What is the context?
Founded in 1982, the United World College-USA is one of 18 United World College (UWC) campuses worldwide and the only campus in the United States. The UWC movement seeks “to make education a force to unite people, nations, and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.” As such, UWC-USA values and promotes all manner of diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of our fundamental mission to bring people together across differences in service of a more peaceful and sustainable world.
What is the UWC-USA mission?
We embrace the UWC mission by preparing students to serve as catalysts for greater unity, peace, and sustainability in their personal lives, in their communities, and in their relationship to the environment. We accomplish this through intentional, place-based programming and ample opportunities for student autonomy and leadership.
How is UWC-USA unique?
Our participation in the UWC movement and our philanthropy-based educational model distinguish UWC-USA among international boarding schools. As a UWC two year school, we recruit students through more than 150 National Committees worldwide. Our philanthropy-based model makes our educational program widely accessible to students from families with modest financial resources, no matter where they live in the world. Together, these two advantages allow us to bring together students whose identities, experiences, and ideas create a microcosm of the world on our campus.
Why are we searching?
UWC-USA has been led internally and externally by the president for 6 years. With a multi-year strategic plan in place, it’s now time to bring on an associate head of school to provide daily leadership in support of integration and innovation across our educational programming as well as other initiatives identified by the president. This will allow the president to work with a close internal partner while dedicating the majority of her time to advancing strategy implementation across the institution, leading a 40th anniversary capital campaign, and attending to other external needs of the school. The associate head of school position is the final piece in our school’s transition to a distributed leadership model, which is consistent with the “lead where you are” ethos we encourage in our students. The associate head of school will join the President’s Strategic Leadership Team (SLT), which includes two other associate heads: an associate head for finance and operations and an associate head for advancement. In the president’s absence, the associate head of school will lead SLT meetings and the school.
What is our point of view?
On challenges in the world
UWC’s mission began in response to the international tensions of the Cold War. Its mission to bring young people together before their prejudices have solidified, in service of peace and a sustainable future, is as important as ever. In the world our students know, the main obstacles to unity remain differences in identity that too often separate us from one another: nationality, culture, language, religion, ethnicity, race, gender, and sexual identity. The main obstacles to peace and sustainability today are not entirely new either, but the globalizing forces of our age have reshaped them. No matter where our students come from they increasingly see these challenges up close in local, national, or international settings:
- Economic, political, and social inequality between those at the center and those on the margins of societies worldwide;
- Political polarization rooted in ideology, grievance, and uneven democratic practice/ institutions;
- Climate change, ecosystem destruction, and biodiversity collapse resulting from destructive modes of production, consumption, and land use.
In this global context, our students face the more personal challenge of growing into healthy young adults and thoughtful leaders amid real cultural, social and educational tensions worldwide:
- Just as they embrace the great diversity of people and cultures in the world, they feel the powerful forces of assimilation and homogenization that threaten local identities and the wisdom they contain;
- New social identities, relationships and networks are welcome at this age, but the bonds of affection and solidarity are weakened by the intrusion of markets and the media in their personal and interpersonal spheres;
- Twenty-first century technologies–increasingly available to schools–are changing exponentially, yet they need connections with adults and one another to ground them;
- The global marketplace and new technologies will continue to transform our students’ relationships with others, learning and work, presenting both new opportunities and new obstacles for their personal well-being in the world.
On opportunities in international, boarding school education
The UWC boarding school was founded primarily to facilitate international and intercultural understanding by bringing young people from all over the world to live and learn together. Its early partnership in the creation of the International Baccalaureate made it a pioneer in inquiry based learning. Its focus on experiential learning and the importance of diversity also established it as a pioneer. Today, there is a greater variety of educational models in the international boarding school sector than ever before. This development encourages all international boarding schools, including UWC-USA, to think creatively within and beyond the predominant models we have inherited. UWC-USA is a full participant in an ongoing dialogue across UWC International and the International Baccalaureate Office (IBO) about new educational directions that best meet the opportunities and challenges of our age.
On UWC-USA at this moment
Three time-bound factors are also shaping the context for the search for our next associate head of school:
- Strategy Implementation: We are currently implementing the first phase of our strategic plan, to strengthen the foundation, while at the same time planning for the second phase of our plan, to innovate for impact.
- Strengthening the Foundation: The associate head of school will be responsible for completing implementation of foundational initiatives to ensure an excellent student experience across our academic, experiential, and residential programming.
