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Head of School

Austin Waldorf School
Austin, Texas
Head of School
Start Date: July 1, 2019
www.austinwaldorf.org

Overview
“We moved to Austin from Miami in order for our children to attend Austin Waldorf School.”

“We moved from San Francisco to Austin because of Austin Waldorf School.”

These statements from two of the parents we met while visiting Austin Waldorf School (AWS) say a lot. AWS is known as one of the leading Waldorf schools in the country, if not internationally. With over 360 students in grades K-12, this school lives and breathes the essence of Waldorf in a city that is one of the fastest growing, most livable in the country. No wonder people move their families for AWS.

Because Austin, Texas is growing, the AWS leadership is dreaming of significant future growth. While the school’s first graduating class was only in 2001, there are great success stories of their alumni getting into and thriving in colleges for which they well prepared, and in life after school.

Waldorf Education has remained committed to the core values of offering a well-rounded curriculum built on a model of child development. In addition to a strong academic curriculum, there is instruction in two foreign languages, instrumental and vocal music classes, handwork, movement classes, and a robust program in the arts.

Like most Waldorf schools, AWS suffers from widespread misunderstanding of what it is about. Especially as mainstream education has moved more in the direction of holistic, project-based, experiential learning that has always been part of Waldorf Education, more and more families are discovering that the Waldorf approach resonates with their values, hopes, and dreams for their children.

With a solid financial footing and the above factors favoring growth, AWS seeks a new Head of School to partner with the Board, the faculty, and the parents, to lead AWS to a bright future, starting July 1, 2019.

School History
The Austin Waldorf School began as the vision of Helen Steele, a former teacher at the Highland Hall Waldorf School in Los Angeles. It first opened its doors at the historic Johnson House on Town Lake in 1980 with a first grade and 11 children. Six years later as the school grew to eight grade school classes and two kindergartens, AWS purchased 11 acres on the southwest edge of Austin. Those 11 acres opened to the beautiful Texas hill country and the smaller bedroom communities to the southwest, which would soon prove an area of high population growth.

In the fall of 1990, a group of parents and educators proposed that a high school be built for the first eighth grade graduates of the school, a vision that had been a part of the school since its founding. The dream manifested into a reality and AWS graduated its first high school senior class in May 2001.

The School
Today, the Austin Waldorf School stands solidly on the foundation first laid by Helen Steele, cultivating a love of learning, creative thinking, a sympathetic interest in the world, self-confidence, and an abiding moral purpose by creating a school environment that integrates academic, artistic, and practical disciplines.

The peaceful 19-acre campus is nestled in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, yet only minutes from downtown Austin. Situated on 24 wooded acres on the edge of the Hill Country, the school’s classrooms, studios, and performing arts and athletic facilities provide an ideal environment for learning. The campus offers space for play, student community service, and gardening projects, or simply a quiet walk through the woods.

The faculty is committed to excellence in teaching. All faculty members are engaged in continuing study of Waldorf Education, the subjects they teach, and wider educational issues. Kindergarten teachers, grade school class teachers, and full-time high school teachers have either received or are currently in Waldorf teacher training from an adult education center recognized by the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA). The elementary school academic teachers hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Many full-time high school faculty members hold either a master’s or doctorate degree in their field. Subject teachers have either an academic degree or extensive practical experience in their respective disciplines.

The working together of parents and teachers, not just in support of the individual child or class, but in the creation of an adult community, fosters the goals of Waldorf Education. Every parent or guardian is a member of the Parent Society, which meets to cultivate a culture of volunteerism, communication, community, and support. An Adult Education Program creates and offers opportunities for parents and the wider community to increase their understanding of Waldorf Education through lectures, workshops, and guest speakers.

The school is accredited through AWSNA, the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS), and the National Council of Private School Accreditation (NCPSA).

The Governance of Austin Waldorf School
The Head of School is the sole employee reporting to the board. Like that of most Waldorf Schools, the internal structure differs from that of many other independent schools. The Head is the ‘overarching authority’ of the school, but in matters pertaining to curriculum and learning, will engage and collaborate with the pedagogical side of the school. The Head is considered the chief spokesperson for the school. Because of this unique shared governance structure, it is essential that there be clarity of “who does what,” and that if things fall into the gray area between the obvious areas of responsibility, the Head and the faculty work closely to be sure that the issue is addressed effectively and by the appropriate parties. There is agreement that decisions should be guided first by what is in the best interests of the students the school serves.

