The Archer School for Girls challenges and inspires girls in grades 6-12 to discover their passions and realize their true potential. Nationally recognized for its innovative school culture, Archer’s program is collaborative, real-world focused, and research-based. Faculty are highly skilled in using brain-based practices to teach girls effectively. Collaboration, student leadership, intellectual curiosity, cultural engagement, and joyful learning are core elements of the program. The School maintains a deep and abiding commitment to diversity and inclusion and aims to reflect the face of greater Los Angeles. With regard to facilities, the School has just completed the Diana Meehan Center, a state of the art teaching and learning building.
Archer is seeking a dynamic Upper School Director who will lead a skillful faculty in furthering Archer’s model of innovative teaching and curriculum, support students who are accustomed to exercising leadership, and collaborate closely with faculty and administration. Candidates will find a highly engaged group of teachers, students, and parents who are passionate about Archer’s mission and eager to work with the next Upper School Director to take the Upper School to the next level of programmatic innovation.
Archer was founded in 1995 by three women, Megan Callaway, Victoria Shorr, and Dr. Diana Meehan, all graduates of girls’ schools and all parents of daughters who were about to enter middle school. Informed by current research on the clear benefits of single-sex education for girls and guided by their founding principles of innovation, community, and diversity, Archer originally opened in a converted Pacific Palisades dance studio with just over 30 6th and 7th grade students.
Nearly 25 years later, Archer is a school of just under 500 students on a seven-acre campus and internationally recognized as a leader in research-based education whose mission is aimed at the empowerment of girls and young women.
Fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the California Association of Independent Schools, Archer holds memberships in the National Association of Independent Schools, the Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs, and A Better Chance.
The Campus and Location
Archer is situated on a picturesque, seven-acre campus in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Built in 1931 by famed California architect William R. Mooser, the 95,000 square-foot main building, built in the Spanish Colonial Style, is a historic landmark. The building contains courtyards, intricate tile work, frescoed ceilings, fireplaces, and charming spaces for small group meetings or for students to relax with friends. Facilities include the Saban IDEAlab for Integrated Design and Engineering Arts, modern science labs, a MediaSpace for digital arts, and the brand new Diana Meehan Center.
The Archer School for Girls empowers young women to discover their passions and realize their true potential in an environment that is both ambitious and joyful.
We sustain a collaborative, student-centered teaching and learning community that explores and contributes to the research on how girls learn and thrive.
We engage girls in a purposeful, inquiry-driven curriculum that fosters critical thinking and life-long intellectual curiosity.
We inspire girls to become confident, ethical leaders, strengthening their voices and capacity to contribute positively to their communities.
We promote challenge-seeking, encourage creative risk-taking, and embrace each girl’s unique possibility.
We support girls to develop meaningful relationships in a diverse and inclusive community rooted in empathy, integrity, and responsibility.
We graduate courageous, resilient young women who take responsibility for their own physical, financial, and emotional well-being.
The Upper School
Archer’s dedicated and skilled faculty are at the center of Archer’s culture. While they are masters of their content, more importantly they are masters of their craft.
Archer faculty draw from the professional knowledge base to develop high-quality instruction, resulting in excellent learning outcomes. Teachers employ a range of tools and strategies to gather data, design meaningful learning experiences, enhance clarity, and check for understanding. They make thinking and learning visible, so every student is challenged to stretch toward her potential. Rather than just covering content, research-based lessons focus on developing transferable skills and concepts to build enduring understanding.
Archer’s approach to the teaching of science, technology, and math is an example of the School’s experiential approach and commitment to student engagement. Head of School, Elizabeth English, notes, “Archer is proud to stand at the forefront of advancing girls in STEM and to be working toward a future where women are not only contributors to STEM solutions but leaders in the field.” To this end, Archer’s program challenges students to explore real-world problems involving advanced laboratory techniques, scientific data analysis, and deep conceptual investigation. Graduates are prepared to question, test, and analyze a problem in order to build creative solutions and critically assess the credibility of others’ findings.
Beyond the core curriculum, Archer’s Upper School faculty collaborate on a variety of signature programs designed for students to apply and expand their knowledge and skills outside the classroom. These programs include The Institute for Film & Video Literacy, "Literature &" Conference, and STEM at Archer, The Eastern Star Gallery, NOLS. Archer students and faculty also have access to the Saban IDEAlab, a design and prototyping space that facilitates the integration of engineering and design across disciplines, and the MediaSpace that features the latest in sound and digital technology to support girls’ engagement in media and film production.
An overarching goal of the Upper School program is for students to hone strong critical thinking skills and foster an appreciation for the value of an intellectual life. The program empowers students to make sound and reasoned decisions in their academic, professional, and personal lives. Therefore, the schedule is designed to give girls the time to process and reflect, develop strong social connections, and discover passions outside the academic realm. While Archer students are encouraged to push themselves to high levels of scholarship, it is never at the expense of their happiness and well-being.
In conjunction with the Middle School Director, the Upper School Director oversees approximately 70 teachers, most of whom have advanced degrees and all of whom are committed to excellence in teaching and learning. Beyond competitive pay and benefits, faculty enjoy working in a collegial, highly professional and joyful learning community. They build strong, positive relationships with students rooted in respect for girls’ intellectual and emotional development. As lead learners, Archer teachers strive to meet the needs of all learners in their classroom, and they relish feedback to improve their practice. Students and parents laud the faculty for their high degree of skill, care for their students, and abundant passion for the subjects they teach.
