Director of the Saul and Carole Zabar Nursery School at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
June 26, 2018
New York, New York
Commensurate with experience
Full Time - Experienced
We are accepting applications now for this position which starts Summer, 2019
We seek a visionary Director to lead a vibrant, top-notch private nursery school. The Director is expected to display excellent leadership and engage in meaningful relationships with all members of our nursery school community. The Director should embrace Jewish values and community life; a progressive approach to education; and the belief that children are strong, competent citizens.
Essential duties and responsibilities of the Director:
Provide pedagogical support to individual teachers and teaching teams, noting each teacher’s pedagogical strengths as well as challenging each teacher to grow
Provide support for emergent curriculum in each classroom by spending time with teachers and students and by using relevant theory to inform teacher conversations
Support teachers as they establish collegial relationships with their own teaching team as well as the broader school faculty
Recruit and hire teachers as needed, supported by current teachers in the recruitment and interview process.
Create and maintain ongoing opportunities for professional growth of all staff members
Engage with students on a daily basis in public spaces in the school as well as in classrooms in order to promote and model your interactional style
Learn about students’ individual journeys in order to provide support for teachers and parents
Support teachers in their ongoing observation and documentation of students’ journeys, as it pertains to developmental milestones and pre-academic readiness
An emphasis on open, honest, transparent relationships and communications
Provide ongoing support for a broad range of parenting topics in one-on-one parent conversations as well as in formal large group settings
Engage with the school’s Learning Specialist in supporting children with learning differences by providing insight and advice to teachers and parents.
Engage with the school’s Educational Coordinator in supporting parents and families as they navigate tough topics and life cycle events such as parenting struggles at home, developing routines, a birth or death in the family, etc.
Admissions and enrollment
Support the Admissions Director in the coordination of the admissions season, including parent tours and child play sessions
Review student applications and make admissions decisions
Coordinate full school enrollment along with the Admissions Director
Exmissions and school placement
Establish and maintain strong relationships with NYC private and public elementary schools
Along with the Associate Director, support 50-70 families each year in their “exmissions” journey, providing in-depth knowledge of the exmissions process as it pertains to individual children and families and consistent support to families throughout all key stages of the process.
Embedded throughout each of the above duties and responsibilities is a focus on building trusting relationships. The Director is expected to spend a significant amount of time and energy on forming relationships with children, teachers, parents, and caregivers in order to know and understand the pulse of the school community. The Director is supported by a strong central administrative team, allowing for the Director to prioritize this relationship building time.
School culture emphasizes the notion that religion can be used as a vehicle through which to approach values, and therefore sees Judaism as a tool through which to connect with, and learn about, core values such as social responsibility, kindness, holiness, trust, individuality, etc. We are a values-oriented school in all that we do, from classroom curricula to school management decisions.
The school has been on a Reggio journey for 10 years, annually challenging itself to reflect on, inquire into, and explore its own pedagogical practices. As a Reggio-inspired school, children are seen as competent citizens who contribute meaningfully to the creation of their community. This occurs through the use of the 100 languages of children and the ruthless listening of the classroom teachers. On an alternating basis, two teachers are selected to attend an annual professional development conference in the town of Reggio Emilia, Italy.
Inclusive educational setting
The school is committed to an inclusive educational environment, in which children’s differences, needs, and delays are celebrated and supported. This is noted at all stages of the child’s journey, including admissions, classroom experience, and exmissions.
The school embraces a “distributed leadership” model, in which the teaching staff makes meaningful decisions about the school’s organization, management, and future. This includes areas such as school calendar, teacher professional development, the interview and hiring process for new teachers, and the leadership structure itself. This model promotes a school structure in which teachers are responsible for “more than” their individual classroom, and in which the Director succeeds through open, ongoing collaboration with the entire teaching staff.
The school embodies a professional atmosphere in which each staff member is expected to daily challenge themselves to grow, by engaging in critical self-reflection as well as honest, growth-oriented peer conversations. Staff is challenged to find comfort in vulnerable moments such as critical feedback and challenging goals.
