Founding Principal Job Description
The DaVinci Collaborative (DVC) is creating a year-round public charter high school in Baltimore City that supports student achievement using a model of project-based learning that integrates college- and career-preparatory academics, technology, the arts, and real-world learning. Students will take charge of their learning and the design of the school and grow into independent, creative thinkers. They will work and learn alongside community organizations and businesses through internships and other real-world learning opportunities. DVC is seeking an entrepreneurial, motivated, and dedicated instructional leader who shares this vision to be the founding principal of our new high school. Together with the Executive Director, the founding Principal will provide the vision and leadership needed to create a student-centered, progressive, and dynamic learning community.
Background of DVC
The DaVinci Collaborative was conceived and developed by a group of educators, parents, and community leaders in Baltimore. The core of our educational approach is personalized learning based on each student’s passions, interests, and abilities. Students will be immersed in a community of advisors, mentors, and teachers that coach and nurture each student toward success. Regardless of success or failure, students learn how to pivot, regroup, and go on to the next challenge.
Project-based learning provides the means for DVC students to make their education relevant and useful to a future career; projects employ appropriate technology and integrate the arts with academics. In addition, students obtain apprenticeships and internships with community businesses, and through weekly reflections, students and their advisors work together to make explicit the connections between formal and informal learning. DVC fosters capacities of emotional self-regulation, compassion, and gratitude. Students develop awareness of community; peer mediation and restorative practices support positive student behavior and discipline.
Pending approval of our charter, the school will open in the Fall of 2019 with 125 ninth graders and will grow to 500 at capacity. We expect to know a final decision by mid-January, so no offer will be extended before that time. For more details about DVC, please visit www.davincibaltimore.org.
The Founding Principal must be a visionary instructional leader. Having read the mission and vision of DVC, you embrace these values, principles, and methods. In our small school, you are expected to engage with each student and recognize them as individuals. You are the leading champion for DVC, in addition to setting instructional direction, developing and managing the school’s academic program, and supporting and inspiring instructional staff. You hold primary responsibility for ensuring high academic achievement and improvement by all students. You are in the classrooms and advisory rooms more than in your office, getting to know the students and faculty. You have a familiarity with and appreciation of project-based learning, a track record of success, and know that you can continue that success by leading a new school.
The Executive Director (ED) and Principal will work together to implement a cohesive, clear vision and ensure the school meets its mission and academic goals. Although many duties will overlap, the Executive Director’s focus is on the operational side and the Principal’s focus is on academics and school culture. Together, they will:
Develop and sustain a school culture that embodies a strong sense of community through collaborative academic coursework, community service, leadership opportunities, and character development.
Establish and facilitate an atmosphere of individual growth and mutual respect.
Build strong relationships with parents, families, and the community.
Ensure equity and high expectations across the school.
Promote a culture of trust, where risk-taking and reflection are valued.
Diverse Learning Community
The DVC is intentionally created to welcome the diverse population of Baltimore. We are committed to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning community, which is integral to our school culture and included in DVC’s core principles of Equity, Community, Collaboration and Democratic Process. DVC has developed a plan that includes wide recruitment of students, special interest in multilingualism, and recruitment of a diverse team of culturally sensitive faculty and staff. Prospective staff must demonstrate cultural and racial awareness and provide examples of their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We strive to create a learning environment that exposes students to a breadth of differences, informs their perspective, and prepares them to shape the world. The DaVinci Collaborative is an equal opportunity employer.
Planning Year Duties
During the planning year, the Principal will work with the Executive Director to:
Hire instructional staff;
Lead the development of the curriculum and instructional model;
Support the design of a school building that is best suited for our teaching and learning model;
Create school policies, systems, and structures that will support the development of a learning environment that fits with DVC’s core beliefs;
Connect the school community with the larger educational community, including other charter, public, and independent schools in Baltimore;
Represent the school at recruiting events and community meetings;
Plan professional development including summer institute for new staff.
