Nestled in the Energy Corridor district of West Houston, Westside Montessori School educates children, ages 18 months through fourteen years, utilizing the Montessori philosophy. Upon stepping onto the campus at WMS, one finds an environment of cheerful, engaged students, committed faculty, and an overall sense of calm and peace. Faculty and administrators welcome the children in the morning at drop-off and see them off in the afternoon. "Grace and courtesy" are terms not simply mentioned in the school's materials but lived out in daily interactions.
The Westside Montessori community is internationally diverse, and to complement a respectful school climate, WMS honors differences across ages, genders, religions, and cultural backgrounds. Parents describe an atmosphere consistent with the Montessori philosophy of honoring each individual. Students and adults of varied national, ethnic, and religious backgrounds are welcome, comfortable, and feel valued.
Westside Montessori provides an academically rich, individualized education in the Montessori tradition for every student. The school guides students to discover new challenges at their own pace at a beautiful and peaceful campus, allowing them to focus on skill mastery and joyful learning.
Westside Montessori is a member of the American Montessori Society (AMS) and accredited by Cognia, an organization of 89 schools in six states in the Southwest. Cognia was formerly the National Association of Independent Schools' Commission on Accreditation, which was established in July 2018 to provide quality assurance and accountability for the accreditation programs of its independent school member associations.
Westside Montessori School seeks a mission-driven leader who understands and respects WMS's mission and core values while striving for excellence in all aspects of the school. The Head of School (the “Head”) role is multifaceted. The school's size and the close-knit environment, among the multiple constituencies, allow and require the Head to play many roles: instructional leader; the face of the school in the Houston and Montessori communities; the unifier of and cheerleader for the faculty; a warm, friendly presence among the student body and the parents; and, of course, the chief executive officer of the institution.
The Head of School will oversee all daily school operations, including admissions, staff relations, and parent communication. The Head sets the tone and models the school's values in interactions with students, families, staff, and the community. The Head will also oversee the development of the educational program for WMS and report directly to the Board of Trustees.
As the sole employee of the Board of Trustees (the “Board”), the Head works closely with the Board. In addition to attending and helping to lead regular Board meetings and committee meetings, the Head regularly interacts with Board members, especially those whose children attend the school. The Board/Head relationship is solid and appropriate, and roles and responsibilities are clear.
PERSONAL QUALIFICATIONS OF THE HEAD OF SCHOOL
The close-knit community at WMS requires a warm, personable, accessible leader who will quickly get to know the students and faculty. The Head of School must lead by example, as well as by precept, and must model the highest levels of ethical, professional behavior. WMS seeks a servant-leader who is confident yet humble and able to make fair but firm decisions. S/he must be approachable, kind, and visible in the school community. Generous with his/her time, the Head is expected to be present at most school functions and activities.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE NEXT HEAD
The next Head of Westside Montessori School will have the opportunity to:
Lead and participate in the development of the next strategic plan.
Clarify and communicate about the Montessori approach and its implementation with parents who may not be familiar with this philosophy.
Develop a clearer understanding of the transition between the Montessori method in Upper Elementary and a more traditional environment in Middle School, and communicate the nature and purpose of that transition clearly, both internally and externally.
Refine the role of the recently created Curriculum Director position.
Recruit and retain Montessori-trained faculty in light of some significant upcoming retirements; provide additional teacher training and professional development opportunities based on the Montessori model.
Formalize systems in areas such as campus security, student evaluation, program development, and faculty/staff hiring, evaluation, and professional development.
Ensure the continuation of a strong admission program that has resulted in nearly full enrollment; study and improve student retention to enable more students to have the full primary-to-middle-school grade experience.
Improve communication among the faculty and between the faculty/administration and the parents in all facets of school life;
Examine various programs, including Spanish, art, and music, and the facilities needed to support those programs; continue to look for ways to improve and enhance these offerings.
Help the Board define the next major initiative for the school and help determine how to raise the necessary funds for that initiative.
Submit cover letter and resume to: Board@WestsideMontessori.com
Education, leadership and personal qualities desired in the next Head of School:
An advanced degree
Minimum of three years of demonstrated leadership and management skills
A self-aware leader who has a deep understanding of and commitment to the Montessori philosophy of education
An educator who understands and appreciates child development— infant to pre-adolescent
The ability to hire and retain highly competent faculty and administrative staff who are committed to excellence and to developing pathways for their continued professional growth
A leader who is committed to a highly effective and transparent relationship with the Board
A "people person" who enjoys being highly visible in the school and the community
An understanding of the value of parents as partners in the education of their children
Demonstrated experience in distributive leadership in a school environment
Experience in finance, human resources, risk management, and general operations of a school
A collaborative leadership style with experience in teambuilding
An active listener and effective communicator who can articulate a future vision for Westside Montessori School
A leader who is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice
A leader who is committed to transparency and can earn the trust of all constituent groups
Submit cover letter and resume to: Board@WestsideMontessori.com