THE HEAD OF SCHOOL
THE VILLAGE CHARTER SCHOOL, TRENTON NJ
The Village Charter School [VCS] [www. villagecharter.org] seeks a dynamic, focused and
accomplished administrator to assume the position of The Head of School. The starting date will
be on or before July 2010.
The Village Charter School seeks a Head of School to respect and build upon the successes of
the past and to lead the school to the next phase of development. S/he will refine systems to
institutionalize programs, management, and governance practices and lead strategic planning
initiatives to ensure long-term academic success and financial sustainability. The Head of School
will be a proven leader with a commitment to VCS’s mission and to advancing educational
opportunities for youth in under-served communities. This candidate will be an accomplished
manager and fundraiser with an entrepreneurial spirit and a true collaborator committed to
leading the high performing staff of a school with an excellent reputation.
The ideal candidate will have significant hands-on administrative experience in a public or
private educational institution or a not for profit organization. The candidate will be willing to
embrace and implement VCS’s structure, philosophy and values. Successful leadership
experience in an educational /organizational environment where significant achievement has
occurred, or an achievement gap has been reduced and academic scores have improved, will be
critical. Experience in budgetary matters and finance is required. A Master's Degree or higher in
Education/Administration is a minimal requirement. A Ph.D. or Ed.D. will be an asset.
The ideal candidate must be approachable, genuine, caring, and passionately committed to
children. S/he must be a collaborative planner open to new ideas, a creative problem solver, a
strong motivator, a good listener and an excellent oral and written communicator. S/he must be
receptive to stakeholder involvement in the educational process, believe in data driven decision
making, and be able to achieve the educational goals set by The Village Charter School. S/he
must demonstrate excellent public relations skills.
The Mercer Street Friends Center and community of supporters recognized the opportunity to
fulfill a long-standing commitment to enhance public education in Trenton by serving Trenton’s
youngest and most vulnerable citizens - the city’s children. With the passage of the New Jersey
Charter School Act of 1995, a charter school of excellence was thus established and their long
tradition of providing caring and supportive programs and services to the greater Trenton
community was expanded.
The name "Village Charter School" was one of purpose. The school’s intent was to bring
students, families and the community together as a village of friends - learning, working and
experiencing life’s opportunities. It was seen as an investment in Trenton's future.
After years of planning, fundraising and construction, this vision became a reality when the
Village Charter School opened its doors to 153 kindergarten to second grade students on
September 9, 1999. The original school building - the first new school construction in Trenton
in over 35 years - was 30,000 square feet with 16 classrooms, a library/media center, and a 6,000
foot multi-purpose room used as a gymnasium, cafeteria, and stage/performance area. This
handsome facility was expanded to include a middle school wing in September, 2003.
The Village Charter School is now ten years old, and in the spring of 2007, proudly graduated its
first class of eighth graders. Presently, the school has two classes of each of the K-8 grade levels.
Each class has a maximum of 20 students. Students in the 7th and 8th grades are divided into 3
sections reducing the class size to 12/14.
Located on a 10 acre green campus on the western edge of the City of Trenton, The Village
Charter School has a "footprint" that includes an area where a playing field is located.
The School lives by its mission expressed in the following words: “Our mission is to create a
child-centered community of active learners where each child can and will succeed in ways that
reflect his or her own unique aptitudes and interests. The Village Charter School affirms that
every child has a right to a quality education and that high academic standards must be set. At
The Village Charter School, children will develop critical thinking skills, learn to communicate
effectively, feel a sense of well-being and live responsibly in an atmosphere that promotes
tolerance and empathy for others. In this endeavor, we seek to unite parents, teachers and the
community in the common pursuit of excellence.”
At The Village Charter School, in addition to a strong focus on the basics of reading, writing,
mathematics and science, the following are also offered:
• Spanish as a second language
• Language Arts Literacy and Math Honors Program for 7th and 8th grade
• Technology Program
• Sports Program
• Safety Patrol for Elementary students
• Student Council for Intermediate Students
• After School Achievement Academy
• After school clubs
• Piano and Singing Lessons
• AVID[Advancement Via Individual Determination] Program
VCS, a not for profit corporation, is governed by a Board of Trustees. The Board oversees the
school and is ultimately responsible for its financial, educational, and operational stability,
subject to provisions of the New Jersey Charter School Act. The Board meets monthly.
