Dean of Academics at Ramallah Friends School in Palestine Authority
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Dean of Academics
Ramallah Friends School (Palestine Authority)

Appointed - Application deadline passed
Feb 16, 16
Mar 14, 16

 

LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITY
Ramallah Friends School 
Ramallah, Palestine
Seeks: Dean of Academics 
Effective Entry Date: August 2016*
*Start Date may be earlier, depending on candidate availability
www.rfs.edu.ps

 
SCHOOL

In 1869, when Miriam, a fifteen year old village girl in Ramallah, Palestine, asked two visiting American Quaker missionaries to hire her as a teacher and help her educate neighborhood girls, little did she know that by doing so, she was changing the lives of thousands of girls and boys for future generations. 

 Today, with over 1,370 students (pre-K – 12th grade) studying on two wooded campuses maintains itself an educational leader by providing a distinctive learning environment to a diverse population of children, based on Quaker values of equality, peace and service. The RFS has become a landmark in Palestine and particularly within the Ramallah community, with many attributing the culturally vibrant, intellectually rich and progressive community – at least partly – to the presence of the Bearing cultural sensitivity in mind, the school always pioneered new programs and hence became the model school for private and public schools in the region. From starting the first school for girls in the mid-19th century to developing a 21st century educational program based on collaborative and students-centered approaches, the school continues to revitalize its program by emphasizing the professional development of its staff. 

The Upper School is an IB World School offering the MYP and IB Diploma programs to all of its students and is the only such school in Palestine. The Lower School is a PYP Candidate School with authorization expected in 2018


FRIENDS SCHOOL MISSION

The foundation of a Quaker education is the understanding that every person’s life can be dedicated to the principles of nonviolence, service and equality. We seek to promote a constant search for God in all human situations, and to cultivate ethical, moral and spiritual values.

The Ramallah Friends School is committed to:

Excellence in education, which demands high academic standards and a willingness to experiment with new methodology and curricula.

Developing the whole person, spiritually, physically, mentally, and socially, regardless of varying abilities, by fostering integrity, simplicity, honesty, cooperation and compassion.

Helping all students to recognize their responsibility to society as caring members of their community and as responsible members of the global family. 

Equality, regardless of ability, gender, creed, culture, color or social status.

GOVERNANCE

Ramallah Friends School is governed by a local Board of Trustees in partnership with the school’s proprietor, Friends United Meeting of Richmond, Indiana, USA. The local Board of Trustees include members of the community (parents and alumni) as well as representatives of the school’s administration and staff. A school Executive Committee comprising the school principals, deputy principals and director meet regularly to decide on day-to-day operational matters. 

 New RFS Middle School – under construction (completion Spring 2016)

THE FACILITY

The school boasts two separate wooded campuses located in the towns of Ramallah and El-Bireh.  The facilities combine the old and the new with building dating back to the late 19th century and numerous state-of-the-art facilities that demonstrate the RFS commitment for innovation and contemporary educational standards.  A new Middle School building (designed by renowned Fielding Nair International) is presently under construction with a scheduled completion in the spring of 2016.  Main upgrades during the past decade include, a new Kindergarten building, assembly hall and sports fields at the Lower School and a new classroom building, artificial turf fields, upgraded science, indoor gymnasium, renovated technology and art labs at the upper school. The campus also includes a large well-kept botanical garden open to the community.  

 THE ACADEMIC PROGRAM – an IB World School

Ramallah Friends School is accredited by the Palestinian Ministry of Education. The Upper School is also authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) as an IB World School offering the IB Diploma and the Middle Years Program (MYP).   The Lower School is a Candidate School for the Primary Years Program and is expecting authorization in 2018.  

The bi-lingual curriculum focuses on the cultivation of each student’s critical thinking skills through long-established effective classroom experiences as well as through experiential, hands-on learning and exposure to new and novel methodology. The Lower School follows the Ministry of Education Curriculum and enhances it through a multitude of creative means.  Teachers have been challenged to re-think their lessons plans and assessment methodologies in a way that enhances their students’ understanding rather than the rote learning which has been traditionally entrenched in the culture.  Great and courageous strides have been accomplished with both teachers and parents raving about the results. 

