Corlears School, a progressive, culturally and socio-economically diverse independent school for children, ages 2 through 10, seeks an experienced and engaging diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practitioner to become the school’s inaugural Director of Equity, Inclusion and Community Life.
Founded in 1968 in the Lower East Side by a pioneering group of parents and educators, Corlears School moved three years later to its current location on West 15th Street in Chelsea, NYC. Fifty years later Corlears School has become firmly established among independent schools in New York City. The original founding families believed in the progressive approach to education and creating a rich educational foundation for young children where they could explore, question and take their learning beyond the classroom. Along with this original pedagogical approach, the school has retained a deep commitment to maintaining a community that welcomes and includes children and families from diverse racial, cultural, socioeconomic, gender, sexual identity and religious backgrounds.
A recent multi-year initiative focusing on curriculum and community through the lens of equity and inclusion has elevated the school’s practice and helped to identify the next challenges. To support this next step in the journey, Corlears is seeking a leader with courage and empathy, compassion and appreciation for the complexity of what institutions and individuals go through as they strive and work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable schools and communities.
In the last four years, the Corlears Community has engaged in reflecting more deeply in working towards social justice and equity within our school. The goal is a renewed commitment to the work within all areas of the school: policy, admissions, hiring, curriculum, and at the board level. The school wants all incoming families to see and know that its commitment to equity is real and palpable, while acknowledging that implementation is nascent. The school wants all of its current families to feel and experience this, and be a part of the active momentum to keep it moving in this work day-after-day, year-after-year. By installing a position for Director of Equity, Inclusion and Community Life, Corlears solidifies its commitment to this work and the Community, internally and externally. The role represents the drive to sustain and grow the school’s understanding, and to guide it with even more leadership and support behind it.
Mission Statement: Corlears students learn, play and grow together in a school designed for who they are at ages 2 through 10. During these crucial formative years, we build a foundation of compassion, critical thinking, imagination and leadership, and cultivate a joy and confidence in learning that serves our graduates throughout their lives.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Corlears School stands on a long tradition of educating young children, made distinctive by The School’s spirit of innovation and collaboration. The School has cultivated a curriculum that stimulates creativity, is grounded in concrete experiences, and extends beyond the classroom. The goal is to prepare students to become responsible and contributing members of their communities.
Corlears is one of the few schools in New York City focusing exclusively on the early years of education (age 2-5th grade)— and it always has. Through five decades of experience, The School has developed expertise around the understanding that these early years of education are the most crucial, formative years for every child. These years set a foundation of learning and confidence for everything to come. Corlears School specializes in guiding this impressionable age group, because the start of a child’s social emotional and academic life should be nothing short of exceptional.
At Corlears, bringing older and younger students together is no accident. Children are not held to arbitrary benchmarks and standards that don’t naturally support optimal developmental learning. Instead, age and ability are the focus and students are placed in specific groups based on developmental learning and readiness. The result is kids who grow and excel naturally on their own intellectual, social and emotional timetable, while being nurtured, guided and challenged to stretch their thinking and learning potential. An added benefit of our multi-age approach is that it establishes a fluid, inclusive community, allowing students of all ages to feel safe in taking risks and pushing their own boundaries.
Corlears kids not only want to know how things work, but also more importantly why? Here, students of all ages dive into hands-on projects, explore what excites them, and discover new understanding and strengths. Our program utilizes the amazing resources of New York City’s history, art, culture, and science to empower our students to innovate, think critically and problem solve.
We cultivate their awareness and their desire to make a difference in the world. No one wants to make a difference more than they do.
The Corlears Curriculum Cycle
Teachers ignite kids’ curiosity with big and challenging ideas
Kids dive in and explore, learn to ask questions, solving new problems, grasping new concepts
New understanding grows as kids apply their new knowledge to real life experiences
Kids can’t wait to share their new understanding with the community
The Nursery School Program at Corlears
2s- Communication, Exploration and Play
Two-year-olds are brimming with wonder and curiosity. With play-based learning and social interaction, we help them make discoveries about themselves, their classmates, the school community, and the world. Each day’s activities include beginning science, math, art, and language. movement, music, and Spanish are also introduced, but hands-on investigation through play is at the core of the program. What child doesn’t love painting, sorting, singing, building, and squishing dough?
