Named in honor of Louise Thaden, a pioneering aviator who was born and raised in Bentonville, Thaden School opened in the fall of 2017 with just 50 students in grades 7 and 9. The school has grown rapidly on the strength of a well-resourced tuition assistance program and a faculty recruited from all parts of the United States; enrollment in the fall of 2020 is expected to exceed 250 students in grades 6 through 12. Designed by a world-class architectural team, Thaden School’s 30-acre campus in downtown Bentonville will ultimately accommodate as many as 550 students across its middle and upper school divisions. To support this robust growth, the school now seeks a Director of Human Resources (DHR).
Role and Responsibilities of the Director of Human Resources (DHR)
Reporting to the Director of Finance and Operations (DFO) and working in collaboration with divisions and departments school-wide, the DHR leads the design, development and implementation of the school’s human resource systems, which includes strategic planning, policies and procedure development, and data analysis as well as programs covering employment, compensation, benefits, performance management, employee relations, recruiting and retention, managerial training, and compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws.
The specific responsibilities of the DHR include:
Supporting administrators and other supervisors in managing employee relations matters; consulting with legal counsel as appropriate; and coordinating and administering severance agreements
Supporting hiring managers in recruitment, development, and revision of job descriptions and job posting documents; posting job openings in appropriate venues; assuring proper archiving of application documents; maintaining updated digital applications; networking with non-dominant culture organizations to develop and maintain a pipeline of candidates
Staying abreast of policy developments, national, state and local labor law, and best practices in independent schools; recommending new and updated HR policies to the DFO; maintaining and updating Employee Handbook on an annual basis in collaboration with legal counsel
Collaborating on the design of and administration of the school’s performance management program; and training staff in coaching and feedback techniques and in conducting formal performance appraisals; advising managers on hiring, disciplinary, and termination procedures
Advising on and developing training, mentoring, and other developmental opportunities for employees based on school mission and needs
Analyzing local, regional, and national salary and benefit surveys and data (on a position basis and overall); developing and recommending strategies for attaining the school’s compensation philosophy
Administering salary and benefit programs; issuing letters of employment and compensation adjustment letters to new and returning employees
Developing and/or conducting recruiting and comprehensive on-boarding efforts for all employees, including seasonal, temporary, and interns; working with division and department heads to identify appropriate recruiting strategies
Strategizing, planning, presenting, and implementing benefit programs, including but not limited to health medical, dental, and life insurance; disability and workers’ compensation; 403(b) and retirement plans
Managing benefit programs administration, beginning with the introduction of benefit plans during open enrollment, as well as new hire enrollment and conduct employee change actions and documentation to enter participant enrollment and changes
Ensuring compliance with local, federal and state laws and regulations impacting compensation and benefit administration, including but not limited to ERISA, ADA, COBRA, FMLA and IRS reporting requirements; completing or contracting for annual IRS 5500 reporting
Using the payroll system to create benefit deduction reports and track monthly, year-to date expenses; creating payroll/HRIS system reports; working with the payroll staff to ensure accurate and timely benefit tracking
Overseeing distribution of employee benefits summaries and other communications and maintaining benefit information and forms on intranet and/or the benefits website
Conducting review of benefit enrollment and expenses to prepare for the annual renewal process; seeking comparative data from benefits broker or other benefit or Human Resources sources
Coordinating and conducting exit interviews to determine reasons behind separation
Consulting with legal counsel regarding personnel matters as appropriate and as directed by the DFO
Participating on committees, planning groups, and supporting special projects as requested by the DFO and the Head of School
Other duties as assigned
Skills and Attributes
The successful candidate will be a highly competent, detail-oriented, and strategic professional who understands and embraces the school’s mission and who successfully partners with the school’s leadership in providing human resource management as well as the strategic financial visioning. In particular, the successful candidate will possess the following:
Strong leadership, management, and interpersonal skills to support the stewardship of a strong, forward-looking school
Highly effective hands-on human resource management skills coupled with an ability to set priorities and implement decisions in a timely fashion
Ability to work collaboratively within a diverse school community to advance the school’s mission and stability
Sound business judgment as well as effective strategic, analytical, and problem-solving skills;
Strong verbal and written communication skills
Understanding of the strategic decisions that are encountered in a not-for-profit, mission- driven institution
Ability to envision, articulate, advance, and implement effective approaches to balancing competing financial needs within the institution
Ability to interpret and implement procedures and regulations
Ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing
Ability to solve problems, effectively and efficiently in a service-oriented manner
Ability to articulate ideas clearly, both orally and in writing
Demonstrated skill in using Excel, Word, Access, PowerPoint, email, and software required for all benefits management
Candidates must hold an MBA or a bachelor’s degree in human resource management or a related field as well as five to seven years of experience leading a human resource function. They must also have significant leadership and management experience, preferably in challenging, fast-paced work environments that require versatility and resourcefulness. Experience building administrative systems and campus infrastructure is also preferred. Independent school experience is not required, but candidates should be prepared to speak about their commitment to and excitement for the mission of the school.
Please submit your application materials through our online portal for Thaden School Job Opportunities. Applications should include a cover letter and resume. The start date is negotiable but must be no later than August 1, 2020. Thaden is an equal opportunity employer and complies with all federal, state, and local laws that prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, color, national origin, citizenship, age (18 or older), religion, disability, marital status, veteran status, and sexual orientation.
Salary will be competitive within the independent school sector.
About Thaden School
A non-sectarian independent school under the direction of its own board, Thaden School offers a challenging and innovative educational program that ignites in students a passion for discovery and learning, prepares them to succeed in college, and inspires them to lead lives of integrity, purpose, and responsible global citizenship.
At the core of the school’s mission is a commitment to balance that takes many forms: a curriculum that integrates the sciences and the humanities; indoor and outdoor teaching spaces where sustainability is a tangible part of the lesson; hands-on programs for civic engagement; athletics and physical education programs that build confidence and character through competition and meaningful participation; and a diverse faculty and staff that empower students to think deeply and expansively about their potential and place in the world. The school’s remarkably robust indexed tuition program supports the creation of a balanced learning community where students of many perspectives, talents, and interests come learn and grow stronger together.
Located on a 30-acre campus in downtown Bentonville, the school is walking distance from the town square, Bright...water Culinary Institute, The Momentary (Crystal Bridges’ center for contemporary arts), and a variety of other educational resources. The school has also engaged a world-class team of architects to design an enduring and innovative campus that will spark curiosity, inspire creativity, and invite reflection. The principal designer, Marlon Blackwell, is the 2020 recipient of the American Institute of Architect’s Gold Medal, the Institute’s highest honor. The
school’s first permanent buildings opened last fall, and the campus master plan will be completed in the fall of 2021.
With more than 500,000 residents, the region combines a thriving economy with the natural beauty of the Ozarks and a rich variety of cultural and recreational amenities such as the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Razorback Regional Greenway, the Scott Family Amazeum, and the Bentonville Film Festival. Northwest Arkansas is also home to the world headquarters of three Fortune 500 companies (Walmart, Tyson Foods, and J.B. Hunt) as well as the University of Arkansas. For more information about the region and its national rankings, see Finding NWA and
the website for the Northwest Arkansas Council. The school’s website features videos and additional
information regarding its educational programs, faculty and leadership.