Teaching, learning, pedagogy, student programs, student life, athletics, and the hiring and supervision of personnel engaged in those functions of the school all fall under the auspices of faculty, represented by the Pedagogical Leader and the College of Teachers. The Finance, HR (i.e. benefits, payroll, etc.), Community and Resource Development (CaRD – fundraising, marketing and communications, admissions, auxiliary revenues), all Operations, and facilities fall under the authority of the Head of School who works most closely with the Board of Trustees. The Head, along with the Pedagogical Leader and the Chair(s) of the College of Teachers, make up the Advisory Council which is the coordinating body that links the administrative and pedagogical parts of the school together. Decision making is inclusive, and the principles of Dynamic Governance apply, which is an approach that is based on “no paramount objections.”

Academics
The academic programs at Austin Waldorf demonstrate a continued commitment to providing a well-rounded educational experience integrating academic, artistic, and practical disciplines. In addition to a rich academic curriculum, students are taught two foreign languages, vocal and instrumental music, handwork, woodwork, blacksmithing, fine arts, drama, and sports and games from around the world. The curriculum is designed to meet each stage of a student’s development from early childhood, through adolescence, into young adulthood. AWS cultivates a love of learning that lasts a lifetime. Nearly 95% of graduates attend a college or university.

In the Waldorf play-oriented kindergarten, a child’s sense of wonder and discovery are fostered in a world of activity. The program is based on the belief that imitation of the beautiful, meaningful, and true enables children to live life with initiative and purpose. In a physically beautiful, supportive, and structured homelike environment, the child’s day naturally flows between social and individual activities. Painting, singing, puppetry, imaginative play, baking, games, and handwork are the foundations of the curriculum. Each child’s innate capacity for curiosity, reverence, and awe is nurtured and strengthened.

The grade school, for students in grades 1-8, addresses each student’s specific developmental needs. The curriculum is designed to be meaningful, valuable, and to encourage curiosity. In addition to comprehensive language arts, math, science, and social studies, each student attends continuing classes in German and Spanish, vocal and instrumental music, speech and drama, eurythmy (an art of movement), painting, drawing, modeling, and handwork. The school also provides a complete games and physical education program, which expands into competitive team sports for students in grades 6-8.

Students in the high school for grades 9-12 are ready to meet abstract concepts with heightened cognitive capacities. The curriculum is designed to respond to the questions that students at this level are asking. During each year of high school, a different cognitive faculty is trained: the powers of observation in ninth grade, the powers of comparison in tenth, in eleventh those of analysis, and in twelfth synthesis. The arts play a role equal with the academics. Beginning in eleventh grade, the College Counseling Office helps each student formulate his or her post-secondary plans, including some preparation for the PSAT and SAT, the research and application process, and potential career options.

Athletics
Middle School athletic teams participate as members of the Austin Inter-Parochial League (AIPL). All students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade are invited to join any team of interest. Options include volleyball, flag football, basketball, swimming, track and field, tennis, and golf.

In high school, athletic teams, with the exception of flag football, participate as members of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS). The flag football team competes in the Greater Austin High School Flag Football League and won the championship in the first three years of the league’s existence. The boys’ high school basketball team has won back-to-back state championship. Team options include volleyball, flag football, cross country, soccer, basketball, swimming, track and field, tennis, and golf.

School Life
The Austin Waldorf School is proud of its engaged faculty, staff, students, and parents. Community events, such as plays, concerts, fairs, and other special days like Grandparents Day, connect the community and contribute to the school’s family feel. AWS observes the changing cycles of seasons, equinoxes, and solstices that cultures all over the world have marked for centuries as turning points of the year. This healthy festival life allows the community a chance to come together and recognize and celebrate each other, the community, and the world.

Austin, Texas
The capital of the state of Texas, Austin is the second-largest state capital in the United States. A vibrant cultural and economic center, Austin was one of the fastest-growing large cities in the nation over the past decade and is home to a number of Fortune 500 companies’ headquarters or regional offices, including Apple, eBay, Google, IBM, Texas Instruments, Whole Foods, and nearby Dell. The University of Texas at Austin plays a big part of the life of the city. Its educational and sports-related activities provide a great addition to the quality of life in Austin.

Known officially as “the live music capital of the world,” Austin is home to a diverse array of musicians and live music venues. The internationally known South by Southwest Arts Festival is held annually in March. The city’s culture is eclectic, sometimes quirky, and community-driven, and many proclaim its proud, yet unofficial slogan, “Keep Austin Weird.”

