Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS) seeks an Executive Director to promote quality education within independent schools in the Southwest. ISAS has an exceptional reputation for forward-thinking and well-designed programs. ISAS schools enroll more than 55,500 students in 90 elementary and secondary independent schools in Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
The Independent Schools Association of the Southwest (ISAS) promotes, upholds, and advances the highest educational and professional standards for the region’s independent schools. We offer our members an exceptionally rigorous, authentic, and meaningful accreditation process, along with energizing professional development opportunities, a nationally renowned arts festival, and a warm, generous community devoted to creating the best possible educational experiences for our students.
ISAS is a member in good standing of the NAIS Commission on Accreditation and has voluntarily agreed to abide by the Criteria for Effective Independent School Accreditation Practices and to submit to a thorough ten-year evaluation of its accreditation procedures by the Commission. Additionally, ISAS accreditation has been recognized by the New Mexico Public Education Department, the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) Board, the Oklahoma Private School Accreditation Commission (OPSAC), and the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC).
The Executive Director serves as the chief administrative officer for ISAS, overseeing all aspects of the organization including accreditation, professional development and programming, legal and legislative matters, and joint student programs in cooperation with member schools in the arts and other areas. The Executive Director facilitates communication and fosters positive, ethical, and supportive relationships among member schools, promotes understanding and good will between member schools and state, regional, national, and international education agencies, colleges and universities, and conveys to the general public the unique and exceptional qualities of member schools.
The next Executive Director will begin July 1, 2018 and will be welcomed by an experienced Board ready to build upon the Association’s past successes and a forward-looking organization that is justifiably proud of its accomplishments yet eager to recruit a leader who will help to define and achieve its next era of service to students and schools. One of the primary strengths of the organization is the ability to marshal the vision and energy of its members to identify new ways to foster ongoing school improvement among ISAS schools. Since the work, in general, is accomplished through standing committees, supporting the work of the Board committees requires a leader who is skilled at connecting, mobilizing, and focusing the skills and talents of others. ISAS schools differ widely in their sizes, missions, and approaches to educating young people. The Association values the diversity of its member schools and seeks a leader who recognizes that educational/institutional success can be achieved in a variety of ways. The Executive Director shall be responsible to the Board of Directors and shall not vote in the deliberations of that body or of the Association.
Although the State of Texas is home to the largest concentration of ISAS schools and the current headquarters of ISAS, the wide geographic distribution of ISAS schools necessitates a leader who can consider the needs of a geographically diverse membership. The Executive Director works with ISAS staff to devise innovative methods for meeting the needs of diverse member schools. At this time, the Association rents excellent office space in downtown Midland, Texas. It is expected that the person holding the position will work virtually, primarily from a home office, with periodic meetings at the ISAS office in Midland and in the field at member schools and Association conferences, as responsibilities require, until such time as the future location of the Association office may be determined by the Executive Director with the approval of the Board.
With a staff of five professionals, the Executive Director oversees the Association’s finances and operations and supervises its staff. The Executive Director must be comfortable engaging in daily and operational work without the full administrative and technical support offered by most schools. Other major responsibilities and duties include the following:
Supervision of the evaluation and accreditation process for member schools;
Supervision of the professional development program for faculty, administrators, and trustees;
Advocacy for independent education on a local, state, and regional level;
Ad hoc institutional counseling for Heads of School and Board Chairs;
Collection of information on legislation, regulations, statistics, and educational development and administrative practice;
Strengthening relationships and developing opportunities for creative collaborations with NAIS and other organizations and associations, internationally, nationally, and in the ISAS region’s states;
Advocacy for diversity, inclusion, and cross-cultural competency and building on this Association strength;
Organization of the structure and operations of the ISAS office to meet the needs of the Association;
Leveraging use of technology to support the current and future services of the Association and to coordinate with the resources of member schools;
Fostering and maintaining good relations between ISAS and member schools; and
Performing other duties which periodically might be assigned by the ISAS Board of Directors.
PROFESSIONAL QUALITIES DESIRED
The favored candidate will possess a consultative approach, the ability to empower others and delegate effectively, coupled with the capacity to work with the ISAS Board of Directors to set a vision for the Association and the organizational skills to realize that vision. The ideal candidate would have most, if not all, of the following professional qualifications:
Effective and strategic communication skills to support the Executive Director’s role as the ambassador and advocate for independent education in the region and the work of the Association;
An entrepreneurial educator who, informed by an understanding of the current trends and innovations in education, will identify potential new opportunities and foster strategic alliances that strengthen the Association and its schools;
The ability to think strategically while remaining highly organized to ensure that the Association and its programs are effectively delivered;
Strong academic background and prior administrative leadership experience, ideally as a Head of School at an independent school;
Broad knowledge of independent schools and the ability to consult on issues of governance, operations, and program;
Deep understanding of the issues surrounding diversity, inclusion, and cultural proficiency in our schools;
Experience in institutional governance and an ability to work effectively with the Board;
Experience analyzing educational programs and assessing their potential;
Demonstrated understanding of the financial management of schools; and
Writing ability that exhibits ease, etiquette, and strong grammatical skills.
A warm, empathetic, approachable style;
Self-confidence, poise, and presence;
Sound judgment, ability to assess and weigh competing demands and, if necessary, to make difficult decisions;
Ability to develop trust with participating schools and with the Board;
An intellectually curious and creative strategic thinker;
Desire to work collaboratively with others in decision making;
Enthusiasm for the use of technology and facility with relevant technology;
Strong work ethic, determination, stamina, and abundant energy;
Ability to wear many hats; from being a visionary to being one’s own secretary in implementing the vision;
Ability to work independently and be flexible in work habits and space;
Willingness to travel extensively to visit schools;
Ability to relate to a wide variety of people, individually and in groups; and
A sense of humor.
Interested and qualified candidates should submit electronically in one e-mail and as separate documents, preferably as PDFs, the following materials:
Cover letter expressing interest in the ISAS position;
Current résumé; and
A list of three references with name, phone number, and email address of each to:
Head of School Emeritus
Saint Mary’s Hall, San Antonio, Texas