Committees include Finance, Advancement, Education, Personnel and Governance. The Board is
composed of community leaders and parents involved in many fields including finance,
education, non-profit governance, and law in New Jersey. It is a diverse group committed to the
continued success of the school.
KEY ISSUES AND CHALLENGES
At the outset of the search, The Village Charter School invited representatives from its
stakeholder groups to attend a series of workshop sessions to solicit input on issues, concerns,
ideas, and key challenges. Participants took part in an open-ended, hands-on dynamic process
that was energizing and designed to build a genuine sense of ownership by stakeholders in the
process. A detailed report will be available on the website for the information of candidates.
The Head of School reports directly to the Board and administers the curriculum and
instructional programs to support the principal and teachers in the school’s primary mission of
educating children. The Principal and the COO/BA report directly to the Head of School. The
Head of School is responsible for the entire operation of the school and directly manages a
leadership team comprised of academic and operations administrators.
The Board is seeking a distinguished administrator with demonstrated success as a leader,
manager and communicator. A commitment to academic excellence and awareness of
developments in education and pedagogy are essential. Likewise, prior extensive experience in
administration at a public or private educational institution, or a not-for -profit organization, and
experience with the intricacies and uniqueness of an urban school, are required. The successful
candidate must hold a Master's degree or higher in Education/Administration. Demonstrated
expertise in raising achievement as well as success in involving stakeholders and the community
in the educational process is critical. Working knowledge of federal, state and local education
system regulatory requirements and demonstrated ability to implement and adhere to these
requirements is expected.
Leadership and Management
The Head of School is the chief executive and holds responsibility, accountability, and authority
for the school’s overall performance and success in achieving key targets and goals. The Head is
also responsible for ensuring the school’s long-term sustainability. Specific challenges include,
but are not limited to the following:
• Honor the legacies of the founding vision while articulating a strategic vision that brings
the school to the next level of success
• Inspire and nurture a “no excuses” culture that embraces accountability and results
• Diagnose the gaps between where the school is versus where it aspires to be, and see that
strategies and practices are implemented to understand and close these gaps
• Ensure and lead curriculum review, renewal and revision establishing a 5 year curriculum
• Facilitate strategic planning with the Board of Trustees
• Attract diverse teachers and staff who are passionate about the school and its students
• Develop and retain high-performing individuals to ensure long-term staffing and
The Head of School is responsible to ensure the organization meets annual revenue goals without
compromising the quality of the program. Specific challenges include, but are not limited to the
• See that fundraising targets are set to ensure long-term financial sustainability
• Develop and maintain relationships with philanthropic, business, and public sectors to
increase awareness of the school and build its donor base within a competitive non-profit
[specifically charter school] funding environment
Operations and Finance
The Head of School holds ultimate responsibility for all of the school’s operations—from school
safety to performance management for staff to financial planning. This individual must ensure
that VCS remains in strong financial standing and that the school is in compliance with laws,
regulations, and requirements. Specific challenges include, but are not limited to the following:
• Oversee and manage the operating budget with the COO/Business Administrator
• Oversee school compliance with all applicable charter laws, regulatory reporting,
contractual obligations, and donor restrictions
• Develop and manage all Human Resources functions
• Ensure that an effective performance management system is in place for all staff
Communication and Marketing
The Head of School is the primary external champion for VCS and must represent and advocate
for the school in various settings and ensure accuracy and consistency in the school’s internal
and external messages. Specific challenges include, but are not limited to the following:
• Represent the school as a leader of VCS’s education community in all advocacy efforts
[e.g., legislative efforts to sustain charter school funding levels] as well as a community
leader to maintain support from the community
• Develop and maintain effective relationships with the Board, faculty and staff, students
and parents, community members, local leadership in businesses and organizations, and
current and prospective supporters
• Develop and ensure successful branding of VCS
The Head of School will work with administrators to ensure that the school continues to
strengthen its academic program and advance student achievement. Specific challenges include,
but are not limited to the following:
• Ensure that the school meets federal and state requirements and, specifically, makes AYP
as defined through No Child Left Behind legislation
• Maintain commitment to a higher order/critical thinking environment for students while
balancing the need for test preparation to meet state standardized testing goals and
• Strengthen and expand the school’s mission throughout the curriculum and program
• Develop a system of metrics to measure success such as in Blue Ribbon Schools
The ideal candidate will have extensive leadership experience in leading an organization with a
successful record in fundraising, budgeting, governance, and marketing. The effective leader will
be focused on performance and results as s/he envisions the next phase of the school’s evolution.