Our early childhood teachers help each child develop a strong social language through modeling how to have conversations, express feelings, share ideas and ask questions. The daily routine, which begins with arrival in the classroom, morning choice time, and many more creative activities, provides a model for what the children will experience as they continue their education at Corlears.
Families are an important part of the Corlears nursery team, supporting kids, teachers, and each other. Because parents of little ones need support too!
Preschool at Corlears
3/4s- Peer Modeling & Developing a Sense of Community
Preschoolers can’t wait to get to class and join their friends at morning meeting as they engage in their two-year journey of the 3/4s. Beginning in the 3s, children take steps toward becoming active participants in their learning and in building community. Our teachers build on the group-learning skills and the language development the children acquired in the 2s. Utilizing the peer mentoring model with the 4s, the 3s are able to stretch their thinking and their learning alongside their peers. This kind of support models empathy, collaboration, creativity and confidence to take risks in one’s learning. The 3s are exposed to emergent literacy concepts through Morning Meeting, environmental print, sound symbol correspondence, rhyming, singing and stories. Opportunities to reinforce developing number sense continue through classroom routines and are reinforced with teacher guided explorations of manipulatives around basic concepts, and games. Specialists in Music, Art, Library Science and Spanish, enter the classrooms in the mornings to work with the children in small and whole groups. This fosters relationships with the specialist teachers and materials they explore within the comfort of their classrooms.
Leadership skills begin to develop in the 4s as they take on the role of young mentor to their 3 year-old peers. This in turn reinforces their learning and skills through the teaching and partnering with others. They begin to practice and cultivate the important skill of articulating their thinking and understanding in their own words. Our teachers guide and support the children as they embark on developing literacy and math skills. Handwriting instruction begins with guided practice, utilizing a multi-sensory approach. The 4s begin to work with phonetic spelling and write about topics in a variety of formats such as dramatization, dictation and eventually writing on their own. Structured math groups support the ongoing development of number sense as the 4s are introduced to sequencing, patterns, basic addition and geometry. Social studies investigations that relate to the social and emotional experiences of this age group focus on the child and his/her family as well as the classroom community. Children are stimulated to ask questions and think deeply. Literacy, math and science are woven throughout these investigations. 4s also begin to explore the use of technology while working once a week in small groups with our technology teacher.
Preschool families and teachers are in close contact at Corlears— a community with shared values, raising our kids together!
Kindergarten at Corlears
5s — Making Connections & Building Skills
Kindergartners are bubbling with new thoughts and ideas. Our Ks curriculum integrates social studies, science, math, art, and technology, fostering a growing understanding of how everything in our world is interconnected. As kids settle down to work, they apply the reading, writing, and math skills they began developing in their preschool years. Small group instruction, along with phonics and movement, bring reading and writing to life. using iPads as tools, Kindergartners love mastering math and literacy skills. in the fall neighborhood Study, Ks explore NYC’s Chelsea neighborhood on several walking trips, learning first- hand about maps and New York’s grid system. In our art studio, kids are free to express their newfound ideas in creative ways. Each year students study neighborhood jobs. When studying the job of an artist, the Ks created their own works of art, wrote an artist bio, and created a real classroom art gallery!
Children spend time in the science lab and focus on science topics related to their social studies explorations. New observation and critical thinking skills are cultivated. The art studio is where our Kindergarteners express their ideas in numerous ways through paint, clay, and recycled materials. Morning Meeting and routines provide multiple opportunities for whole group discussion and mini-lessons that take the Kinders into the work of the day.
Upon entering the 6/7s, the 6s each have a foundation for whole group discussion and inquiry-based learning. They are able to enter the curriculum with great enthusiasm and excitement as their literacy and math skills are now advancing quickly. Word Work is introduced in small groups and incorporated into reading, writing, science, and social studies. Explicit reading and writing instruction continues at the point where the student left off at the end of the Kindergarten year, to ensure a smooth continuum of learning. Grade-level math instruction, which continues with the math workshop model, allows teachers to differentiate students’ varied learning needs and abilities, while maintaining the supportive aspect of group learning and the benefits of peer modeling and sharing strategies. Social studies investigations provide students with an understanding of the concept of community and take the children out of the immediate school neighborhood and into the New York City metropolitan area. Homework begins and is designed to extend and reinforce classroom work, as well as provide practice with organization, time-management, and basic study skills, which are essential for success in the upper grades. Technology, music, art, and physical education are areas where the children continue to build skills and solve problems creatively.
