The Latin School of Chicago is a nationally recognized community known for the excellence of its programs and for providing an incredibly wide range of opportunities for its students. Its program is as vibrant as the city of Chicago. Its ambition and sense of purpose stand out among the nation’s schools.
The School began in 1888 when a group of parents in Chicago enlisted Mabel Slade Vickery, a teacher from the East Coast, to take charge of a new parent-owned school. The first class consisted of 10 boys approximately 10 years old.
From the start, the goal was to provide students with a rigorous college-preparatory education in the classical tradition, with a curriculum that was heavily influenced by Classical studies and the study of Greek and Latin languages, hence the name “Latin School.” Latin language is still taught in the middle and upper school today, and the phrase “Latin Learners” is used to capture the teaching and learning mindset of the community. These traditions persist in spirit, but the school is innovative and forward looking, with projects underway that are at the forefront of independent education.
Basic tenets of the school are found in these vision and mission statements:
To achieve our vision for educational excellence, our strategy is to LEAD by creating an inclusive, equitable and healthy culture for challenging and engaging learning.
Latin School of Chicago provides its students with a rigorous and innovative educational program in a community that embraces diversity of people, cultures and ideas. Latin inspires its students to pursue their passions and lead lives of purpose and excellence.
Latin School achieves its mission by:
Encouraging excellence in all academic and personal pursuits.
Creating an educational environment in which the pursuit of academic excellence and intellectual growth is complemented by a concern for the moral, physical, psychological and aesthetic development of each student.
Developing and retaining excellent faculty and staff.
Recognizing the fundamental importance of honesty, civility, public service and respect for others and the environment.
Cultivating resilience, independence leadership and moral courage.
Sustaining a diverse, inclusive and multicultural community that affirms and values each individual.
Attracting dedicated families committed to the mission of the school.
Promoting programs in all divisions that integrate our students with the community.
Developing the financial and physical resources to support the school’s needs.
Latin is an equal opportunity employer, and the search committee for this position will participate in specific anti-bias training before evaluating candidates.
The Latin School of Chicago at a Glance
Overall: 1189 (Junior Kindergarten – 12th)
Upper School: 497 (39% identify as students of color)
Middle School: 307 (32% identify as students of color)
Lower School: 385 (45% identify as students of color)
Latin is home to students from 75 Chicago neighborhoods and 12 suburbs. $5.9 million+ is allocated to financial aid, which 13.5% of students receive. Retention of students is strong, with many attending the school from JK through 12th.
Latin students are diverse, highly capable learners in the classroom. They work hard as their curiosity is matched to their studies, beginning with the purposeful play of the Junior Kindergarten program. Students are taught to understand the importance of working and learning together, how to exhibit thoughtful and caring behavior for the good of their classroom and school, and guided with ideas of awareness, action and empathy to help them recognize their role in creating a thriving community. The outsized outcomes of Latin graduates begin with the solid foundation and habits of mind created in the lower school. There is an appreciation on campus for the fact that Latin’s strong remission policy allows many faculty and staff children to attend the school, which further connects employees to the school and to the parent body.
The Latin faculty is filled with talented, hard-working educators. 87% of them have advanced degrees and 40% have worked at the school for at least ten years. 23% identify as faculty of color, and the school is committed to increasing this number. A glance at their educational backgrounds demonstrates rich experience in early childhood education and their various specialties. Reading the surveys used to launch this search, one finds across-the-board praise for faculty work and the lower school community.
Faculty in the lower school seem to be uncommonly interested in utilizing professional development activities to bring new ideas and programs to the school. Their work is supported by an impressive set of assistant teachers who come to Latin to participate in a program that supports their professional development.
Head of School
Head of School Randall Dunn was appointed in 2011 after serving as head of school at The Roeper School. He currently serves on the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) board of trustees, soon as chair, along with the boards of the National Network of Schools in Partnership, the Mastery Transcript Consortium, and Milton Academy.
In talking to lower school faculty, one is immediately impressed by their knowledge and support of a wide range of innovative programs. Reggio Emilia, Singapore Math, the Erikson Institute (located in Chicago), Responsive Classroom, Lucy Calkins Reading and Writing Workshop, Teaching Tolerance, Structured Word Inquiry, and Project Zero: this list of important programs is just the beginning when describing the richness of the lower school program and its basis in well thought out early-childhood theory.