Archer is a school in high demand, with five applications for every space. The School’s current enrollment is 495. Archer prides itself on its commitment to diversity and inclusivity with 41% students of color and girls who come from 79 different zip codes and 141 different feeder schools. Archer awards $4M in financial aid and nearly one-quarter of Archer families participate in the flexible tuition program.
Archer girls are described as...
Students genuinely appreciate their teachers and the power of their skillful teaching. In fact, Archer girls routinely thank their teachers at the end of each class and openly express their love for their School. Visitors to campus consistently remark on the positive culture, friendliness, and high degree of engagement among the student body. Archer girls stand out for their confidence, poise, and keen ability to articulate their ideas. The students are eager to connect with and learn from the new Upper School Director.
Upper School Leadership Team
Archer’s distributed model of leadership requires a leader with strong communication and engagement skills and a belief in the value of seeking different perspectives. The Upper School Director works closely with the Associate Head of School, Middle School Director, Department Chairs, Dean of Students, and the Head of School to advance the School’s mission. Together, they share a deep commitment to girls’ education and reflect the School’s commitment to the values expressed in its mission and honor code: empathy, integrity, and responsibility.
The Head of School works closely with a collaborative Senior Administrative team. The next Upper School Director will join this experienced and dedicated group of administrators to lead and advance the School.
Challenges and Opportunities
Committed to ongoing reflection and excellence in teaching and learning, the faculty seeks an instructional leader who can hold forth a vision and support their highly skilled and collegial culture. The School is committed to using research-based teaching practices to guide curriculum design and pedagogy. The next Upper School Director will use this framework to maintain high engagement in the classroom, while supporting teachers in implementing a future-facing curriculum with clear and relevant outcomes. The integration of technology is well-established and the purposeful use of digital tools is central to Archer’s program.
A hallmark of the culture is that professional development is well-resourced, ongoing, and often led by members of Archer’s own staff. Archer bases its faculty supervision and support on the principles of the growth mindset; therefore, adult professional development and support will be a key responsibility of the next Upper School Director. The School is currently refining its faculty supervision and evaluation model to better reflect the changing landscape of 21st-century teaching and learning.
With regard to diversity and inclusion, Archer is committed to fostering a healthy, inclusive community where all students have equal access to opportunity and can thrive academically and socially. The next Upper School Director will work with the DEI Leadership Team as well as other school leaders in developing cross-cultural empathy and understanding, which Archer sees as vital to helping all students succeed.
Professional Qualities Sought
The Search Committee and Head of School are seeking candidates who can embrace, articulate, and promote Archer’s mission to graduate courageous, committed, and ethical young women who take responsibility for their own physical, financial, and emotional well-being. In addition to excellent communication and organizational skills, successful candidates will have many, if not all, of the following strengths:
Ability to synthesize and communicate the Upper School’s educational mission while inspiring and motivating teachers, students, and parents to help further that vision
Understanding of and appreciation for girls’ intellectual, social, and emotional development
Commitment to educating girls according to the research on how they learn and thrive
Strong writing, public speaking, and presenting skills
Experience in teacher development, supervision, and curriculum design
Skill and experience in innovative, research-based pedagogy
Strong time management with the ability to prioritize and delegate appropriately
Desire to work closely with faculty/staff to support and facilitate their collaboration and collegiality
Passion for engaging with and supporting students in their initiatives and leadership development
Confidence, empathy, and partnership in working with parents
A commitment to inclusivity and cultural engagement, with an awareness of the opportunities and challenges that being a part of a diverse learning community presents
Ability to plan logistics and organize Upper School operations
Initiative and follow through
A growth mindset with regard to teacher development and the importance of reflective, innovative practice
Desire and skill in holding individuals accountable, including having difficult conversations and managing conflict effectively
The ability to hold high standards, while actively supporting teachers and students in reaching them
An advanced degree in education
Personal Qualities Sought
The ideal candidate:
is a lifelong learner, who eagerly seeks out and implements feedback
is an authentic, reflective, and approachable leader
sees change as opportunity and enjoys the process of creative problem solving
can balance the big picture goals with the details of logistics and operations
enjoys collaboration and seeking out the views of others, yet is decisive when needed
possesses a healthy sense of humor
exhibits patience and empathy
is excited to serve a feminist mission and has a true appreciation for the potential of Archer’s future female leaders
embodies an optimistic outlook and relishes the opportunity to lead the Upper School community through this next dynamic phase of its growth
Search Process and Calendar
The Archer School for Girls is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer and seeks a diverse and broad spectrum of qualified candidates.
a cover letter explaining the reasons for their interest and their qualifications for Upper School Directorship of the Archer School for Girls
a current resume
a statement of educational and leadership philosophy
the names, email addresses, and telephone numbers of five professional references
Deadline to submit application: Thursday, November 21, 2019
Semifinalist notification: By Friday, December 6, 2019
Semifinalist interviews: Weeks of December 9 and 16, 2019
Finalist interviews: Week of January 7, 2020
Additional Salary Information: Based on experience
About The Archer School for Girls
The Archer School for Girls, located in West Los Angeles, CA (Brentwood) is an independent school that provides a highly collaborative, creative, and intellectual college preparatory program for girls in grades 6-12. The School’s founders established Archer based on a compelling vision to create an educational environment that explores and refines the ways girls learn best. Archer serves as a national model for modern single-sex education.