The person hired is expected to be available for some of these activities beginning in Winter/Spring 2018, on a part-time basis. Compensation and timing will be discussed during the interview process.
Responsibilities for DaVinci Collaborative High School’s Founding Principal
Beginning in July before our fall opening date, the Principal will become full-time staff. Core responsibilities include:
Welcome all students and families and get to know them by going to advisory meetings, learning exhibitions, and most school events.
Inspire teachers to be deeply engaged in the difficult work of starting a new school.
Support and encourage advisor/teachers about their roles; engage and consult founding teachers as co-leaders and decision makers; and help them develop their leadership skills in support of the school’s mission and continued growth.
Engage with families and developing authentic relationships, so they don’t fear a call from the Principal.
Encourage others to make decisions that are right for them by being supportive, not authoritarian; but be able to make occasional tough decisions.
Recruit and hire a diverse, high-quality staff that shares the vision and mission of DVC; recognize the qualities in staff that make them suitable for DVC; consult with the Executive Director and Board members regarding initial hires.
Contribute to budgeting that focuses first on students but supports the well-being of teachers.
Develop and implement a collaborative method of evaluation to provide ongoing feedback for staff that leads to constant professional improvement. Lead and empower teachers to use student achievement data to reflect on teaching practices and make formal and informal decisions about instruction.
Collaboratively develop, plan, and implement engaging professional development for all staff; seek opportunities to engage appropriate outside services where needed.
Assume responsibility for evaluating student learning by collecting and analyzing a variety of qualitative and quantitative information; employ the results to continually improve learning and engagement among all students.
With families, students and staff, implement and maintain high standards for student character.
Evidence of success in this position will include (among other things): knowing all the students by name, observed regular presence throughout the building; academic achievement and growth of students; and growing enrollment applications including siblings of current students. The Principal will be evaluated by the Executive Director as well as by City Schools. The Principal is the immediate supervisor of the school’s instructional faculty.
Ideal candidates will have most of the following qualifications:
MSDE Advanced Professional Certificate with an endorsement as Principal/ Supervisor or Administrator II.
A minimum of eight years of teaching plus school-based administrative or supervisory experience.
Demonstrated ability to model shared/distributed leadership; experience leading a professional learning community; and the ability to inspire a team around a progressive vision.
Strong technology skills relating to blended learning, data analysis, and communications.
Experience in project-based, interdisciplinary learning models and willingness to embrace innovative pedagogy that supports whole child development.
Clear and compelling verbal and written communication.
Proficiency in Spanish or another foreign language. We anticipate relatively high numbers of students and families who will speak Spanish, French, or Arabic (among other languages).
Experience with Summit Learning (www.summitlearning.org) and/or Big Picture Learning (www.bigpicture.org).
Characteristics of a successful Principal
Entrepreneurial spirit and ability to work in a fast-paced, startup environment.
Great follow through skills: say what you mean and do what you promise to do.
Ability to build relationships with a diverse group of constituents, including involving families and community members in all phases of the school program.
Demonstrated commitment to the belief that all children can achieve success, in the quality of their academic work and in working together for a common goal.
Commitment to creating a place where everybody knows each other, respects and admires individual differences, and embraces people pursuing their passions.
Reflective, resourceful, willingness to listen, humility, flexibility and a sense of humor.
Strong personal commitment to diversity, inclusion, cultural competency and equity; experience with programs and practices in this area, a recognition of one’s own biases; and experience working in urban communities.
Holding him/herself to the same high standards expected of faculty, staff, and students.
The DVC offers a competitive salary and benefits. The Founding Principal's salary and benefits are aligned to the Baltimore City Public Schools pay scale.
As noted above, The DaVinci Collaborative is pending approval. We will keep the community updated about our progress.
All applicants are asked to submit a cover letter and current resume or vita (including education, certification, relevant work experience, and any awards, publications or honors). Electronic portfolios are welcome and highly encouraged.
Please email all materials to the following address: