n Application | CalWestEducators

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Applying for Position:
Children's Day School,
San Francisco, CA

This opening calls for specific administration qualifications set by the school.

Lower School Director

Children’s Day School (CDS) is a co-educational preschool through eighth-grade school serving over 475 students in the Mission Dolores neighborhood of San Francisco. Spanning two campuses, and home to a diverse community of students, faculty, and families, CDS is a vibrant learning community grounded in the newly adopted Mission, Beliefs and Values.

At Children’s Day School, what you learn and who you become are equally important.

CDS is a welcoming community in the big city, a farm and garden among urban streets, an advocate for responsibility to others as well as individual achievement, an independent school with down-to-earth values, always asking how can we do this better.

We strive for balance so students become both academically successful and grounded. They leave CDS confident, with the humility to listen and the resolve to speak up for what they see as right.


Learning is Active, Differences Lift Us, Community Matters


Be Just and Courageous, Share Kindness and Joy, Stay Grounded

Teaching and learning are grounded in our 11 learning beliefs(link). To learn more about CDS, visit our website at www.cds-sf.org.


We are seeking an innovative, dynamic, and civic-minded lower school head to provide strategic leadership to build upon the strength of our program and continue to learn together. The ideal candidate will be a forward-thinking, experienced lower school administrator.

Reporting to the Head of School, this senior administrative position is responsible for providing outstanding leadership for the students, faculty, and families connected to our lower school. The essential duties/responsibilities of this position include, but are not limited to, the following:


Program Support and Design

  • Ensure that students are at the center of our planning, vision and the daily life of the school.
  • Work with the teachers and support staff to ensure that the Lower School’s program and culture are optimally supportive of the physiological, cognitive, social and emotional needs of children.
  • Support and cultivate a culture of high standards and accountability for students, faculty, and staff.
  • Articulate and implement a comprehensive vision for the Lower School that connects and holds accountable the existing program to the School’s Mission, Beliefs and Values
  • Develop teachers and support staff to ensure that the Lower School’s program and culture are optimally supportive of the physiological, cognitive, and social and emotional needs of children.
  • Provide mentorship for the Director of Extended Day Programs to support the development of after school and camp programs.

Faculty Development, Nurturing, and Retention

  • Model an inquiry stance and curiosity about life and learning
  • Develop faculty experience and expertise in inquiry-based learning
  • Support and guide the faculty individually and in teams to effectively implement the distinctive inquiry-based programs such as community engagement, farm and garden, and social justice.
  • Support leadership development in teachers through promoting team leadership roles and structured mentor programs.

Collaborative Partnership

  • Support the sense of community among the teachers, parents, and students.
  • Provide appropriate responses, actions and support, when needed, to faculty, student and parental concerns.
  • Foster greater collaboration and coordination with the Early Childhood and Middle School divisions.
  • Engage proactively to build and nurture community partnerships with mission-aligned groups.

Admission and Enrollment Management

  • Represent the lower school at admission events, including tours and open houses
  • Serve as part of the admission committee, including participating in student visit days/assessments, interviewing prospective parents/guardians, and collaborating with the admission team on lower school admission decisions
  • Support school-wide retention efforts and help lead lower school retention efforts

Experience and Qualifications

Along with excellent organizational and leadership skills, the ideal candidate will have a background that demonstrates most, if not all, of the following:

  • Ability to synthesize and articulate the Mission, Beliefs and Values to inspire and lead the faculty in implementing our MBV’s.
  • Demonstrated leadership experience in the areas of change, transition, and/or innovation.
  • A warm, approachable presence on campus, knowing and enjoying the faculty, staff, parents and students of the School.
  • A consultative and collaborative leader who invites and respects the views of others yet is decisive when needed.
  • Strong familiarity with significant educational and technology trends in independent schools and lower schools, in particular.
  • Effective and responsible communication with faculty members, students and parents in a clear, concise and timely manner, keeping these groups appropriately informed of potential issues and needs.
  • Ability to participate effectively in and contribute to the highly functioning senior leadership team.
  • Teaching and administrative experience at elementary or pre-school levels.
  • An advanced degree is preferred.


  • Bachelor's degree required (Master’s degree preferred).
  • 5-7 years experience as a lead teacher.
  • 3 years of experience in a leadership role in an elementary school or equivalent experience
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Proficiency in technology
  • Experience with inquiry-based learning, and familiarity with Responsive Classroom, Bridges Math and the Lucy Calkins Writer and Readers workshop approach (and/or interest in being trained).
  • Spanish speakers preferred.


CDS offers a competitive salary commensurate with knowledge, skills, and experience. We provide eligible employees, comprehensive health, dental and vision insurance. We also offer and contribute to a 403 (b) retirement program.

CDS is an EEO employer.

CDS is a racially and ethnically diverse community, and we seek the same in our faculty and staff. This is a full-time position and salary is commensurate with experience.

CalWest and our partner schools are unable to respond to all applicants.

Candidates may be submitted to multiple positions during their time with CalWest. Also, candidates may not be chosen to move forward in the search they initially expressed interest in pursuing.

Our client schools make the final decisions.

Deciding to Apply

At minimum, applicants should have:

About CalWest Educators Placement

CalWest is the “go-to” firm for educators seeking new positions at independent schools on the West Coast. We focus on increased communication and understanding with our candidates, providing reliable and candid advice about the schools they are considering.

If you have questions about the qualifications to apply, please contact us at mysearch@calwesteducators.com.