Principal (Grades N-2)

University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

Posted: 11/19/2020

Position Type: Full-Time (Paid)

Function: Administration/Operations

Primary domain: Education

City: Chicago

Postal code: 60637

State: Illinois

Country: United States

Organization Information:


Not Available


Mission statement:

The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools provides one of the world's most outstanding pre-collegiate educational experiences. Because Lab is part of the University of Chicago, the importance of intellectual life—of thought and exploration—infuses all aspects of our curriculum and students in every grade benefit from outstanding UChicago academicians and access to unmatched resources. John Dewey—one of the great minds in education—established the Schools in 1896 as a place to explore and implement his theories on childhood education. Today’s students still benefit from his vision, and today’s Lab faculty are recognized as experienced leaders in their field.    The Laboratory Schools seek the finest employees—people who wish to inspire a love of learning in our students and join a vibrant learning community. We employ people with a wide range of skills and training, in many different disciplines. At Lab, we value learning experientially, exhibiting kindness, and honoring diversity. We seek employees who share a similar commitment to these values. Lab people are engaged and excited by our mission of igniting and nurturing an enduring spirit of scholarship, curiosity, creativity, and confidence in the youngest members of the University of Chicago’s academic community.

Position Details:

Job Description:

Job Summary

The Principal, Grades N-2 of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools offers an exciting opportunity to lead a division of a world premiere institution dedicated to providing students a holistic education through a progressive education model based upon the findings of John Dewey. The professional community of the Laboratory Schools is characterized by engaging and dynamic educators committed to best practices and supported by the tremendous offerings of the University and the resources found in the city of Chicago. The Principal has the opportunity to lead in a dynamic teaching and learning environment where the faculty and other administrators are committed to the continuous improvement of the program and curriculum. The Principal, Grades N-2 will be supported by senior level administrators.

The Principal, Grades N-2 will have proven experience in both teaching and educational administration, understanding best practices in curriculum development, faculty and staff development, and current trends in early childhood education. The Principal provides for the smooth functioning of all programs in grades N-2 including assuring the academic and social progress of the students, providing educational leadership to faculty, maintaining good community relations, and providing for the safety and well-being of the students, for curriculum development and supervision, faculty hiring, evaluation and professional development, overseeing admissions procedures, and planning and administering the the ESH budget.

Academic administrators are expected to build deep relationships with students, families, faculty, staff, and alumni to foster a richness of community. Lab is looking for team members who will emanate optimism, solve problems collaboratively, reflect on how actions impact others, create an engaging and inclusive school culture, and share in the united pursuit of Lab’s mission.


  • Responsible for all day-to-day, campus-wide operations at Earl Shapiro Hall.

  • Leads in a dynamic teaching and learning environment where the faculty and other administrators are

    committed to the continuous improvement of the program and curriculum.

  • Leads the institutional vision and development of curricular planning.

  • Works closely with the Senior Leadership team to promote and live an organizational culture that fosters a passion for our mission, collaboration, open and frequent communication, teamwork, and a common vision throughout the entire school community.

  • Leads and mentors the continued professional development of faculty.

  • Start date for this position is immediate but no later than July 1, 2021.

  • Executes a strategic plan that articulates key educational priorities and in alignment with the mission of the Schools for the division. Provides leadership in the development, improvement, and evaluation of the instructional program.

  • Manages system of instructional schedules. Evaluates and makes a final recommendations on vision for education program and curriculum within division. Oversees a program of orientation and continued support of teachers, including opportunities for professional growth. Administers communications between parents, students, faculty, and staff. Manages the budget and work with the community to ensure that finances are supporting academic priorities. Maintains a healthy and productive relationship with the teachers through administration of the collective bargaining unit. Works with various offices throughout the University on issues such as planning, programming, budgeting, and operational infrastructure.

  • Performs other related work as needed.


  1. Minimum Qualifications


    • Bachelor's degree in education or related field.

    • Master’s degree in education or related field.


    • At least ten years of teaching experience, preferably at different age levels.

    • At least five years of administrative experience, preferably in independent schools.

    • Significant experience in creating, implementing, managing, and assessing educational programs.

    • Leading, developing, and managing change management initiatives.

    • Working in a unionized faculty covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

    • Demonstrated interest in and experience with issues of diversity.

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  • Work with a wide range of students with diverse backgrounds such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, learning abilities, class, language, and nationality.

  • Prior leadership experience within an early childhood/lower school setting, preferably as a division head/principal or similar.

  • A broad understanding of early childhood/elementary curricula and child development, including knowledge of Reggio Emilia and/or other play-based, child-centered curricula.

  • Classroom teaching experience at age/grade level.

  • Passion for professional development and continuing education.

  • An abiding commitment to creating and maintaining safe learning environments.

  • Keep ideals of diversity, equity, and inclusion central to hiring practices, program development, and

    admission policies.

    Technical Knowledge or Skills

    • Use standard productivity software (Microsoft Office, calendar/schedule software, etc.).

    • Move in and around the classroom/building to interact with students, faculty, staff, parents, and other

      members of the community.

      Preferred Competencies

  • Agile and flexible.

  • Interact with a diverse group of faculty, staff, students, parents and alumni.

  • Champion issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion in support of healthy, supportive relationships

    between community members.

  • Knowledge of instructional methodologies.

  • Strong knowledge of child development.

  • Confidence.

  • Resilient.

  • Navigate in a complex and ambiguous environment.

  • Analytical skills.

  • Problem-solving skills.

  • Decision-making skills.

  • Attention to detail.

  • Organizational skills.

  • Computational skills including data analysis and presentation.

  • Creativity.

  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills.

  • Interpersonal skills.

  • Work independently and as part of a team.

  • Manage stressful situations.

  • Maintain confidentiality.

  • Work on multiple projects simultaneously, set priorities, and meet deadlines.

  • An entrepreneurial spirit, the capacity to think strategically.

  • Successfully navigate and lead diverse and non-diverse communities.

  • Empathy and emotional intelligence.

Posting Statement

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773- 702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

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We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history. A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment. Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.

The University of Chicago's Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at: Paper copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

This position description is based upon material provided by The University of Chicago, an equal opportunity employer.

Andrew Watson, Search Consultant


Not Specified


Commensurate with Experience

Posting Expiration Date:


How to Apply:

Application Documents

  • Cover letter expressing interest in this particular position (required)

  • Current Résumé/CV (required)

  • One-page statement of educational philosophy and practice (required)

  • Five (5) professional references with name, phone number, and email address of each (references will not be contacted without the candidate’s permission) (required)

To apply to this position please visit -

Posted By: DRG


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