Averaging 228 days of sunshine, the city’s climate makes it a haven for outdoor activists including bikers, runners, and swimmers. A lively, bustling city with many economic, cultural, and recreational activities, Austin is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. The city has a wide array of educational opportunities to offer families in all stages of life.

Strengths of the School
Among many strengths of the school, the new Head of School will find:

  • A school that lives and is committed to the principles, values, and practices of Waldorf Education. The full K-12 continuum of Waldorf Education.
  • A curriculum that is rich and broad, even among Waldorf schools, including a robust student support program.
  • A dedicated, Waldorf-trained, committed faculty, supported by generous professional development.
  • Exceptionally strong faculty-student knowledge and close relationships.
  • A supportive and engaged Board of Trustees.
  • An admirable track record of graduates gaining admission to and having success in colleges, and life thereafter.
  • A strong, closely knit, warm community of faculty, staff, students, and families.
  • An engaged and supportive parent body that volunteers in many ways yet respects appropriate boundaries.
  • Solid financial foundation and black-ink operations.
  • A natural-feeling physical campus amid the trees, abounding with nature, yet accessible to Austin families.
  • A state-of-the-art performing arts center, full-sized gymnasium, art and science facilities, and dedicated grades and high school classroom spaces.
  • Austin, Texas, regularly cited as one of America’s most livable, hippest, fastest growing cities.

Challenges and Opportunities
Any school leader wants to have impact. Among the challenges and opportunities, the new Head of School will be expected to address are:

  • Take a leadership role in bringing to conclusion the intertwined projects of developing both a realistic growth plan and facilities master plan.
  • As the “face of the school,” lead the process of developing common language and messages that unite the school internally around a shared vision; and replace external misinformation with accurate, inspiring, and persuasive narratives of the realities of AWS education.
  • Continue to build relationships and establish trust within and between all school constituencies.
  • Assure that appropriate policies and procedures are clearly articulated and consistently applied in all aspects of the school operations.
  • Continue the ongoing work of refining and adapting the AWS governance structure to:
    • Assure timely and effective student-centered decisions.
    • Provide clarity, consistency, and transparency so that everyone knows where to go in order to get answers or address issues.
    • Embrace and respect the division of responsibility for pedagogical matters, administrative matters, and matters shared by faculty and administration.
    • Aid the board in its efforts partner effectively with the faculty and administration, each with their appropriate responsibilities in support of the school as a whole.
  • Grow the enrollment of the school, especially the high school.
  • Because of AWS’ size, location, and expertise, explore opportunities to serve the larger community of Waldorf Education through activities such as teacher training and professional development.
  • To coincide with the 2021 20th anniversary of the first graduating class, launch a comprehensive alumni engagement program.
  • Prepare for the 2020-2021 decennial ISAS/AWSNA re-accreditation.

Skills and Personal Characteristics

Desirable qualifications include:

  • An appreciation of, and the ability to be a compelling advocate for the value of Waldorf Education.
  • A servant leader who is unfailingly child-centered in decision making.
  • An administrative expert who respects and collaborates with the pedagogical experts within the school.
  • An excellent communicator who can shape communicate the vision of “where we are all going together.”
  • A charismatic, cheerful advocate for the school, visible in the life of the school and connected in the broader community.
  • A proven track record of successful school administrative leadership, including:
    • Financial literacy and sound fiscal management.
    • Fundraising experience and skill.
    • Clear communication and consistent application of policies and procedures.
    • Experience successfully structuring and staffing an effective administration.
    • Familiarity with faculty and staff compensation systems and HR requirements.
    • Familiarity with policies and procedures, technology, and other tools of a culture of administrative excellence.
  • An open, warm, accessible, welcoming personal style, open to new ideas and willing to explore new approaches.
  • Experience working in a best-practices relationship with a highly effective Board.
  • “Collaborative Backbone” – the ability to involve all stakeholders in the decision-making process when possible, the ability to make decisions when necessary, and the commitment to sticking to what’s right, even if it is not always popular.
  • A bridge-builder with high EQ who inspires confidence and trust within and between all the constituents of the school.

To Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should submit electronically in one email and as separate documents (preferably PDFs) the following materials:

  • A cover letter expressing their interest in this particular position;
  • A current résumé;
  • A statement of administrative leadership philosophy;
  • A list of five professional references with name, phone number, and email address of each (references will not be contacted without the candidate’s permission) to:

Skip Kotkins
Senior Consultant
skip.kotkins@carneysandoe.com

Lead Kindergarten Teacher 2019-2020

The Austin Waldorf School is seeking an experienced Lead Kindergarten Teacher to join our early childhood faculty for the 2019-20 school year.  

