Chief Academic Officer

Chester, PA, US
Mar 17, 2021
POSITION: Chief Academic Officer

REPORTS TO: Superintendent of Schools

SUPERVISES: District-wide School Principals, Curriculum & Instruction

PRIMARY FUNCTION: The Chief Academic Officer supervises the Chester Upland District's academic division and provide leadership for the overall instructional program. Ensure that the development and delivery of the academic programs is effective and efficient, incorporates district goals, and supports student achievement.
MISSION: The Chester Upland School District is committed to providing all students the opportunity to achieve excellence in the four A's: Academics, Athletics, Arts, and Activities.
The Chester Upland School District Administration continues to build a talented and committed team to ensure all students are prepared to graduate from Chester Upland schools' career and college ready! The C.O.R.E. is the foundation of the Chester Upland School District's vision and mission.
C- Children First: The well-being and continuous learning of every child will drive decisions.
O- One Chester Upland: With dedicated community of partners, parents, students and staff, we will excel, united as One Chester Upland.
R- Reimagining: Through a mode of continuous improvement, we will apply four important levers for change, collaboration, capacity building, deepening knowledge of pedagogy, and focusing direction to improve outcomes for all.
E- Equity, Excellence, and Emotional Intelligence: We will ensure equitable access to a quality education that includes emotional intelligence and leads to excellence across all opportunities and services.
Reporting directly to the Superintendent, the Chief Academic Officer (CAO) sets the strategic vision and direction for the instructional framework and pedagogical approach to Chester Upland School District's academic programs. The CAO is the leader, spokesperson, and resident expert on curriculum, instruction, pedagogy, and learning. This role develops the short and long-term instructional vision for the District and works to establish a culture of high expectation and shared responsibility for equitable access to high quality and culturally relevant instruction. The CAO works to create authentic partnerships between district offices and schools that ensure closer alignment of district resources with school needs, to implement an instructional plan for the district that ensures effective teaching in every classroom, and to create conditions that ensure systemic improvement of practice over time in every classroom.
The Chief Academic Officer responsibilities will include, but not be limited to the following:
Equity Leadership and Student Success
  • Cultivate a commitment among all district staff to enable all students to achieve high standards.
  • Confront preconceptions and model open dialogue around race, culture, class and other issues of difference.
  • Operate with a lens of cultural proficiency, sensitivity, and equity to ensure students' needs are met.
  • Assess the distribution of academic supports with a clear racial equity lens, ensuring allocations provide the best resources to equitably and effectively meet the needs of all Chester Upland School District's students, families, and schools.
Instructional Leadership
  • Develop and implement a compelling vision for the district's instructional and curriculum services and set a compelling vision and goals for the Chief Academic Office to ensure rigorous and standards-aligned instruction and instructional supports in every classroom, for every District student.
  • Direct academic service areas (i.e. instructional improvement, curriculum and instruction, professional development, special education, English as Second Language, etc.) and student support services.
  • Assume leadership role on the Superintendent's Cabinet responsible for assisting with long-range strategic planning, developing system-wide budgets, plans, policies and activities.
  • Support informed decision-making by the Superintendent, cabinet and senior staff by monitoring and effectively interpreting the latest research, trends and development in all areas of education.
  • Deliver written and oral presentations on academic accountability to various stakeholders (i.e. Receiver, School Board, principals, teachers, parents and community groups).
  • Apply research and best practices to inform theories of pedagogy and ensure consistent delivery of high-quality instruction aligned with key standards (i.e. classroom-to-classroom, grade-by-grade, school-by-school).
  • Serve as the key spokesperson to the Superintendent and the community regarding all educational issues (i.e. attend regular Receiver, staff meeting, and other related meetings).
Instructional Management and Coordinated Services
  • Work collaboratively with cross-departmental teams to ensure support of all teachers and the effective delivery of instructional programs and services.
  • Supervise Principals and district departments for school improvement efforts and to provide supports for a variety of school settings and build school support systems with the necessary resources.
  • Collaborate with school systems, community agencies, local universities, and research laboratories to promote shared learning.
Continuous Improvement for School Support
  • Establish direction for school improvement efforts by monitoring the progress of school performance, student achievement objectives and academic excellence indicators to align strategies for school improvement.
  • Create the conditions that enable all educators to provide rigorous, authentic, and personalized experiences for all students, particularly historically underserved populations.
  • Develop, organize and implement models of technical assistance for schools and continuous improvement for schools with average-to-high student achievement.
  • Collaborate with schools to develop instructional programs and to implement reform models designed to improve achievement of all students; develop a two-way feedback loop from school sites to the Chief Academic Officer.
  • Create opportunities for teachers to reflect on their practice while engaging in the systemic improvement of practice over time in every classroom.
  • Strategically manage and allocate resources (including money, people, time, etc.) aligned to students' needs.