- Innovating for Impact: The associate head of school will work closely with the president and with the board to continue development of, prioritize, and implement innovative programming meant to advance the UWC mission.
- Master Plan: We are currently completing and refining our campus master plan, a collaborative effort shared by the Strategic Leadership Team. The associate head of school will manage their teams through preparation and implementation, informing decisions that will affect the campus learning environment for decades.
- A new role: The associate head of school role is new. Establishing the role of associate head of school in light of the vision, strategy, mission and values of UWC-USA will be vital to continue the school on a deliberate path.
What is the role?
The next associate head of school will need strengths in three categories: strategy implementation, distributed leadership execution, and acting as a bridge across constituencies through strong relationship-building skills.
Strategy implementation: the associate head of school will need to…
- Articulate connection between UWC-USA’s mission and the school’s vision and strategic plan;
- Translate the vision and strategic plan into programs and other operational realities, including through project management;
- Inspire innovation while honoring UWC-USA’s time-honored DNA as an intentional, demanding, adventurous, and outward-facing learning community;
- Articulate and advocate for the ways in which learning is evolving in our rapidly changing world, shaping the implementation of our strategy along the way;
- Measure progress against strategic plan aspirations and annual goals.
Distributed leadership execution: the associate head of school will need to…
- Work closely with the president as a strategic thought partner;
- Represent the president’s vision while exercising autonomy in leadership;
- Lead collaboratively in an environment that invites all members of the community to “lead from where they are;”
- Communicate effectively and inspirationally with all stakeholders;
- Coach others for growth and development.
Acting as a bridge: the associate head of school will need to…
- Work closely with the president in order to inform and represent her vision and strategy for the school;
- Oversee the management and coordination of all programming: academic, experiential, residential;
- Engage and communicate across constituencies, from board to faculty and staff to students;
- Serve as part of the leadership team as well as lead it when the president is away ;
- Develop relationships with a diverse set of stakeholders;
- Seek dialogue in leadership decisions to develop leadership across the school;
- Care for and celebrate students, staff, faculty, leadership team members and volunteers.
What are the key details?
- 90 faculty and staff;
- 240 students in grades 11 and 12, admitted on the basis of merit, promise and potential through over 150 National Committees worldwide and a Global Selection Process through UWC International;
- Roughly twenty percent of the students come from the U.S. with the remainder representing more than 90 countries;
- 85% of UWC-USA students receive a financial award to attend the school; the average award is $33,000 per year;
- Key Resources:
What is the process?
Strong identification with the vision, mission and values of UWC-USA and ability to articulate and translate them in strategic and day to day implementation of programs
Demonstrated professional experience with, or significant knowledge of, the IB Diploma Program, experiential learning, and residential life
Inclusive and collaborative leadership style
Commitment to constructive engagement of conflict among colleagues and students
Strong situational judgment
Intercultural sensitivity and understanding
Strong interpersonal, communication, and organizational management skills
Passionate commitment to the holistic development of youth
Knowledge of best practices in diversity, equity, inclusion work and the requisite skillfulness to support student and staff growth in this area and to facilitate critical conversations in the design of more inclusive curriculum and programs; demonstrated commitment to such practices
Required Education/ Experience
Master’s in Education, International Education, Experiential Education, Independent School Leadership/Administration, or related field.
10+ years of experience in a minimum of two schools, in a position of leadership or significant involvement in educational leadership and supervision in an international, boarding, or diverse context.
Must be eligible for a NM Driver’s License, and must be insurable by the school’s insurance carrier.
Ph.D. or Ed.D. in Education, Educational Administration/Leadership, Experiential Education, or closely related field.
Previous experience in an international, residential secondary school context.
Application review will begin October 17, 2022. Please send the following materials by October 15, 2022:
- Cover letter, CV, and three professional references (note: we will not be contacting any references unless you are selected as a semi-finalist);
- A one to two page response to the following prompt: As an educator, how do you understand the relationship between managing people and leading them? What do you focus on in your management of people, those you report to and those who report to you? In your leadership? What is the hardest lesson you’ve learned in your capacity as a manager? A leader? What kind of educational environment do you seek to create and how do you do that in a team environment?
We will keep all inquiries and applications strictly confidential until the semi-finalist phase, at which point it may be necessary for us to make limited outreach to references.
Please send questions and applications to email@example.com.