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Head of Lower School

Position Type Administrator
School Name Doane Academy
City, State Burlington, NJ 
Posted 11/30/2018

Head of Lower School


Doane Academy, an independent, coeducational day school for students from age 3 through grade 12 located in Burlington, New Jersey, seeks a dynamic, passionate, caring educator to become its next Head of Lower School.  The successful candidate will lead our division serving children aged 3-6 (in our Primary Program) through grade 5 and work closely with the Headmaster, division heads, and other senior administrators to make up the leadership team.  

Start Date: July 1, 2019


Founded in 1837, Doane Academy combines a reverence for its past with a celebration of the present and a commitment to the future.   Over its 181-year history, Doane has evolved from its founding as a girls boarding school, then called St. Mary’s Hall, to its present identity as a coeducational day school that draws its students, age 3 through grade 12, from a 45-minute radius of campus.  Through all of these years and changes, Doane’s home has been in Burlington on the banks of the Delaware River, from which the school derives much of its distinctive character.

The past decade has seen many positive developments at Doane.  Since 2010, enrollment has grown by 20%.  In 2015, the school completed its first major building project in nearly 50 years by opening Rowan Hall, a 27,000 square foot classroom and office addition.  Most of the school’s historic buildings have also undergone extensive renovation and renewal since 2010.  Meanwhile, the school’s endowment has grown to over $25 million after receiving a $17 million gift from Henry and Lee Rowan in January of 2015.  As a result, the financial health of Doane Academy has never been more robust.

With its increased resources, Doane now supports its faculty in ways that were not possible before.  Over the past four years, faculty salaries have been significantly increased so that they are now comparable with those offered by our peer group.  In addition, Doane has invested more in professional development, both on an individual and group basis.  Last year, Doane partnered with the Center for Transformational Teaching and Learning to develop more effective and informed ways to apply brain research to our classrooms.  In 2017, we joined the Folio Collaborative, a group of over 150 independent schools working together to enrich the faculty and staff development process.  A recently completed Strategic Plan, a copy of which is available on our website, identifies our priorities for the years to come.

One of these priorities is our academic program, which has undergone considerable revision over the past five years.  Important enhancements include the creation of our Primary Program, a Montessori-inspired classroom for our 3-6 year olds, now in its fourth year.  We have also increased our emphasis on world language instruction, which now occurs 5 days a week, beginning with our youngest students.  In addition, we have significantly revised our technology program.  We invested in a more modern and reliable infrastructure and now integrate technology into our curriculum in a thoughtful, innovative manner. This initiative complements our highly successful and innovative S.T.E.A.M. program, which has grown significantly both in terms of student participation and curricular and co-curricular offerings. We also created a new Middle School program, now in its third year, that allows us to focus on the unique academic and developmental needs of children in grades 6-8.  

Through all of this progress, we have worked hard to maintain the essential culture of Doane, which derives much of its identity from its small size and family atmosphere.  An overhaul of the daily schedule was undertaken in 2016 in part to provide dedicated time for all school gatherings and “School Family,” a weekly program that brings together students and faculty from all grades for small group get-togethers that celebrate the importance of empathy, leadership, friendship, and service.

Our student body is noticeably diverse under any definition of that term.  Students of color comprise 50% of the student body and 48% of the student body receives need-based financial aid.  Although Doane is a school in the Episcopal tradition, students come from a wide variety of religious backgrounds.

The Lower School, comprised of 75 students in Primary through 5th grade, is made up of one class per grade.  Lower School classrooms in Odenheimer Hall and Rowan Hall have been renovated or were first built over the past six years.  Students in the Lower School learn in their self-contained classrooms as well as from additional instruction in Art, Music, Nature Discovery, Spanish, and Physical Education.  Mathematics in the Lower School is taught using Singapore Math (now in its fifth year of use at Doane). Teachers make extensive use of the Writer’s Workshop method in their language arts curriculum.  In addition, Lower School students benefit from a variety of programs that take them off campus, especially in conjunction with the Nature Discovery program’s focus on the history and science of the Delaware River.  Technology is integrated into classroom instruction with support for the teacher coming from our Director of Technology Integration; each classroom has dedicated access to ChromeBook computers.

Lower School teachers at Doane Academy are devoted, caring, experienced educators who are passionate about elementary education and the broader Doane Academy experience.  Teachers and students in the Lower School regularly connect with the rest of the Doane community through School Family time, all-school meetings, and special events. The intentionally designed close knit nature of the Doane community benefits all of our students, but especially those in the Lower School.  


In addition to other responsibilities assigned by the Head of School, The Head of Lower School will:

  • Serve as a member of the school’s Senior Leadership Team

  • Hire and supervise Lower School faculty

  • Mentor and support Lower School faculty in an effort to create the best possible learning environment and educational experience for students

  • Work collaboratively with teachers and parents regarding the academic and personal growth of students

  • Participate in the orientation and professional development of new and continuing teachers

  • Lead curriculum design and centralize scope and sequence

  • Work with the Admissions Team as an ambassador of the school who can demonstrate the school’s value proposition to prospective and current families

  • Maintain the division’s budget and partner with the Chief Financial Officer and Headmaster on financial decisions


  • Significant Lower School teaching and proven independent school leadership experience

  • Warm and relational approach to children’s education

  • A leader who is empathetic, decisive, joyful, caring, and visible

  • Commitment to innovation in education

  • Strong management and interpersonal skills

  • An ability to embrace and promote the unique culture of Doane Academy

  • Creative problem solving experience with the ability to think strategically and operationally

  • Knowledge of current child development research and a commitment to implementing research-based best practices for supporting students and faculty

  • Understanding of, and experience with, creating early childhood/elementary curricula

  • Understanding of, and appreciation for, a Montesssori-based approach to education for young children

  • Demonstrated commitment to building a positive community of equity and inclusion

  • An ability to be both self-directed and collaborative

  • Experience with the admissions and enrollment management process and an understanding of the current independent school climate and challenges

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

  • A master’s degree is strongly preferred

Applicants should provide the following by January 7, 2019 via email to George Sanderson, Headmaster, Doane Academy,

  • A cover letter, expressing interest in this position

  • A current resume

  • Statement of educational philosophy and practice

  • Names and contact information for three confidential references.  No reference will be contacted without first asking permission of the applicant.

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