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Director of Lower School - The Buckley School

DRG Talent Advisory Group
Date Posted: 11/19/2021
Salary / Wage: N/A
Location: New York, New York
Job Type:


Opportunities & Challenges AWAITING THE NEW DIRECTOR

The Director of the Lower School reports to the Head of School and is charged with comprehensive responsibility for all activities involving students and faculty in the division. The Director serves as the educational leader of the Lower School, the manager of its day-to-day operations, and the chief articulator of its values, programs, expectations, and behavioral guidelines.

The next Director of the Lower School will join Buckley at an important time of transition. The departure of the current Director after more than three decades of service is certain to present both opportunities and challenges. Buckley also is still emerging from the experience of managing education in a pandemic over the past two years. Aided by its spacious facilities, The Buckley School was able to offer in-person instruction for much of the pandemic period. Teaching and learning are constantly evolving, and the faculty are excited about honing their craft, assessing the innovations of the past two years, and examining how those innovations will influence their teaching going forward.

Among the specific opportunities and challenges awaiting the new Director are the following:

Administrative Restructuring

Beginning with the 2022-23 school year, the school will be restructured administratively from three divisions to two, shifting Class IV to the Lower School and Classes V and VI to the Upper School. The shift promises to offer many benefits. The creation of two divisions allows both Division Directors to develop stronger relationships with families, as they will be interacting for up to five years rather than three or four. It also creates one less transition for students and families to navigate, while streamlining channels of communication and leadership. The addition of the fourth grade to the Lower School is also regarded as developmentally more appropriate and reflects current best practices in independent schools.

The new Lower School Director will manage several aspects of the transition, including support for Class IV faculty and helping articulate to families the new opportunities for Class IV students as leaders in the division. The Director will also be instrumental in identifying and addressing opportunities for changes to curriculum, assessments, and other aspects of the program that this transition creates.

The school’s leaders are also planning to bolster administrative support for the next Director of Lower School. Staffing currently includes an Administrative Assistant, who also supports the Director of Admissions, and the Assistant Division Director, who is also a homeroom teacher. Next year, the Assistant Division Director position will be restructured to reduce the teaching role, allowing that individual more time to effectively support the Director of the Lower School. The new Director will have the opportunity to serve as a thought partner in defining specific areas of focus for the position and, if the timing is appropriate, the desired skills, attributes, and experience of the person in that role.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

In pursuit of excellence and in commitment to our mission of educating the whole boy, we affirm equity as a core value of The Buckley School:

We recognize the fundamental dignity of each member of the Buckley community.

We foster a community that respects and values our different identities, perspectives, and voices.

We embrace the ongoing work of developing the knowledge, skills, and relationships needed to be an inclusive school.

We seek to inspire all members of our Buckley family to be empathetic, ethical, and engaged citizens of a diverse world.

And, together, we will prepare every boy to thrive in the future, as he pursues a life of excellence in leadership, scholarship, and service.

– The Buckley School Equity Vision Statement

As a natural outgrowth of Buckley’s mission of instilling a deep and genuine respect for others in every boy, the school over the past several years has engaged in meaningful work in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. A dedicated Faculty Diversity Leadership Team, which has undertaken extensive DEI training, leads the school’s many initiatives in this area. These include ongoing faculty professional development, a K-9 curricular review through the DEI lens, and the creation of affinity groups. In the Lower School, much of the DEI work takes place within the social-emotional learning curriculum.

The new Director of the Lower School will be expected to be an enthusiastic partner in the school’s ongoing DEI efforts, including faculty development, curricular revisions, and, importantly, in the admissions process, as Buckley strives to enroll a student body that more closely reflects the broader community.

Read more about Buckley’s DEI work here: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion



Who Should Apply: Desired Qualifications and Qualities

This is an exceptional opportunity for a dynamic educational leader who is eager to join a thriving school community united in its commitment to excellence in the education of boys and young men. Ideally, candidates will offer most of the following attributes:

Professional Qualifications and Experience

  • A breadth of experience in lower school teaching and administration, ideally though not necessarily including experience in a high-quality independent school.

  • A teacher at heart who is knowledgeable about child development and conversant with educational innovation in elementary school curriculum and pedagogy, including differentiated learning, technology, DEI work, and the education of young boys.

  • Expertise in hiring, evaluating, developing, and mentoring a talented faculty.