The lower school uses the term “specials” to capture work beyond homeroom classes. These specials include PE, Spanish, Music, Art, Library, Science, Computer Science, Math Lab, and Roundtable. Each of these areas has dedicated and well-trained faculty members working with students. Weekly assemblies offer additional academic and social experience for students.
Lower school students are additionally supported in their academic and personal lives through extensive commitments to learning resources, counseling, and health services, including two dedicated lower school nurses.
The Lower School Director reports to the head of school and is a member of the senior administrative team.
The Lower School Director works with the Assistant Lower School Director, Administrative Assistant, and Academic Chairs (which includes representatives from each grade level, three specials teachers, and a learning specialist). With this team and the senior administrative team, the Lower School Director is responsible for:
Leading the lower school community.
The academic program and the evaluation and support of faculty.
Student support and all curricular and extracurricular programs.
Application Requirements and the Search Process
Acting on behalf of the Latin School of Chicago, DRG/Wickenden Associates is actively recruiting exceptional candidates for this compelling position. The lead consultant is Andrew Watson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Candidates should submit ASAP and no later than February 8, 2021, an application package including the following:
A cover letter indicating why they are particularly interested in and qualified for the position.
A current résumé.
A statement of educational philosophy.
Additional materials (e.g., articles, speeches, or letters of recommendation) that would be useful to the Hiring Committee.
A separate document with the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of five references. (We will obtain permission from candidates before contacting references.)
These materials should be uploaded using the Current Searches page of the DRG Website (www.DRGsearch.com). Please be alert to the fact that DRG/Wickenden Associates is leading both the Upper School and Lower School Director searches when you reach DRG’s Latin School search page and begin your submissions.
After an initial review of applicants, the Hiring Committee will hold Zoom meetings with selected candidates in late February. Finalists will be chosen, and interviewed soon thereafter, either in person or by Zoom, depending on the status of the pandemic. An appointment is anticipated by the end of March.
This position description is based upon material provided by the Latin School of Chicago, an equal opportunity employer.
Who Should Apply: Important Qualities and Qualifications
Educational and Professional Profile
A commitment to and understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Excellent knowledge and training in early childhood and elementary education.
Understanding of the complexities of leadership during a pandemic, with a problem-solving approach to both current conditions and the aftermath. A leader who is prepared to help young students adjust back to their academic and social lives on campus while also helping and healing different school constituencies after COVID-created disagreements.
Experience working with talented, hard-working, and passionate/opinionated faculty members along with equally passionate/opinionated parents. A leader with experience in balancing the needs and desires of different school constituencies.
Knowledge of and interest in the programmatic initiatives listed earlier, with the ability to evaluate their success and prioritize between them and new initiatives.
Experience with curriculum alignment and frameworks that support curriculum design (such as the current school-wide UbD format).
Project management skills.
Experience with supporting work in admissions.
Strong academic credentials, with a master's degree or higher.
Optimal personal and leadership skills would include:
A student-oriented mindset, someone who finds joy with students.
Strong, collaborative team building and listening skills, along with the ability to reach and explain a conclusion or decision after the voices of others are heard.
A leader whose first instinct is transparency whenever possible.
A responsive leader, someone who communicates effectively and in a timely fashion.
Strong speaking, writing, and digital communication skills.
Excellent organizational and delegation skills to assist with the competing demands of the position.
Energy and enthusiasm for spending time with students, faculty, staff, and parent groups.
Commitment to Latin’s ambitious vision and standards of excellence.
Openness to feedback, with strong problem-solving skills when considering feedback.
An affinity for life in Chicago and a desire to strengthen the city as well as the school.
A smart, critical thinker with a curious and reflective quality of mind.
The ability to lift the community’s spirit when adversity arrives.
Employer will assist with relocation costs.
About Latin School of Chicago
Since 1888, Latin has been committed to academic excellence in an environment that creates a life-long love of learning and supports students as they pursue their passions. Our school is home to students from throughout the city and suburbs and we value the variety of experiences that they bring to our learning environment. “Of Chicago” is more than a part of our school’s name – those words help to define the school itself.