The 7s take on an extraordinary leadership role as peer mentors to the 6s. Having had several experiences of being mentored by their peers, they are able to embrace this opportunity with enthusiasm. The 7s begin to take real ownership of their learning and a higher level independence is nurtured and supported. Literacy instruction continues, as reading groups and Word Work get more complex and children read more difficult texts, develop oral and written comprehension, and vocabulary studies begin. Grade-level math continues and the children delve into place value, double and triple digit addition and subtraction, geometry, early multiplication. 7s also begin to weave technology, social studies and literacy together in creating multimedia presentations and projects with the technology teacher.
8/9s: Collboration & Learning from the Past
The upper grades experience is unique to Corlears. The 8s are welcomed to the group at the beginning of each year by the 9s, and the peer mentoring model continues. Social studies inquiries remain at the core of the program. Small classes ensure that deeper exploration and differentiation can continue even as the demands of the academics increases. Social studies themes explored by the 8/9s are the Eastern Woodlands and the people who inhabited the area - the Lenape Native Americans. They study Henry Hudson and the history of the Hudson River, late 19th and early 20th century immigration, and the history of New York City. Writing is done in half groups, which allows teachers to work more closely with each student in order to create individual goals to develop each student’s writing more fully. With the support of 1:1 Chromebooks, teachers can also work on the craft of writing along with mechanics and spelling. The added layer of word processing and an emphasis on revising and editing help children learn to integrate all of these aspects of writing to create a more comprehensive approach and understanding. The 8/9s year is also a rite of passage as each fall they embark on an outdoor overnight experience, to Clearpool, where science, nature and team-building programs are emphasized.
10s: Leadership, Service Learning & Preparing for the Next Steps
The 10s is the culminating experience at Corlears as the children prepare to move on to middle school. However, we also want them to enjoy an extremely memorable and robust year of learning and leadership. We know that our students enter the 5th grade ready to begin to process of moving on. They have developed into confident, kind, inquisitive and motivated students, ready to take the leap to middle school in whatever setting they choose. Our students have a huge role in the out-placement process, because they understand themselves as learners and leaders. They know how to utilize their strengths, and look to the transition with resilience and excitement.
The Humanities program for the 10s encompasses reading, writing, spelling and social studies. The high level of integration at this level provides academic rigor along with critical thinking and highly developed skills in collaboration and communication. The overarching Humanities focus goes further back in time to explore ancient Greece, the seeds of democracy, Greek mythology and the spread of Greek culture.
Grade level math instruction continues to utilize the math workshop model, but also cross references the content needed to prepare for the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) in the fall.
The 10s develop and hone their skills around organization, independence and collaboration. The many writing and research projects they engage in, along with the many hands-on art projects, expand their ability to actively apply acquired skills and demonstrate conceptual knowledge more readily. The 10s take on many leadership roles within the school community from classroom buddies and weekly assembly hosts, to their annual, class-generated service learning project. Each spring the 10s’ year culminates in an overnight trip to Ramapo. This trip is a celebration of their journey and their time together, focused on team-building and making lasting memories together. Graduates of Corlears are vibrant, intelligent and compassionate young critical thinkers. They are always poised and ready to take the next steps into middle school.
Our Faculty & Staff
Experts in Early Years Education
Without a doubt, the single most impactful part of Corlears is our teachers. They hold the highest degrees in childhood education, and through Corlears’ commitment to professional development and training, they have an exceptional level of expertise not typically found in most early years educational settings. They also love what they do, and it shows.
All Corlears faculty have a baseline in training that extends well beyond their graduate degrees. Within their first three years all teachers take part in core training related to the programs and approaches at their respective age levels, along with Responsive Classroom training and diversity training with Center for Racial Justice. Subjects where specific training is offered are related to mathematics (through Metamorphosis Learning and TERC), reading and writing through Teachers College Readers/Writers Workshop, early childhood themes like language development, emergent literacy, play and block building, through Bank Street College.
In addition to this baseline professional development, there are two in-service days per year, and many staff meeting times dedicated to teacher training and development in various areas. To support this work further, we have launched the Advanced Teacher Professional Development Program, which connects teachers who have been at Corlears for more than five years with resources to deepen their teaching craft in an area of their choice.
