Senior Vice President - Academics

Indianapolis, Indiana
Compensation will be commensurate with experience
Nov 16, 2020
Job Type


Christel House was founded in 1998 to serve children from severe poverty. Today it serves nearly 6,000 students and recent graduates worldwide through schools in India, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa and the United States. Other than its three schools in Indianapolis, which are public charter schools, Christel Houses are no-fee private schools. In addition to rigorous academics, Christel House is distinguished by its holistic approach to child development, including character development, nutrition, physical and mental health care, and a unique College & Careers program which provides needed support to students for five years after their graduation from high school. Christel House schools are English medium, except in Mexico.

Christel House International (CHI) is now seeking a Senior Vice President - Academics to serve as the academic leader for its growing, global network of schools. CHI is excited about expanding its impact by opening more schools internationally and by leveraging its unique model to reach more children beyond its walls. CHI’s financial foundation is exceptionally strong due to the generosity of its founder, Christel DeHaan, and an effective global fundraising operation. This newly created position is an opportunity for a talented academic leader to make a meaningful difference for children, families and communities in economically challenged environments. Christel House was created to help break the cycle of poverty and has a 22-year track record of transforming lives. The organization is entering a new era and is looking to add to its strong executive leadership team.

The appointed candidate will draw on substantial and broad K-12 academic leadership experience to help guide and monitor the educational program at current and future CHI schools. The candidate will bring deep intercultural sensitivity and adaptability, ideally developed through professional engagement in a range of international contexts. Critically, they must bring an understanding of the challenges presented by working with young people from distressed socio-economic backgrounds and a deep philosophical connection with CHI’s holistic model of support. 

As stated in detail in the Role Description below, CHI is an Equal Opportunity Employer and maintains a strong commitment to diversity.

The deadline for receipt of applications is midday on Wednesday, 16 December 2020.

Applications should consist of a CV, ideally accompanied by a brief covering letter addressing the criteria in the Person Specifications. These can be uploaded via the link below or sent directly to Kerry Wallace at

Role Description

Christel House International (CHI) is seeking a Senior Vice President - Academics to serve as the academic leader for its growing, global network of schools. This newly created position is an opportunity for a talented educational leader to make a meaningful difference for children, families and communities in severely distressed economic environments. 

The SVP will report to the President and CEO of CHI and will also be a member of the senior leadership team at CHI.

Specific responsibilities will include:

  • guiding and monitoring the academic programs at existing and future Christel House schools;
  • working with local Christel House CEOs on recruiting the academic leadership for new Christel House schools;
  • consulting with and supporting the academic leaders at each Christel House school to deliver desired outcomes; 
  • working to identify school performance gaps and engaging collaboratively with school leaders on improvement plans;
  • interpreting and reviewing assessment data with CEOs and academic leadership to monitor and track performance, as well as strategic planning for future steps;
  • assessing and ensuring that the Christel House model remains aligned with global best practices in education and poverty alleviation;
  • understanding global education and poverty alleviation trends; gathering and sharing best practices from outside the Christel House network to spark improvement and innovation;
  • facilitating exchanges within the Christel House network, including best practice sharing and developing and organizing virtual and in-person exchanges for teachers, administrators and students;
  • ensuring accountability at each school for conformity with the Christel House model and with Christel House’s commitment to educational excellence;
  • working with the Christel House International senior leadership team to identify and assess potential locations for expansion; and
  • advising the Programs & Services Committee of Christel House International’s Board of Directors in its oversight role.

Person Specification

The successful candidate will be expected to demonstrate evidence of the following skills, capabilities, and experience:

  • senior K-12 academic leadership experience, ideally as the CEO or Chief Academic Officer at a school network level;
  • commitment to, and experience in, serving children from severe poverty;
  • a demonstrated ability to lead improvement and innovation;
  • international education experience is strongly preferred;
  • a demonstrated understanding of Christel House’s holistic child development model, with a special focus on character development and post-graduation success;
  • a high degree of skill and comfort working across cultures and nationalities;
  • an ability to lead effectively from CHI’s headquarters while allowing appropriate levels of autonomy to the individual schools;
  • Spanish language fluency is preferred.

Although it is strongly preferred that the SVP Academics be based in Indianapolis, exceptions may be made.