Upper School Director

Hawken School

Posted: 11/4/2019

Position Type: Full-Time (Paid)

Function: Education/Training

Primary domain: Education

City: Cleveland

Postal code: 44040

State: Ohio

Country: United States

Organization Information:


$10M - $20M



Mission statement:

Hawken School is guided by our Purpose, Promise, and Principles, which affirms our School’s long-standing mission of the development of character and intellect and forward-focused preparation for the real world. As we prepare our students to enter a new and ever-changing world, our 3 P’s ensure that we continue to proactively empower our students with the skills and traits required to navigate a complex and dynamic world with self-confidence and determination.

Our Purpose
Forward-focused preparation for the real world through the development of character and intellect.

Our Promise
Hawken School prepares students to navigate a complex and dynamic world with self-confidence and determination; embrace challenges with disciplined analysis and creativity; and engage others with empathy and integrity.

Our Principles
We truly know our students as learners and individuals.
We pay purposeful attention to the development of character through the cultivation of virtue, helping students understand Hawken’s motto of “fair play,” and its founder’s call to find their “better selves.”
We consider developing the intellect to be a critical part of developing character and, as such, we expect the highest levels of academic excellence and work ethic from our students.
We orient our program with a primacy toward the development of essential skills beyond the acquisition of specific knowledge.
We use classroom methods that place the student at the center of learning. We teach children to make choices, manage their time, think critically and creatively, and develop ownership for their learning.
We believe students find energy and passion through engagement, and we expect them to participate and contribute meaningfully in an array of activities outside of the classroom.
We believe in the power of community, and foster connections through teamwork, partnerships, and shared experiences.
We appreciate difference and individuality, and embrace diversity in our community.
We believe students need authentic experience in the real world to make meaning from knowledge. Nature, Cleveland, and the global community are extensions of our classrooms.
We believe that to provide the most relevant education possible, our faculty and administrators must be learning continually about educational best practices, advances in technology, and developments in the world.


Position Details:

Job Description:


Founded in 1915 on the ideal that “the better self shall prevail and each generation introduce its successor to a higher plane of life,” Hawken School is a coeducational independent day school with over 1,400 students toddler through grade 12. Well recognized as a community that promotes passionate teaching, engaged learning, and confident self-expression, the school is committed to eliciting the full academic, artistic, and athletic potential in every student. Substantial professional development opportunities support and maintain exceptional creativity and collaboration in a classroom that expands into the greater community, locally and worldwide.

Hawken believes that to prepare its students for the real world, its community should include a diverse student body that is representative of all socio-economic backgrounds. To achieve this goal, Hawken seeks to enroll the most qualified and compelling students whose families understand and embrace the Purpose, Promise, and Principles of Hawken regardless of socio-economic background. The school’s fundamental commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice informs every aspect of its community and operations. Hawken has the largest financial assistance program of any private school in Ohio with 44% of the student body participating in the Flexible Tuition Program. 

Hawken’s three campuses within 25 minutes of downtown Cleveland and an urban extension center in the city’s museum district provide a demanding and integrated course of study in a diverse and dynamic environment.  Housed in Stirn Hall, a state-of-the-art facility opened in 2016, Hawken’s Upper School emphasizes meaningful, applied learning in real-world settings. Highlights of the new academic building include expansive classroom space and common spaces, fabrication and media labs, a science wing, a learning commons, a writing center, and a cafe.

To learn more about Hawken School, visit www.hawken.edu


Hawken School seeks a passionate leader in progressive education to serve as the next Upper School Director.  The Upper School Director is responsible for over 500 students in grades 9-12 located on the Gates Mills campus, twelve miles from downtown Cleveland.  Faculty evaluation and supervision, curriculum development, student academic and behavioral progress, athletics, college counseling, scheduling, parent interactions, and institutional record keeping are all part of the Director’s responsibilities.  

The Upper School Director reports to the Head of School and sits on the school’s Administrative Council. They will also lead a robust Upper School administrative team, consisting of 12 people, including: two assistant directors; a dean for academic systems; deans for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice; a registrar; and heads of several departments such as College Counseling, Admissions, and Athletics.

Of note, as of August 2020, Hawken will launch a second high school, the Mastery School of Hawken. The Mastery School was developed and piloted within the Upper School over the past several years. It will launch on its own campus in the 2020-2021 school year.  The structure creates rich opportunities for students from each campus to experience classes and activities on the other campus, and also requires close, thoughtful collaboration between the Director of the Upper School and the Director of the Mastery School to ensure that each student is able to reach their full potential at Hawken. 



Candidates should be eager to assist in the life of the School, align with Hawken’s progressive philosophy, be skilled in dealing with colleagues and parents, show flexibility, energy, creativity, high expectations, a sense of humor, a commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice, and the highest standards of integrity.  

In addition, candidates must possess the following experience and knowledge:

  • Demonstrated and significant administrative experience in innovative, progressive education environments (schools or other)

  • High degree of emotional intelligence, cultural competence, political savvy, and a deep understanding of a stakeholder’s context to understand and navigate different motivations, keeping school priorities at the forefront

  • Effective knowledge of high school curriculum and pedagogy

  • Solid understanding of the developmental needs of the high school age group

  • Ability to work in a highly collaborative, fast-paced, and team-centered environment

  • Demonstrated experience managing and supporting others through change


Salary and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience. 


Commensurate with Experience

Posting Expiration Date:


How to Apply:



Hawken School is an equal opportunity employer dedicated to promoting all forms of diversity in the workplace and in its student body. We strongly urge all qualified individuals to apply.

Posted By: On-Ramps


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