Principal or Vice Principal School Leader/Principal
Opportunity America is seeking an experienced educator to launch a new career-focused charter school in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The position is a unique and exciting opportunity for the right candidate to build a school from the ground up. Applicants should have knowledge and experience in the field of career education and a proven track record in meeting if not exceeding academic benchmarks.
The organization and the school
Opportunity America is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit promoting economic mobility – work, skills, careers, ownership and entrepreneurship for poor and working Americans. The organization’s principal activities are research, policy development and working to build consensus around policy proposals. Our primary area of interest is career education, secondary and postsecondary, and we have done extensive research on career-focused charter schools.
Once one of the most disparaged forms of education in the US, what used to be called vocational education, now renamed and reimagined as career and technical education, has emerged in the past decade as one of the most promising approaches to equipping students for the future. Many charter educators, traditionally focused on preparing disadvantaged students for a conventional academic path, have been slow to see the advantages of career education. But Opportunity America believes the flexibility of the charter model offers an ideal platform to launch a break-the-mold career-focused school.
Our ambitious goal: reinventing high school to produce not just students who are technically proficient and college- and career-ready, but the kind of employees employers in every industry say they want – flexible, adaptive, autonomous problem solvers who can change with the company as the economy changes, making the most of new technology and new ways of organizing the workplace. We aim to launch a school that will become a national model – proof of concept that can be replicated by educators and employers nationwide.
A vibrant, innovative city with a robust economy, Indianapolis is among the American jurisdictions most hospitable to charter startups. Several employers in the area have expressed interest in partnering with Opportunity America to launch a career-focused high school, and we anticipate a planning process in which school leader and employer sponsors work together closely over an extended period to develop curriculum, redesign the school day, plan a continuum of work-based learning and more. We are committed to the principle of diversity by design – a school that is racially, culturally and socioeconomically integrated.
Our promise to students: a rigorous STEM-focused academic course of study, state-of-the-art technical instruction, an intentional and robust focus on employability skills, an innovative and engaging day-to-day school experience, a series of opportunities for work-based learning – including in later grades, full-fledged internships for all students – a high school diploma, one or more industry-recognized credentials and some college exposure, including the opportunity to earn an associate degree.
We are conducting a national search for a proven educator with substantial experience in a career-focused school and a proven track record for student achievement.
Essential attributes include a commitment to academic excellence, keen entrepreneurialism and determination to build a school that works for Indianapolis, meeting the needs of an Indianapolis neighborhood, Indianapolis employers and a broad range of Indianapolis students. The right candidate will be a proven innovator and self-starter eager to take on an array of tasks and responsibilities.
We anticipate a two-year planning and charter-application process. During this start-up phase, the school leader will be responsible for addressing a variety of academic and nonacademic challenges, including:
▪ Exploring the city of Indianapolis’ unique opportunities and barriers to establishing a first-class career-focused charter
▪ Developing a deep understanding of Indiana policies and regulations that pertain to secondary and postsecondary education
▪ Solidifying relationships with the school’s founding employer partners, establishing relationships with additional employer partners
▪ Establishing relationships with local community groups and institutions, building community support
▪ Establishing relationships with state and local education officials
▪ Establishing relationships with local colleges and universities
▪ Working with the school’s employer partners to plan a curriculum that embraces strong academics, work-based learning and industry-recognized skills certification
▪ Working with Opportunity America to establish an Indiana 501(c)(3) and build a board
▪ Working with Opportunity America to find and secure a suitable location for the school
▪ Applying for a charter with the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office of Education Engagement, overseeing the preparation of materials to be submitted, including a letter of intent, prospectus, full application and budget template
▪ Working with Opportunity America to secure funding, including state, local and federal support, as well as philanthropic grants
▪ Other duties as assigned
The chosen candidate will support Opportunity America as it applies for an Innovation School Fellowship with the Indianapolis nonprofit, The Mind Trust. Should our proposal be selected, the fellowship will provide for leadership development, executive coaching, assistance with essential tactical steps required to design and launch the school and an opportunity to learn from a cohort of exceptional fellows also working to build innovative charter schools.
Once a charter has been approved, the school leader will be responsible for:
▪ Cementing relationships with participating K-12, nonprofit, industry and college partners
▪ Finalizing curriculum that embraces strong academics, work-based learning and industry-recognized skills certification
▪ Recruiting students
▪ Recruiting passionate, effective teachers and school administrators
▪ Establishing goals and metrics for the school, including test scores, graduation rates, credentialing, internships, college and career placement and degree attainment
▪ Working with school staff to develop and implement strategies to achieve the school’s academic and career education goals
▪ Developing and implementing an annual budget, marshaling general fund, Perkins and capital funds to support school goals
▪ Identifying and pursuing opportunities to make use of external resources, optimizing the allocation of staff and resources
▪ Other duties as assigned
▪ Bachelor’s degree required, master’s degree preferred
▪ Minimum of three years of high school leadership experience as a principal or in another leadership role, preferably in a career education/early college setting
▪ Proven results that indicate student growth and achievement as measured by traditional academic metrics and career-education outcomes
▪ Evidence that the candidate has built and managed systems for observation and feedback of teachers and strong professional development of teachers
▪ An innovating, entrepreneurial personality
▪ A dedication to equity, diversity and inclusion as it relates to students, teachers, communities and governance
▪ An Indianapolis resident or someone willing to relocate to Indianapolis and make a long-term commitment to the city
Two-year fellowship for planning and school start-up includes competitive six-figure salary and benefits.