Leadership within the educational program is provided through the Assistant Head of School/Director of Teaching and Learning and the Dean of Students, as well as support from the Math Coach, Learning Specialist and Developmental Support Counselor.
We don’t just teach subjects, we teach students— students who come with different talents, interests, abilities and learning styles. In fact, all teachers of the 2s and 3/4s visit families at home to learn about children’s personal interests as they begin to build a bridge between home and school, then incorporate aspects of the children’s home-life they learn about on their visits into their studies and spaces. This extra effort is what makes learning more meaningful and effective. And is just one small part of what makes Corlears different from the rest.
As the children get older and develop emotionally and cognitively, working with the whole child and challenging them academically, socially, and emotionally, teachers partner with each other and families to help each child be their best. Collaboration across disciplines is also common as teachers design a specific curricula based upon the developmental stages of children as well as their particular needs.
Every teacher is an expert in their field, with a solid and well-rounded understanding of child development. They create and design classrooms where students are able to take risks and embark upon challenges that help them learn deeply, and make meaning beyond memorization. In addition, partnerships with families are forged through regular communication and sharing of the learning process. The Faculty is excited to collaborate with the Director of Equity, Inclusion and Community Life to further their growth in helping students explore issues of identity, diversity, social justice and equity to strengthen their community.
Community at Corlears
At Corlears- Community is everything. We maintain an intimate and close-knit setting because we believe the social emotional health and well-being of a community should mirror that in its students. Equity, inclusivity and compassion are core values of the school and its mission. Keeping this at the center of all of the work we do allows us to cultivate and nurture this community-minded approach across all facets of the school.
Corlears’ commitment to providing a meaningful and rigorous school experience includes a strong home-school partnership. Parents are a huge part of the school community and the potential to help our students thrive. Because we are a school-centered on very young children, it is essential that parents play a role. Each morning the building is buzzing with anticipation and excitement as families arrive and the day begins. The vibrant and diverse Parents Association helps to expand the school culture deeper into the parent community. Parents are also invited to be in the classrooms each morning, at Friday morning Assemblies each week, and for classroom celebrations, shares and culminations.
Opportunities for The Director of Equity, Inclusion and Community Life
As Corlears continues to deepen its work in the DEI arena, it is imperative that the Director of Equity, Inclusion and Community Life is at once a patient listener, a bridge builder and a persistent advocate for change.
Strategic Priorities for the Director of Equity, Inclusion and Community Life
Nurturing a culture/community-based dialogue, respect and trust: Earning the respect of the community as a “compass,” helping to build and bridge dialogue across generations of parents and staff.
Professional Development of Administration, Faculty/Staff & Board: The School aspires to engage deeply in DEI work and understands that meaningful professional development in these areas is critical to the growth of the school and the realization of its mission.
Parent Education: The Corlears Curriculum goes beyond what is taught to the children in the classroom; it extends, by necessity, to parents, who partner with The School’s educators to support the children’s learning at school and at home.
Meaningful engagement and partnership with the community: As a founding principle which encourages students to engage the world around them, partnership with its neighbors and community is essential. Corlears has natural partnership opportunities that are ripe for cultivation.
Essential Functions of the Director of Equity, Inclusion and Community Life
The Director will play an essential role of leadership within our school community, partnering with other leaders to support growth across the development of the curricular program, business operations and the community life of the school. The Director will report to the Head of School and will benefit from the collaboration and support of trustees, faculty, staff, school leadership and families. The Director will focus on the ongoing development of the identity and social justice curriculum, and the cultivation of a truly inclusive and equitable school for the children and families of Corlears, as well as a workplace that embraces inclusivity and provides an equitable and rewarding experience for every employee.
Participate in Administrative Leadership Team and meetings
Participate in administrative strategic planning and quarterly meetings
Review and collaborate to revise and implement best practices in hiring
Partner with hiring teams to recruit, welcome, and retain faculty and staff from a diversity of backgrounds and identities
Participate as a member of the Partnership for Equity and Inclusion board task force
Review and collaborate to revise and implement best practices in school admission and financial aid practices
Work with the admission office to recruit, welcome, and retain students and families from a diversity of backgrounds and identities
Collaborate with Dean of Students, faculty and Student Support Team to implement the most equitable approaches to supporting student needs
Collaborate with Head of School and Director of Human Resources to support the most equitable, inclusive and rewarding workplace environment
Serve on the school’s Institutional Advancement Team to provide partnership and support in guiding the school’s communication and advancement practices.