Talent Management and Professional Learning
  • Build and lead a highly effective, innovative academic services department that is assessed on the ability to continually improve instructional practices.
  • Support staff to develop, implement, and evaluate project plans and strategy to achieve goals and objectives.
  • Build the capacity of district teachers and leaders to implement inclusive practices for students with special needs.
  • Provide input on professional development activities for the District by partnering with central office to create district-wide professional development programs, ensuring a robust, systemic approach that meets student needs.
  • Ensure that initiatives for school leaders and school teams are coordinated and integrate both academic content and instructional strategies (e.g. Universal Design for Learning, culturally and linguistically relevant pedagogy).
  • Monitor the coordination of all district professional development efforts and the implementation of new and existing educational programs using Networked Improvement Communities (NIC's) as a vehicle to provide staff support.
The ideal candidate will demonstrate the following:

Vision and Courage to Ensure All Students Achieve

  • Demonstrates belief and holds self and others accountable for reaching high academic achievement of all students.
  • Secures buy-in for a clear and compelling vision.
  • Comfortable addressing matters of equity, race, and bias in decision-making
Teaching and Learning Knowledge and Expertise
  • Demonstrate ability to develop and deliver programming that drives improved academic performance for all students.
  • Understand and implement promising, innovative and effective instructional practices and models.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of federal and state regulations and compliance related to students with special needs.
  • An expert in the field of teaching and learning, can work independently to lead the academic vision for the District.
  • A proven record of effectively planning, organizing and using resources and systems to provide high-quality professional learning and leadership development on teaching and learning.
Strategic Planning and Effective Execution
  • Proactively offer innovative solutions to seemingly intractable problems.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking skills and the ability to analyze data, identify trends, and diagnose root causes.
  • Exhibit a strong focus on goals and results. Sets clear metrics for success.
  • Demonstrates excellent project management skills, including close attention to detail, ability to balance the big picture with detailed steps to reach the end goal, and ability to balance multiple projects under tight deadlines.
  • Continuously monitors progress and demonstrate persistence to overcome obstacles to achieve goals.
Effective Change Management
  • Ability to develop and execute approaches to preparing and supporting individuals, teams and organization in making systemic improvements district wide.
  • Ability to use methods that redirect or redefine the use of resources, processes, budget allocation, or other modes of operation that significantly shift/change an organization.
  • Create environments that encourages systemic improvement of practice over time.
  • Use structured approach to ensure changes are implemented successfully to support sustainable change at scale.
Team Leadership and Management
  • Build and lead effective teams to achieve ambitious goals.
  • Assess team and individuals' skills, identifies development needs, and provides feedback and supports to improve practice, build capacity, and maximize talent.
  • Promote professional learning and utilize effective adult learning techniques.
  • Lead team to collaborate with other departments, teams, and stakeholders.

  • Doctoral degree in Education in an area related to academic accountability services preferred.
  • Minimum of eight years of experience managing within a complex educational organization.
  • Minimum of three to five years of Principal experience.
  • A clear track record of improving academic outcomes for students and eliminating disparities in achievement, opportunities and services for students.
  • Ten years of supervisory/administrative/management experience in school administration, including knowledge of academic and accountability testing, preferably in an urban school district.
  • Knowledge of best practices, and current on national trends and research for the instruction of diverse learners.
  • Demonstrates ability to work independently, excellent time management skills, and the ability to prioritize competing demands
  • Demonstrated ability to work as a team player.
  • Superior communication skills; oral and written.
  • Ability to work under pressure.
  • Must be able to maintain a flexible work schedule.
  • Dictation skills desirable (i.e. speed writing, shorthand, recorder, etc.).
  • Demonstrated knowledge of Microsoft Office, Windows, PowerPoint, and the Internet/Intranet.

CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENT: Certification as an Administrator.
12-Month work year. Commensurate with experience.

EVALUATION: Evaluated annually.

UNION AFFILIATION: Not applicable.

  • Receipt of a completed application, resume and cover letter.
  • A minimum of three current written letters of reference from previous or current directors, principal, and supervisors.
  • Personal interview(s).
The information in this job description is for compliance with the Chester Upland School District Board Policy and the Americans with Disabilities Act (A.D.A.). It is not intended to be an exhaustive list of duties, responsibilities and qualifications for the position. The incumbent may perform or be assigned other duties.

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