S/he will have the ability to inspire excellence from a diverse staff and to utilize the talents of the
Board of Trustees. S/he will be a confident decision-maker facilitating collaboration and team
work, and will have experience forming, cultivating, and expanding partnerships within the
public and private sectors.
While experience in educational leadership and the charter school movement are pluses, they are
not required. However, the candidate should be knowledgeable about curriculum development
and must demonstrate a strong passion for advancing educational achievement in low-income
communities as well as embody the mission/vision of the Village Charter School. Knowledge of
New Jersey education, government regulations, and funding networks will be valuable in this
The Head of School must be able to make a compelling case for resources in an increasingly
competitive environment. S/he must see fostering relationships with individuals, foundations,
members of the private sector, and government grant makers as an essential part of his/her role.
Staying abreast of funding opportunities and working them to the school’s advantage will be a
critical component of this position. The ideal candidate will demonstrate significant past success
with fundraising and strategic planning.
The Head of School will believe that all children can learn and reach high levels of academic
achievement. The Head of School must be:
• Passionately committed to children and to their education which will be apparent in every
aspect of his/her leadership style. The Head of School must be open to new ideas and
must actively seek out innovative strategies to improve student achievement. S/he will be
attuned to future trends in education and their applicability and impact on student
performance and educational success.
• An aspiring leader and communicator, the Head of School must possess the confidence
and ability to articulate high expectations for academic achievement by every student as
well as the capacity to challenge VCS to set a nation-wide expectation of excellence in
student performance, and inspire teachers, parents and children to embrace that vision.
S/he will be positive, projecting energy and enthusiasm. S/he will appreciate public
presentations and will have stage presence and self-assurance. An articulate speaker and
effective writer, the Head of School will communicate the school’s vision to the
community and will build constructive relationships of trust with the Board, community
leaders, parents, teachers and staff. S/he will value parents' input and will be comfortable
working with them and utilizing their talents and energies as resources. S/he must value
cultural, racial and economic diversity. S/he will delegate appropriate responsibilities
and authority, involve people in decisions that affect them, and address performance
• A strong, organized manager, the Head of School will be a self-starter who thrives in a
setting that rewards autonomy and accountability. S/he will lead by example and a
hands-on approach. The Head of School will establish high performance standards, hold
people accountable and focused on goals and priorities, identify and remove barriers to
objectives, ensure that adequate resources are available to achieve objectives, and make
decisions that benefit the school's mission and continuing financial viability.
• A proven team builder, the Head of School will assist in the recruitment of superior
administrators, faculty and staff, and manage their performance and growth.
• The Head of School will be capable of thinking clearly and staying focused under
pressure, will demonstrate a willingness to take responsibility for mistakes and work to
avoid repeating them, and will be transparent in his/her working relationship with the
Board. S/he will possess and project unwavering confidence in his/her personal capacity,
take personal initiative to achieve the school's goals, and set a high standard for work
ethics and personal effectiveness.
Certain personal characteristics are essential for success for the new Head of School. The
expectation is that the successful candidate will
• Have a secure sense of self that results in steady leadership.
• Be Business-savvy
• Possess strong strategic thinking/planning skills
• Have an entrepreneurial spirit
• Take a problem-solving approach to obstacles
• Build a team-building, rapport with peers and staff
• Possess the humility to acknowledge the school’s successes to date and to look beyond
him/herself for answers from other high performing institutions
• Possess exceptional oral, written, listening, and interpersonal skills
• Be approachable, accessible and highly visible
• Be a positive, respectful and enthusiastic consensus-builder
• Genuinely enjoy meeting new people and listening to their points of view
• Possess personal integrity, a sense of value and a balanced character
• Have a sense of humor
This is an extraordinary opportunity for an exemplary educational leader. A competitive
compensation package, multi-year contract, and a benefits package that includes health insurance
and retirement are available.
The school proudly values diversity and is an equal opportunity employer.
Qualified candidates interested in this opportunity are invited to submit a résumé, and the names
of five references in electronic [WORD or PDF] format to:
Senior Search Consultant
Carney Sandoe & Associates
Tel: 416-656-6415; Fax: 416-651-8531