mission.  The Principal will lead IMSA’s residential academic affairs with responsibility for: curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional learning. This position reports to the President. The successful candidate will begin July 1, 2020 or earlier if available.

Position Mission Statement 

Inspire and empower teachers to innovate, integrate teaching and learning experiences across the Academy in alignment with IMSA’s mission and 2022 vision, and nurture a student-centered culture. Model and empower collaboration, risk-taking, and experimentation to shape the future of STEM education in Illinois, nationally, and globally. 


Inspire and empower faculty to nurture a student-centered culture where every student is known, challenged, and supported. 

Facilitate the creation and execution of a cohesive, ambitious, innovative academic agenda and related strategy that ensure coherence and integration between the academic, residential and outreach programs in collaboration with the Academy’s faculty and leadership. 

Co-create and support staffing and process structures that increase and enhance scholarship, innovation, and interdisciplinary teaching and learning across the Academy. 

Guide a process for selecting and developing a distinguished faculty. 

Ensure continuous improvement and quality teaching and learning through modeling and embracing feedback and self-flection and fostering mutual respect. 

Guide the development and execution of a vision for appropriate technology integration into teaching and learning. 

Facilitate the implementation of IMSA’s equity and excellence policy, including co-creating innovative and culturally responsive programs that develop talent and leadership in STEM in collaboration with key stakeholders. 


Formal Education/Experience: 

Significant leadership and teaching experience in secondary or higher education

Demonstrable research or scholarly contributions to your field 

Demonstrable significant leadership experience, including managing professional, exempt-level direct reports 

Master’s required; Doctorate preferred 

Bilingual preferred 

Critical Competencies/Skills

Personal Qualities 

  • Honesty/Integrity. Earns trust and maintains confidences. Acts ethically and keeps commitments. 
  • Thoughtful and Reflective. Is proactive, deliberate, solicits feedback from colleagues, faculty, students, and parents and creates and nurtures a culture of mutual respect and collaboration. 
  • Emotional Intelligence. Demonstrates the ability to effectively recognize, understand and manage one’s own emotions, as well as effectively recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others. Uses such knowledge to guide thinking, behavior and problem-solving. 
  • Knowledge and Experience working with Advanced Learners. Demonstrates knowledge and experience meeting the unique needs and challenges of advanced learners who are culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse. 
  • Persistence. Demonstrates tenacity and willingness to go the distance to get something done. 


Professional Skills 

  • Organization and planning. Plans, organizes, prioritizes, schedules and budgets in an efficient, productive, collaborative, and timely manner. Focuses on key priorities. 
  • Analytical thinking. Structures and processes qualitative or quantitative data and draws insightful conclusions from it. 
  • Effective Leadership. Demonstrates empowering, purposeful, inclusive, relationship-building abilities that inspires trust, supports transparency, and fosters collegiality and collaboration across the Academy and in the community. Demonstrates ability to envision, lead and manage innovative initiatives. Excellent communicator. Adapts quickly to changing priorities and conditions. Distributes leadership and cultivates leadership in others. Demonstrates leadership tact-knows when to lead from the front and when to lead from behind. 
  • Effective decision-making. Uses and communicates decision making methods, such as command, consult, vote, and consensus as appropriate. Is decisive. 

Equity and Social Justice Competencies

  • Advocacy. Champions the growth and needs of the academic programs staff, including faculty, within a collaborative environment that takes into account the needs and goals of the entire organization. 
  • Cultural competence. Effectively communicates and collaborates with diverse individuals and groups; applies positive strategies to confront social issues, including discrimination, bias and stereotype threat; and uses this competence to inform teaching and learning practices. 
  • Equity-minded. The data-driven outlook and perspectives that call attention to patterns of inequity in access, outcomes and retention as institutional problems, in an effort to develop systemic strategies within the control of the Academy that address these inequities. This includes being willing to have robust discussions about identity-based inequities. 


Application Process

Applicants must apply and upload a letter of interest, resume, the contact information of three professional references and a statement of philosophy on educational equity.  Applications with all appropriate attachments listed above will be accepted and reviewed as received until the position is filled; however, priority consideration will be given to those applications received on or before February 3, 2020.

Apply here: