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Administration, Education, Independent Schools

Director, Early Learning Center

  • The Blake School
  • Minneapolis, MN

This position has been filled.

Download a PDF version of the Position Description here.

School Overview

An independent, co-ed day school, Blake School offers a rigorous education grounded in shared values – respect, love of learning, integrity, courage, and a commitment to pluralism. Three campuses in Hopkins, Minneapolis, and Wayzata unite approximately 1,360 students served by 350 faculty and staff, creating a diverse and inclusive community.

Blake helps students become thoughtful, well-rounded adults by providing a multifaceted education that includes:  Excellent academics; comprehensive arts; outstanding athletics; diverse co-curriculars; global programs; and community engagement.

The Blake School is accredited by the Independent School Association of the Central States (ISACS). The School is a member of the College Board, the Cum Laude Society, the National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC) and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

Mission /Commitment To Pluralism/Core Values

Mission

Blake engages students with a dynamic, academically challenging education in a diverse and supportive community committed to pluralism and a common set of values. Students pursue an integrated program of academic, artistic and athletic activities, preparing for college, lifelong learning and purposeful lives as community and global citizens.

Commitment to Pluralism

A vibrant learning environment springs from a diverse school community. For this reason, Blake seeks and values students, families and employees with a wide range of backgrounds, identities and life experiences. Individually and collectively, we strive for understanding across differences in an inclusive environment where everyone can belong, contribute and thrive.

Core Values

  • Respect – We respect, support and care for each other, ourselves and our environment. We demonstrate respect by welcoming difference, developing empathy and seeking inclusiveness.
  • Love of Learning – Curiosity, creativity and critical thinking inspire our passion for learning. We listen, understand, question and grow––as individuals, community members and global citizens.
  • Integrity – We expect all community members to speak and act honestly, ethically and fairly.
  • Courage – We value both intellectual and personal courage, ensuring that all are encouraged to question and be questioned. We honor courage in both word and action by fostering intellectual independence, introspection and resilience.
Blake Leadership

Anne Stavney, Head of School, has served as Head at Blake since 2012. She came to Blake from the Lakeside School (her alma mater), where she served in several leadership roles, including assistant head of school. At Blake, she has led the school in a successful $80 million comprehensive campaign; overseen six capital projects including a new science wing, entry hall and dining commons; developed a global immersion program and a computer science program; and significantly revised the school’s curricula in world languages, literacy, mathematics and humanities. She serves on the board for the Children’s Theatre Company of Minnesota and chairs its Education Committee, and is a member of the Accreditation Review Committee for the Independent Schools Association of Central States. She holds a B.A. in government from Smith College and a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington.

Anne Graybeal, Associate Head of School, earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania, her M.A. in English Literature from Georgetown University and her B.A. cum laude in English Literature and French Literature from Pomona College. In addition to serving as an Academic Dean at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth, she has taught English at the Madeira School, the United States Senate Page School, and the Webb Schools, where she served as English Department Chair and received the Thompson and Vivian Webb Award for Excellence in Teaching. She joined Blake as Upper School Director in 2010 and taught both American Literature and AP English 11.

The Lower School

The Lower School at Blake creates a liberal arts experience designed for its youngest learners. Small class sizes coupled with teachers who inspire students to develop academic and social skills, gain confidence, and love school results in a community of global citizens who are committed to pluralism and a common set of values.

From pre-kindergarten on, students think of themselves as members of communities – in and out of the classroom. Classrooms thrive on intimate peer-to-peer learning.  Instruction incorporates     collaborative projects and emphasizes shared values:

  • Citizenship
  • Respect for others
  • Empathy
  • Working together to solve problems

Social responsibility and global citizenship are emphasized throughout the curriculum and in cocurricular activities. Students come to recognize that they belong to local, regional, national and international communities. Through service learning and other related activities, students form connections that expand their world.

The Lower School combines academic rigor with a nurturing, homelike and supportive environment.  Blake’s Lower School curriculum provides a solid foundation in:

  • Traditional core subject areas: English language arts, mathematics, social studies and science;
  • Engineering and programming use MIT’s Scratch language and Lego Robotics to teach coding fundamentals and engineering principles in our Maker’s Labs;
  • Spanish language instruction to build skills in one language;
  • physical education; and
  • multiple branches of the arts: visual arts, theatre and music.

Students learn to set – and meet – high goals in every area. Meanwhile, teachers, teaching assistants, learning specialists and counselors are committed to helping children tackle any special challenges they encounter.