In addition to strong academics, the curriculum stresses proficiency in music and art, with plans to further enhance these efforts in the future.  As a Friends School, the program strives to offer students a broad curriculum that stresses ethics, stewardship and nonviolent conflict resolution. Each student, starting in grade one, is required to participate in community service projects that demonstrate the benefits of social responsibility while presenting students with hands-on learning opportunities. Our K-10th grade ethics curriculum in line with Quaker testimonies, instills a sense of morals while shaping critical, reflective thinking and problem solving skills. 

 The language of instruction at the Lower School is predominantly Arabic with English heavily taught since Kindergarten. English is also the language of instruction for some mathematics, science and ethics classes. At the Upper School, nearly all subjects are taught in English in preparation for the International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. By graduation, students master both the Arabic and English languages.

Special programs include the Learning Support initiative, which was established in 1995. In line with our Quaker value of equality, the program serves over sixty children at both schools who are integrated into the mainstream classrooms. They include students with variable special needs and learning difficulties, including autistic spectrum, Down syndrome, Williams Syndrome, LDs and physical challenges such as Cerebral Palsy, among others. This program is the only one of its kind in Palestine and also serves as a model for other schools in the region. 

STUDENT PROFILE

 We strive to have a student body representative of Palestinian Society by accepting applicants from diverse social, religious, and economic backgrounds. The vast majority of the student body is Palestinian and live in the Ramallah area. With the assistance of the college counseling program, nearly all graduates (95%) enter leading North American (including several Ivy Leagues), Middle Eastern, and European universities, many receiving scholarships or financial aid packages.  RFS enrolls over 1370 students. 

STAFF PROFILE

We currently employ over 100 highly-qualified faculty members, mostly from the local community with 15% coming from abroad (mainly USA). A number of Department Heads on both campuses are responsible for the development of the curricula and encouraging teachers to use innovative teaching methods. Professional development programs are extensive; DP, MYP & PYP teachers are required to attend official IB training conferences. Our teacher to student ratio is 1:13. 


THE TOWN

Ramallah is a liberal, culturally vibrant and safe city attracting a large number of expatriates. Concerts, art exhibits, hiking clubs, political debates and excellent restaurants are among many choices for entertainment and intellectual fulfillment in the city.  Hundreds of international NGOs, Country Representative Offices, UN agencies operate out of Ramallah, making it a cosmopolitan hub with lots to offer.  Jerusalem is 10 miles south and the Mediterranean Sea a 45 minute drive.

THE POSITION

The Board of Trustees seek to fill the position of Dean of Academics  This is a newly instituted position that stems from the Board’s commitment to improving educational quality and accountability at RFS.  The position holder will be the topmost educational leader at RFS.  The candidate would be an experienced educator familiar with international and progressive educational approaches. The Dean of Academic will be an effective, compassionate, motivated and data-oriented leader who will strategically pursue school improvement plans.  

The position is open to both local and international candidates. 

The Dean of Academic will work with minimal supervision and report directly to the School Director.  She/he will  be charged with a broad set of responsibilities that require both instructional and administrative experiences in a school setting, including: 