Embedded within community
The school is embedded within the larger JCC community and therefore benefits from watching the entire arc of a family’s journey with us. Children often come to the JCC as newborns for parent-and-me classes (post-natal yoga, tummy time, breastfeeding support, etc), continuing their journey through infant classes (music, sports, aquatics, etc) as well as beyond the nursery years (after school, weekend programming, camp, etc). The nursery school plays a vital role in sustaining a vibrant Jewish community for families at all points in their journey. The school also maintains a robust alumni group.
The school encompasses the entirety of the 2nd floor of JCC Manhattan and has eight physical classrooms that host 10 classes (due to part-time classes). Each classroom features large windows overlooking the street, a child bathroom, built-in cubbies, a teacher sink and counter, and individualized AC and heat controls.
The classrooms encircle a large Common Space, affectionately referred to as the community’s “living room”. Each classroom door opens towards the Common Space, allowing for rich social exchanges throughout the day between children, teachers, parents, and caregivers. The Common Space is used variously as an art space, for admissions tours, for lunch groups, ad hoc after school playdates, school wide sing alongs, and more. The Common Space is lined by a large, well-maintained aquarium.
Additional spaces within the school include a staff lounge, a full kitchen for use by staff and students, a receptionist area, and separate offices for the Director, Admissions Director, Associate Director, and Specialists. The school enjoys the exclusive use of a full playground on the rooftop with views of Manhattan, as well as a large gymnasium on the 3rd floor of the building. Classrooms will also variously use other locations within the JCC such as art studios, yoga rooms, lobby museum exhibits, and more.
The facilities are immaculately maintained by JCC facilities and maintenance staff, tending to daily cleaning needs as well as larger structural needs
Each classroom has a team of three teachers, for a total of 24 full time classroom teachers. ¾ of the teaching staff has a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education or a related field, while nearly all of the remaining ¼ have begun coursework towards a Master’s degree.
Two full time Floating Teachers support each classroom on an as needed basis
The Learning Specialist spends three full days a week with the school, spending time in classrooms observing children and in meetings with teachers and parents. The Learning Specialist supports families through the journey of learning about developmental differences and coordinating support through NYC’s Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE).
The Parent Support and Educational Coordinator spends two days a week with the school, supporting staff through challenging in-class situations and parents through tough topics at home.
The Atelierista works full time on creating rich, engaging materials-based opportunities for children, and supporting teachers in maintaining thoughtful, intentional materials and art supplies in their classrooms.
Additional specialists include yoga (an external company), music (three days a week), gym (JCC coaches), and a school librarian (part time).
The Director is supported by the Associate Director, Admissions Director, and School Receptionist, who have been with the school for 18, 5, and 14 years, respectively.
Classroom teaching experience in a progressive nursery school
Comprehensive knowledge around child development in the nursery years
Familiarity with a Reggio-inspired approach to early childhood education
A deep understanding of Jewish values, community life, and the rhythms of the Jewish calendar
A commitment to exploring innovative approaches to pedagogy, school leadership, and Jewish values
A high degree of comfort and confidence in interfacing with parents, including while discussing difficult or sensitive topics
Dynamic and engaging leadership presence
Excellent writing and communication skills
Strong public speaking skills
A Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education or related field
Experience with New York City ongoing admissions and exmissions is a strong plus
Fiscal management skills
Supervisory experience in a nursery school
A commitment to the power of early experiences to meaningfully impact an individual over the life course
About Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan is located at 334 Amsterdam Avenue at 76th Street. Our mission is to build an inclusive Jewish community that celebrates the strength of diversity. We are a home for individuals and families of all backgrounds to grow and learn, and to care about and deepen their connections to one another. Rooted in Jewish values, our cultural, social, educational, and recreational programs offer multiple pathways into the richness of community life for members of all ages. Through our partnerships and programs, we seek to fulfill our responsibility to the people of Israel and Jews throughout the world, and to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and our city.