  • A skilled and responsive manager of programs, people, and schedules.

  • Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills, including public speaking.

  • Demonstrated experience in and commitment to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive school community.

Leadership Skills and Personal Qualities

  • A confident, collaborative, forward-thinking leader who will balance a healthy respect for tradition with a commitment to thoughtful innovation.

  • A student-centered leader who will act in the best interest of the boys.

  • A skilled communicator, comfortable conversationalist, and empathetic listener who is eager to serve as the face of the Lower School with current and prospective families.

  • A growth-minded advocate for teachers and for excellence in teaching.

  • An open-minded leader who values different perspectives and cultures, who is adroit at managing conflict, and who will actively strive to maintain an equitable and inclusive school community.

  • A positive, steady, energetic leader who is warm, responsive, and unselfish; a team player.

  • A person who thrives in an urban environment and who can appreciate the joys and challenges of growing up in New York City.

Anticipated Search Calendar

Application Deadline: January 10, 2022

Semifinalist Interviews: January 29-30, 2022

Finalist Visits: February 2022

Anticipated Appointment: February 2022

Starting Date: July 1, 2022

Application Instructions:

Application Requirements And Search Process

DRG Talent Advisory Group is conducting this search on behalf of The Buckley School. To discuss the opportunity in more detail, contact the lead search consultants:

Jennifer Fleischer                                              Laura Hansen                     

Candidates should submit, as soon as possible and no later than Monday, January 10, 2022, materials including the following: 

  • A cover letter indicating why you are particularly interested in and qualified for the position. 

  • A current resume. 

  • A statement of educational and leadership philosophy.

  • The names, email addresses, and telephone numbers of five references, to include the relationship with the references. (We will obtain permission from candidates before contacting references.)

  • Optional: other supporting material (e.g., articles, talks, etc.) that would be useful to the Search Committee. 

Application materials should be uploaded directly to the DRG website by visiting the Buckley listing at

This position description is based upon material provided by The Buckley School, an equal opportunity employer. Buckley does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, physical or mental disability, citizenship status, marital status, creed, sexual orientation, ethnicity, carrier status, or any other characteristic protected by law. The Buckley School actively seeks diversity in its faculty and student body.

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About Goals

Your goals describe specific areas that you are working on (or plan to work on) to improve or maintain the quality of your program. Goals connect your quality improvement work to the QUALITY standards and your rating and allow you to schedule and prioritize chunks of work in your progranm. Goals group together and organize related action items (tasks) and provide a narrative framework to keep you, your program, your QIM and Central Office on the same page.

Goal Scope and Scale

You have a lot of flexibility in developing QI Goals, but some rules of thumb help keep Goals useful, readable, and manageable:

  • Time: A Goal should be achievable roughly within a rating cycle, If you are struggling to put even an estimated end date on a Goal, it may be too broad. Ideally, several Goals will fit (with some overlap) within a rating cycle.
  • Standards: A Goal should roughly fit within a standard subcategory. This is flexible, of course, but if your Goal is spanning multiple standard categories, it may be too broad.
  • A Goal may be too small if it can be accomplished in one or two small steps.
  • A Goal may be too broad if you can't define concisely how you will know when it is complete.
Goal Label

The goal label is simply a brief title that allows you to distinguish this goal from others in a list or report. The more robust description of the Goal comes in the Goal statement below.

Think of it like naming a file on your computer so that later you can recognize it. This label will appear on your goal as a "title" along with your Goal statement, as well as being the identifier in drop-down or selection lists for viewing/using Goals.

Goal Statement

What is your goal?

Goal Rationale / Inspiration

Where did this goal come from? What in your rating and/or conversations about the program led to the development of this Goal? Why is this particular area of quality improvement a priority?

Quality Impact

How will the quality of the program improve? What will be different about the way the program works, looks and feels? How will children, families, the director and staff experience the program differently?

Goal Activity Summary

Summarize / brainstorm the actions you think you'll need to take to accomplish this goal. You'll be defining specific action items as you go, but record the big picture here. What practices will need to change? Who will need to be involved? What will need to be purchased? What training/coaching will be needed?

Goal Existing Resources

What existing strengths and resources will help this goal be successful?

Goal Barriers

What factors, events or concerns might prevent you from accomplishing this goal? If you've attempted to make these changes in the past, what barriers arose and prevented you from following through? What resources or information could help you overcome these barriers and accomplish this goal?

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