Head of School at St. Michael's School in Dominican Republic
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Head of School
St. Michael's School (Dominican Republic)

Apr 5, 21
Apr 23, 21

School Details

The Board of Directors of St. Michael’s School (SMS), a leading private school in the Dominican Republic, is seeking its next Head of School to start in August 2021. The Board is looking for an accomplished, dynamic, and caring educational and organizational leader to lead SMS on its continuing journey of excellence in academic and character education.

St. Michael's School, founded in 1991, is a private college preparatory school in Santo Domingo that educates students from grades 1 through 12, located on two acres of land in the beautiful residential neighborhood of Piantini. SMS has the facilities necessary to provide students with an innovative classroom experience as well as to allow them to explore their passion within our rigorous academic curriculum, our robotics program, our creative makerspace, our school orchard, our multiple sports teams, our music program or our art program. We have something for everyone. It is fully accredited by Cognia and the Ministerio de Educación de la República Dominicana (MINERD). The main language of instruction is English, except in courses that must be taught in Spanish as per MINERD; the Spanish language is also taught in all grades. All students have grade level English proficiency.

St. Michael's School offers a rigorous academic and character education program, designed to prepare students to succeed at the most competitive universities in the world, and in life. Students must complete curricular requirements from the U.S., centered on the Common Core State Standards, as well as from MINERD. Upon graduation, students receive a diploma from both the United States and the Dominican Republic and are accepted at universities and colleges locally and in North, South and Central America, and in Europe.

SMS has just concluded its 5-year accreditation review cycle with Cognia and received an outstanding rating and feedback with many of the high standards required by Cognia proven to be embedded in the practices, policies and procedures of the school. It has begun a new exciting and ambitious 5-year strategic plan, taking the school to new levels of academic and character education service in order that its students may acquire the requisite intellectual and moral knowledge, skills, and attitudes to thrive as global citizens. 21st Century skills, Project Based Learning (PBL), technology enhanced learning environments, community service, character education, and community engagement all figure prominently in the school’s plan.

Position Qualifications

The Head of School is accountable to the Board of Directors and leads the school academically and organizationally overseeing the continued development of the institution. Guided by the school’s mission, vision, and beliefs, the Head of School aims:

  • To provide a carefully structured and thorough education which enables students to achieve their academic and personal potential and to develop skills appropriate to the world of work and life as global citizens;
  • To enable students to develop as global citizens of integrity, who place service to others above themselves, who are both communicators and listeners, who have the confidence and self-esteem to become leaders;
  • To ensure a civilized, caring, healthy, and happy community which emphasizes high moral standards, self-discipline, emotional and spiritual development consistent with the School’s religious foundation;
  • To encourage students to participate in an extensive range of sporting, cultural, and other enriching activities;
  • To develop an understanding of our responsibilities and our duty to serve the local, national, and world communities.

The SMS Head of School:

  • Revises and refines the Vision of the school to, and with, the Board of Principals, then further to the school administration, teachers, parents and students of the school
  • Proposes, with the approval of the School Improvement Plan Team, the long term and five-year strategic planning of the school, and is responsible for its implementation school-wide, advising the Board in these matters.
  • Leads the recruitment of high-quality teachers and supporting staff by developing a plan with the Academic Principals and Assistant Principals, to attract and retain great people within the payroll budget.
  • Defines a professional development plan based on school and student needs resulting in the excellence of the teachers and supporting staff.
  • Oversees the assignment, evaluation, training, encouragement, discipline, and inspiration of the teaching staff by leading and developing an academic learning community, resulting in an excellent faculty which is consistently growing and improving over time.
  • Ensures that school goals and student needs are met, by working with faculty and other stakeholders to determine academic, social, and facility needs, and further ensures that these needs are reflected in the five-year school improvement plan.
  • Ensures that policies and procedures are in place to meet student academic and operational needs, resulting in positive learning experiences.
  • Oversees student discipline by working with academic administration and teachers and by building relationships with students.
  • Monitors trends in the school, correcting negative inclinations and inspiring positive cultural growth by consistently being involved in the life of the school as an observer and participant.
  • Oversees curriculum choices and development by working with the Curriculum committee and wider faculty to foresee needed improvement or updates, resulting in the use of the best curriculum practices available.
  • Discovers best practices in the broader academic community for possible implementation by interacting with other educational leaders and important members of the community, resulting in constantly improving the school’s practices.
  • Directs the daily operations of the school by supervising the staff, coordinating activities, and by setting the tone for a quality well-rounded educational program with values and academic excellence.
  • Supervises accurate correspondence and personnel records by overseeing procedures and practicing resulting in consistent and meaningful records being kept.
  • Revises and monitors, with the Board, the school’s standards and policies by consistently interacting with the staff, faculty, parents, and students, in order to propose any applicable modifications and / or new policies to reflect current needs.
  • Serves as an ex-officio member of the Board.
  • Carries out any other responsibility as may be required by the Board.
  • Assists in developing the overall educational budget, both yearly and long term, to correspond with the school’s five-year improvement plan.