Partner with the administrative leadership team to develop and execute programs and events for students, families, faculty, staff, and alumni
Support curriculum development for social justice both taking the lead and in collaboration with Director of Teaching and Learning
Work with faculty to develop curriculum that explores issues of identity, social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion
Support classroom Social Justice Meetings as needed
Support and help lead 5th grade service learning project
Faculty and Staff Development
Partner with the Director of Teaching and Learning to support implementation of professional development in social justice, equity and inclusion, for faculty and staff.
Support affinity spaces for faculty and staff people of color
Support the Peer Mentor Program in partnership with faculty member and Director of Teaching and Learning
Provide counsel and support to faculty and staff in interpersonal issues of equity and inclusion
Support the long-term goal of developing affinity space for students
Serve as a resource to students in processing issues related to equity and inclusion
Collaborate with the Parents Association (PA) to support inclusive and equitable approach to PA operations
Partner with Director of Teaching and Learning to support Parents of Students of Color (POSOC) group
Partner with Director of Community Engagement and committee of parents to support the Community Forum
Partner with the Director of Teaching and Learning and the PA to develop and implement parent events, workshops and educational opportunities
Serve as a resource to parents in processing issues related to equity and inclusion
The Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Community Life must have successful experience in collaboratively developing curriculum and pedagogy in independent school settings. The Director will also need to be skilled in working with culturally diverse families and communities, or have otherwise demonstrated a commitment to strengthening engagement of a diverse community and skill in communicating with a diverse population. This person will work to build a sense of shared values and serve as an educational leader with the ability to plan, organize, and communicate about a broad range of projects and programs. Successful candidates will also demonstrate the following competencies:
Readiness to serve on the Leadership Team
Strategic thinking to steward collaborative work and progress
Leadership in a school setting
Experience as a teacher and teacher leader
Deep knowledge of early childhood education and development
Ability to facilitate dialogue about diversity, equity and social justice issues, including difficult topics and conversations
Knowledgeable in research and successful strategies around increasing equity, diversity and inclusion
Required BA and preferred Master’s degree in education
Experience in early childhood and/or elementary settings
Three or more years of experience in diversity, equity and inclusion leadership
Experience in independent school settings or demonstrated capacity to learn to lead in a new setting with a vibrant culture
Commitment to building a school culture rooted in diversity, equity and inclusion
Willingness and motivation to be involved in all aspects of the life of an independent school
Proven capacity to build rapport across diverse stakeholder groups
Training and experience in cross-cultural competence, including working with under- represented or historically marginalized groups
Project management skills in implementing complex programs, supervising personnel, and managing a budget
Ability to have consistent presence in community events
Availability to support unexpected community needs outside of regular school hours
Outstanding organizational, written and oral communication, interpersonal and listening skills
Strong work ethic and ability to handle sensitive information with discretion and tact
Natural sense of humor and ability to tackle issues with the assumption of goodwill.
Procedure to Apply
Interested candidates should submit the following materials confidentially as separate PDF attachments in one email:
Cover letter expressing interest in the Corlears School’s position
Statement of educational philosophy and practice
to attention David Egolf, Head of School by emailing Orpheus Crutchfield- email@example.com and Mary Rose Fernandez- firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “Corlears School: Director of Equity, Inclusion and Community Life,” with any inquiries.
Applications due: April 5th, 2019
Semifinalists interviews: Mid-April
Finalists interviews: Late April
Hiring announcement: Late April
Additional Salary Information: full benefits
StratéGenius is the longest-standing search firm focused on administrative and faculty candidates of color for NAIS schools. Our consultants have the deepest relationships with our member schools concerning issues of recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty and staff. We treat our candidates with the utmost respect and place a premium on relationships. StratéGenius has successfully guided thousands of careers for candidates of color and continues to set the pace in developing effective leadership of color, in particular. We focus on schools that have demonstrated seriousness and focus on issues of diversity, inclusion, multiculturalism and equity, visiting all of our members on a rotating-year basis. As a StratéGenius member school, you will get production through a valuing retention over simple recruitment; as an administrative of faculty candidate, you will get focused attention, access and you will never be "a number." We follow you through your career and keep your materials fresh to take advantage of opportunities as well as make sure you avoid pitfalls that hurt other candidates.