Chief Academic Officer – Independence Mission Schools (King of Prussia, PA)

Education: Elementary, FT Employee
Independence Mission Schools (King of Prussia, PA)

Position: Chief Academic Officer

Organization Overview
Independence Mission Schools (IMS)

Independence Mission Schools was established in 2012. Under a ground-breaking model in July 2013, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia granted control of 14 former parochial grade schools to IMS; an additional school will be added July 1, 2014 for a total of 15 schools. These schools are located across a diverse group of some of the city’s most underserved neighborhoods and serve over 4,100 children in the 2013-14 school year. We expect to grow the student population in our schools to 5,000 within the next two years.

The mission of IMS is to provide sustainable, affordable, high quality Catholic education to children of all faiths in under-served urban neighborhoods, through a new model of governance, funding, and accountability for the member schools. Our most critical objective is to close the academic achievement gap that pervades urban education and undermines the efforts of students to reach their true potential.

Catholic schools are an integral part of the educational landscape in the city of Philadelphia. These schools have a proven legacy of helping children from low-income and immigrant populations break the cycle of poverty. At IMS, we are driven to preserve this system of education in our city, but moreover to advance the level of excellence in these schools so that they become the premier educational option that our students need and deserve. Our goal is to help our schools achieve academic excellence on a platform of financial sustainability and thus ensure their future viability for generations to come.

The Chief Academic Officer will join the leadership team of IMS which includes the President, COO, Development Director, Director of Enrollment and Marketing, Finance Director and a small central office support staff. IMS is a registered 501c3 organization which is governed by an independent board of directors.

For more information about IMS, please visit our website at


POSITION Chief Academic Officer
REPORTS TO: President, IMS
STATUS: Exempt

The Chief Academic Officer is responsible for establishing and advancing a comprehensive program for sustained academic achievement across IMS schools. In this role, the CAO will have accountability for the academic performance of our schools as well as insuring that the school’s academic program remains emblematic of the school’s Catholic identity.

This position will be hands-on, regularly working in schools and classrooms across our network. The ideal candidate will be in schools observing and evaluating student work, teacher instruction, co-observing with school leaders, aiding leaders in feedback to teachers, and evaluating school/staff culture.

The IMS network consists of 15 PreK through 8 elementary schools as of July 1, 2014 serving a student body of 4,500- 5,000- the number of schools and/or students in the network may increase in future.

Position responsibilities include:

1. Network school communities with each other and the broader community to ensure comprehensive academic programs provided where information and resources are shared, and all schools participate equally, according to researched and verified educational best practices.
Where and when there is need for a change in strategies or program deliveries, the CAO will identify and realize the necessary strategies and action steps.

2. Communicates and pursues IMS’s overall vision of excellence for schools

o Places a special emphasis on the need for increased academic rigor

o Ensures school improvement planning processes

o Provides innovative and creative solutions needed to continually improve the educational experience provided to students

o Collaborates as needed with other leadership team members of IMS to ensure that the needs of schools are met

3. Advance, lead and manage principals in their roles as instructional leaders of their schools, working collaboratively to improve student achievement

4. Monitor, coach and evaluate network principals providing clarity on roles and functions, goals, measures and accountability

5. Direct overall academic priorities and implement programs
accordingly for IMS schools. Assist school leaders in monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of school programs as well as identifying and acquiring appropriate resources to ensure that curricula are student-focused and aligned with the school’s mission, academic standards and strategic goals.

6. Ensure that schools are meeting student achievement goals through regular review of benchmarks; demonstrate leadership in the use of assessment tools on a regular and on-going basis for effectiveness in improving student achievement.

7. Develop individualized staff development plans with school leaders to capitalize on strengths as well as address areas for growth and improvement.

8. Recruit and train highly-qualified incoming school principals as needed

9. Design, implement and oversee the implementation of professional development, mentoring and coaching for principals and faculty across schools

10. Facilitate collaboration among network principals and school sites to promote identification and sharing of best practices.

11. Regularly communicates to the President the requirements and needs of the system related to curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional development needed in these areas.

12. Perform other duties as assigned by the President, or as appropriate to the job assignment.


• A Master degree in Curriculum and Instruction or related fields, with a minimum of 10 years of experience in education as a teacher, instructional leader, principal, or other leadership position

• An individual possessed of the belief that all children can achieve, who is committed to the mission of Independence Mission Schools as well as committed to upholding the teachings of the Catholic Church.

• Demonstrated success leading a high-performing k-8 school or schools in an urban setting, using strategic educational initiatives that result in measurably improved student achievement. Provide examples of your demonstrated ability to manage instructional staff to produce student growth.

• Excellent oral and written communication skills, and an ability to articulate the vision and mission of IMS.

• Demonstrated ability and experience in leading high-performing teams and managing staff, making use of a constructive feedback and coaching structure

• Demonstrated experience in the design, integration, implementation and management of a school’s academic program including knowledge of curriculum, instructional practices, and leadership development

• Capability to effectively build, develop and maintain strong relationships with internal and external constituents including school leaders, staff, teachers, parents, students, board members, and community stakeholders

• Demonstrated proficiency in analyzing, interpreting, and using data to collaborate, identify best practices and areas for improvement, and drive results

• Ability to self-direct and prioritize among competing goals, exhibit flexibility and good judgment, and drive results in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment

• Strong leadership skills including an encouraging, motivating presence exhibited in conflict management, team building, and staff engagement

Qualified candidates may respond by sending a cover letter, resume and salary requirements to [email protected]

IMS does not discriminate or make employment related decisions based on rate, national origin, ethnicity, color, age, sex, gender, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, marital status, status as a veteran, military status, or any other classification protected by law. (0)

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