The ideal candidate will have demonstrated success implementing Waldorf early childhood education in a mixed-age setting, and be enthusiastic about integrating previous experience with the unique traditions of the Austin Waldorf School.  

Austin Waldorf School has three mixed-age kindergarten classes, with ages ranging from 3½-6 years old. Each kindergarten class has up to 20 students and one full time assistant.

In addition to a Bachelor’s Degree and Waldorf Early Childhood Certification, this position requires excellent communication and organizational skills, a high level of creativity and personal initiative, the ability and desire to work closely with colleagues and parents in support of students, and the warmth and flexibility to work with students within a broad range of age.  

The Austin Waldorf School offers a competitive benefits package, including full tuition remission, competitive compensation, health insurance, a retirement plan, and ample professional development support.

To apply, please complete an online application and include a cover letter and resume.

How to Apply

If you are interested in joining a warm, hospitable and growing community such as ours, please submit your employment application via the link below. The Austin Waldorf School is a non-profit organization that welcomes applicants of any religion, race, color, sexual orientation, gender preference, and national or ethnic origin.

Apply Now
First Grade Teacher 2019-2020

The Austin Waldorf School is seeking an experienced First Grade Class Teacher for the 2019-2020 school year.  AWS has large classes of approximately 30 students in the grades. A Bachelor’s degree and Waldorf training are required.  This position also requires excellent organizational skills, a high level of personal initiative, the ability and desire to work closely with other faculty members in support of students, and the warmth and flexibility to work with students with a wide range of abilities.

How to Apply

If you are interested in joining a warm, hospitable and growing community such as ours, please submit your employment application via the link below. The Austin Waldorf School is a non-profit organization that welcomes applicants of any religion, race, color, sexual orientation, gender preference, and national or ethnic origin.

Apply Now
Substitute Teacher Openings

Austin Waldorf School is currently accepting applications for grade school substitute teachers in all subjects.  Applicants with teaching experience, Waldorf training and/or an interest in deepening their understanding of Waldorf methods are encouraged to apply. 

 

How to Apply

If you are interested in joining a warm, hospitable and growing community such as ours, please submit your employment application via the link below. The Austin Waldorf School is a non-profit organization that welcomes applicants of any religion, race, color, sexual orientation, gender preference, and national or ethnic origin.

Apply Now
Extended Care Staff

Our extended care program offers before care from 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. and after care from 2:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

If you are interested in more details concerning this job contact aabbott@austinwaldorf.org, 512-439-0139.

How to Apply

If you are interested in joining a warm, hospitable and growing community such as ours, please submit your employment application via the link below. The Austin Waldorf School is a non-profit organization that welcomes applicants of any religion, race, color, sexual orientation, gender preference, and national or ethnic origin.

Apply Now

AWS is an established school that is financially strong with stable enrollment of nearly 400 students K-12. A recent governance change has the school poised for renewal and transition into our next evolution including plans for new facilities, strengthening the support for our faculty and further enriching our program offerings. We are fully accredited with the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America and the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest.

Our beautiful 24-acre campus is situated in the hills outside the Austin city limits. It consists of three kindergartens, eight grade school classrooms, a library, a handwork room, a nine-classroom high school including state-of-the-art science and computer labs, a gymnasium, a eurythmy hall, two art studios, a performing arts center with a 350 seat auditorium and two rehearsal rooms, a school store, gardens and three playgrounds.

Austin is a family-oriented progressive city located in the heart of the Hill Country in central Texas. Many of our teachers own homes near the campus. It is a region of rich natural beauty, surrounded by cedar and live-oak trees and filled with creeks, rivers, and a chain of highland lakes. Austin is the state capital and home of the University of Texas, which offers a myriad of cultural and recreational events. Although we serve the Austin community, our location on the edge of town makes it possible to live in a country setting.

The Novalis Branch of the Anthroposophical Society of Texas sponsors study groups, festivals, and conferences.

The Austin Waldorf School is a non-profit organization that welcomes applicants of any religion, race, color, sexual orientation, gender preference, national or ethnic origin.

“One of the things we are so grateful for is the opportunity our daughter has had with regards to varsity sports at Waldorf. Basketball has provided her an opportunity to be a leader and the chance to learn from a supportive and committed mentor. The benefits will serve her in a myriad of ways throughout her life that she cannot now imagine.”