The Early Learning Center

Blake will be among the first independent schools in the Upper Midwest to offer an Early Learning Center (ELC) for students in pre-kindergarten through first grade. The ELC will be constructed with universal design principles and green materials and a commitment to indoor and outdoor learning spaces. Building on Blake’s current Lower School educational program, the ELC will offer best practices in early childhood teaching and learning, pedagogy inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach and a focus on environmental awareness and stewardship.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES: The following principles have guided the vision and design of the Early Learning Center from the ground up:

  • Child-Centered – A Reggio Emilia-inspired view of the child—as inquisitive and creative, competent and capable, intelligent and whole—will drive this project. The first consideration when making design decisions will be the child’s perspective and potential for learning, joy, and growth.
  • Belonging to All – Students, educators, and families of all backgrounds, lived experiences, and learning approaches are welcome at Blake. Embracing Blake’s commitment to pluralism and core values, this project will foster inclusion, connection, community, and a sense of belonging that unifies us all.
  • Rooted In Nature – ELC design and curriculum will recognize the surrounding land’s history and ecosystem, strengthen the indoor-outdoor connection, and make connections between the health and wellbeing of people and the natural world.
  • Embracing a Pluralistic Future – As a shared educational community that honors the individual voices and diverse perspectives of students, educators and the broader community, this project will take a human- centered, collaborative approach.
  • Sparking Curiosity – All spaces—whether indoors or outdoors—will invite and foster inquiry, investigation, exploration, joy, curiosity, and wonder.
Role Summary

The Blake School is seeking a dynamic and inspiring leader to become the inaugural Director of the Early Learning Center (ELC).

Reporting to the Head of School, the Director of ELC serves as a member of the Administrative Council (twelve-member leadership council made up of all divisional and program directors in school), directs all aspects of the ELC and early childhood program, and together with the Director of the Upper Elementary School (UES), provides co-leadership for the Lower School Division.

ELC is a state-of-the-art facility set to open to students in August 2023 for the 2023-2024 school year. Built specifically with early childhood in mind, the facility was designed to invoke curiosity and delight. As a carbon free, fully electric building, the ELC itself offers many opportunities for experiential learning throughout the seasons and school year.  The Director will manage all aspects of the ELC and will assist faculty in envisioning how to incorporate this remarkable facility into students’ everyday learning.

The successful candidate will inherit a strong, Reggio-inspired early childhood program and will build on its strengths. The next leader will have the opportunity to focus exclusively on PK, K and 1 and envision, create, and shape a shared experience for all students and parents in their early childhood years at Blake.

With a start date of July 1, 2022, the Director will have the opportunity to unify the two lower school campuses. The process will include honoring the traditions of each Lower School campus while helping the community look to the future and envision what a unified Lower School can become.

The Director will possess many of the following qualifications, skills and attributes:

Experience

  • Advanced degree in Early Childhood Education or a related discipline.
  • Minimum of five years in a senior administrative role that include supervision of faculty.
  • Minimum of seven years of teaching experience.
  • A demonstrated commitment to Blake’s mission and values.
  • Deep understanding of the evolving nature of early childhood education; experience with Reggio Emilia philosophy; and knowledge of best practices and emerging pedagogies in early childhood education.
  • Demonstrated ability to connect meaningfully with young children and to engage productively with all members of the school community, including students, faculty, staff, and parents and guardians.
  • A record of successfully advancing initiatives in support of diversity, equity and inclusion.

 Skills 

  • A record of identifying, planning and implementing institutional strategic priorities at a divisional or programmatic level.
  • Proven capacity to lead large scale change effectively.
  • Strong track record of attracting, hiring and developing faculty.
  • Skill and enthusiasm for interacting with current and prospective parents to share the benefits of an early childhood education at Blake.
  • Superb interpersonal and relationship-building skills.
  • Outstanding written and oral communications skills and public speaking skills.
  • Strong capacity to serve as an effective member of a collaborative senior leadership team.

Attributes

  • Excellent anticipatory judgment and situational discernment.
  • Capacity to toggle between institutional, divisional and programmatic thinking.
  • A creative, flexible approach to problem-solving.
  • Self-confident, decisive and having inner strength.
  • Approachable, good listener, grounded.
  • A positive attitude and sense of humor.
Search Team

Blake School has retained the services of Diversified Search to assist in the search process.  All communications will be treated confidentially.  Nominations, inquiries and applications (including a cover letter, curriculum vitae, statement of educational philosophy, and the names of five references) should be directed electronically in confidence to: BlakeDirectorELC@divsearch.com

Peter J. Gillin
Managing Director
215.656.3556
Peter.Gillin@divsearch.com

Christine Falcone
Senior Search Associate
484.288.0295
Christine.Falcone@divsearch.com

 

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