  • Maintains congruency between the School’s Board of Trustees-approved mission and all academic activities;
  • Supervises a one-school curriculum integrity, alignment, and articulation across all four divisions (KG, LS, MS, US);
  • Oversees the development and implementation of an academic strategic plan including human resource planning;
  • Oversees the implementation of effective and instructive internal assessment systems and monitors the entire academic process;
  • Implements and oversees standards and systems for data analysis of all internal and external assessments with the aim of improving quality;
  • With the principals, ensures the building of a strong departmental and grade level academic leadership team and works closely with the Academic Department Chairs;
  • Chairs the All-school Academic Committee, which makes significant curricular and programmatic decisions;
  • Works with the Principals to align faculty allocation and load with the School’s academic priorities, as identified in the Strategic Plan;
  • Leads, provides guidance and support best practices in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment, based on current research on learning and education especially within the IB system, and promotes ongoing conversation with faculty about leading trends and issues in pre-k-12 learning and teaching;
  • Oversees and coordinates faculty recruiting and hiring, including preparing a recruiting plan annually, participating in international recruiting events, managing the recruiting process, and cultivating potential future hires;
  • With the school principals,  promotes and institutionalizes a faculty Orientation & Mentoring Program in support of new teachers;
  • Actively initiates and coordinates faculty professional development and works with principals to support faculty members’ goals 
  • Observes all faculty annually and with the principals, oversees the annual faculty performance review process;
  • Develops and supervises the Learning Support and Inclusive Education program, working with the specialists and core teachers to design inclusion, monitor the effectiveness of the program and provide feedback and support to create a high quality inclusion program;
  • Develops assessment criteria that measures student character strengths in line with school values and ensures that this assessment is being used for student support and for deriving information to appropriately improve our educational program.
  • Use standardized tests (e.g., PSAT, SAT and ACT) for student support and for deriving information to appropriately inform our academic program, especially throughout high school year to increase the chances for our students of being accepted at universities of their choice.
  • With the Principals, oversees the International Baccalaureate review and development planning processes;
  • Oversee the admission process for the testing, interviewing and evaluating of applicants for enrolment;
  • Participates actively in local, regional and international educational leadership opportunities, reads professional publications, and maintains personal networks;
  • Performs other duties as assigned by the School Director;
  • Supports the school and its leadership.

Other Administrative Duties

  • Serves on the School Executive Committee
  • Serves in de facto capacity on the School Board of Trustees including the Academic Committee

RELATIONSHIPS

Reports to: School Director 

Supervises:

  • The school principals in regard to academic affairs
  • The faculty, along with the Principal, regarding to academic affairs
  • College Counselor 
  • Learning Support Program staff
  • Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Academics

Interfaces with:

  • Librarian
  • Dean of Students (presently Deputy Principals) 
  • Ministry of Education
  • Students and parents
  • Facilities Manager
  • IBO officials 

Strong Candidates Possess the Following Traits:

  • Extensive experience in curriculum design, development and delivery based on contemporary educational best practices including technology-assisted learning;
  • Strong experience in teacher training, coaching and support in a school setting;
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in designing and implementing data-driven academic strategic and school improvement plans;
  • Strong teaching and administrative experience is essential in private, public or international schools, ideally as a principal or other senior role;
  • Knowledge and experience in implementing international curricula, particularly the International Baccalaureate program, preferably at all levels is a strong asset;
  • Demonstrated efficacy and track record in raising academic achievement in a school setting is a strong asset;
  • Enthusiastic about change and willingness to problem-solve and interest in developing new ideas and programs; 
  • A warm collaborative personality, positive energy, sense of humor, and ability to be calm under pressure;
  • A belief that every student should be supported and held to the highest academic and behavioral expectations;
  • Superior skills in communication and technology, including outstanding writing and public speaking skills; 
  • A deep investment in Friends School historical mission and appreciation for incorporating Quaker ethos in the school setting;
  • A total of at least eight years’ experience in education preferably in a school setting. 
  • A related advanced degree.

SALARY AND BENEFITS

The School Board of Trustees is committed to employing a highly qualified educator. Salary will be commensurate with experience.

Additional benefits include: 

  • Christmas Bonus (50% of monthly salary)
  • Health insurance 
  • Savings pension plan (5% employee, 10% employer) as of second year
  • End of Service - Severance provisions (as per Palestinian law)
  • Tuition remission for children (75%)
  • Professional development
  • International candidates will receive an additional package including housing, annual home leave, relocation allowances, utilities provisions 

APPLICATION GUIDELINES

  • A letter of interest highlighting your strengths as a candidate and your likely contributions to RFS
  • A current résumé / CV 
  • A brief statement describing your educational philosophy and work ethic
  • A list of three references with current phone numbers and email addresses
  • Up to three  letters of reference (optional)

Applications should be sent electronically to application@rfs.edu.ps by 14 March 2016 (indicating ‘Dean of Academics’ in the Subject line). Expected appointment date is as soon as a suitable candidate is identified. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted

 

Attention: If you apply for this position, please inform the school and us (Admin@searchassociates.com) that you saw the notice on the Search Associates website. 

 

Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Nick Kendell has worked in Asia, Australia, and Africa as an educator and administrator.