In carrying out the above, the SMS Head of School displays competency and effectiveness in the following areas:

1. Planning:
With the co-operation and input of the faculty, students, parents, and school community, school-wide planning takes place throughout the year in a timely and organized manner anticipating school needs and goals.

2. School Organization:
The Head of School leads in forming a practical shape and form to the school by

  • Organizing instructional work: formulation of objectives, selection and support of methods of teaching, framing of timetable, and approval of materials
  • Overseeing Co-Curricular Activities: ensuring smooth organization of activities with the co-operation of staff and students, including but limited to sports, arts, Scouting, Model United Nations, Debate, Student Council, Parent Association, celebration of religious and social functions and festivals.
  • Organizing School Facility: ensuring the effective operation of the school plant, including proper maintenance, equipping, and efficient use of all spaces common and specialized.
  • Organizing School Office and Administration: ensuring that all aspects of office are properly organized and efficient. Daily operations, student registration, public and in-school communications, maintenance of accounts, and so on have to be organized so that office work will be done regularly and efficiently.

3. Instructional Leadership:
The Head of School is an exemplary instructional leader, knowledgeable and competent in current, effective teaching and learning practices in a standards-based learning environment. Furthermore, the Head of School understands the opportunities and challenges that teachers face on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis, and addresses such with understanding, compassion, and humor.

4. Supervision and Visibility:
The SMS Head of School is highly visible and engaged, supporting the school in all aspects of academics and operations.

5. Maintaining Relations:
The reputation of the school, and the Head of School, depends a great deal upon the professional relationships established and maintained with the staff, students, parents and the community.

  • Relations with the Staff: The Head of School works in a team spirit and regards the teacher as co-workers, giving due regard to their ideas, views, and concerns.
  • Relations with the Students: The Head of School exemplifies the qualities of SMS studentship, and interacts with the students on a regular basis both formally and informally throughout the day, listening and supporting.
  • Relations with the Parents: The Head of School establishes and maintains positive links with the parents with the school, through formal methods such as inviting them to the school on important occasions, liaising with and advising the SMS Parent Association, and interacting with the parents when they are at the school.
  • Relations with the Community: SMS is central to the community. A number of community activities may be launched by the Head of School on behalf of the school, and community members may also be invited to the school on certain occasions.

The SMS Head of School is required:

  • To be a caring, competent academic leader in a standards-based learning environment, including expertise in assessment and evaluation, curriculum planning including horizontal and vertical integration, multi-disciplinary projects, and technology-enabled learning environments;
  • To be an effective organizational leader, with demonstrable skills and experience in working with and advising a Board of Directors including data management, finance, strategic planning and growth, health and safety, and human resource management;
  • To have experience leading Grades 1-12 schools either as Head of School, or have significant experience as a Divisional Head on a school senior leadership team;
  • To have full qualifications for school leadership, including a minimum Master of Education in Education Administration (or equivalent);
  • To have a strong ethical compass from which to make school decisions;
  • To have demonstrable, excellent planning, problem solving, time management and organizational skills;
  • To have experience in balancing accreditation body requirements while simultaneously meeting local and national requirements;
  • To be a capable, loyal, and true “first representative” of the school and Board of Directors at functions including multiple and varied stakeholders.

Desirable Characteristics of the SMS Head of School include:

  • A keen sense of humor, with an ability to truly enjoy and be comfortable a vibrant, busy school encompassing all grades;
  • A high sense of personal accountability, transparency, and openness;
  • Resilience, energy, and determination;
  • An ability to make challenging decisions, while working as a team player;
  • Cross-cultural openness, understanding and sensitivity;
  • Exceptional interpersonal and intrapersonal skills;
  • A proficiency with the Spanish language would be considered an asset.

Salary and Benefits

Working Terms of the SMS Head of School
This position is a full-time position for 12 months a year. The Head of School works at the school during the academic year, and will have vacation during the summer according to Dominican labor law. In the remainder of the summer, the Head of School is available and responsible for the running of the school and to be onsite if needed. The compensation package is commensurate with qualifications, experience, and in keeping with local and regional trends for similar roles.

Application Procedure

Suitably qualified candidates should send the following items below to Lynne Gibson, Head of School, and the Head of School Selection Committee at lgibson@sms.edu.do , collated together in a single pdf as an email attachment, to arrive as soon as possible, and no later than April 23rd, 2021.

  • A letter of application outlining why the candidate wishes to apply for this position, and what specific skills, qualities and experience he/she can offer;
  • A CV (no more than two pages);
  • A statement of educational and leadership philosophy (no more than two pages);
  • The names, position, and full contact details of at least five professional referees (one of which should if possible be the leader of the applicant’s current organization);

Initial interviews are scheduled to take place via Zoom or Skype during the last week of April, with the final round on-site in Santo Domingo in May (if possible with the current pandemic). However, the St. Michael’s School Board of Directors reserves the option to invite selected candidates to interviews, and to hire, in advance of this schedule should a suitable candidate be found.

Did You Know…?

Senior Associate Harry Deelman was at various times headmaster of schools in a fascinating foursome of global cities: Buenos Aires, Rome, Dubai, and Bangkok.