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20 Feb 2024

Operations / Administration Superintendent, Lawrence Public Schools

Alma Advisory Group
 Lawrence, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States

Job Description

About our District

Proudly nicknamed the “Immigrant City”, Lawrence, Massachusetts has been home to many immigrant communities for generations and is a city rich in diversity, history, and resilience. Lawrence Public Schools is committed to creating high-quality learning opportunities that meet the whole child’s development. The district strives to create an inclusive environment that encourages children of all abilities to be lifelong learners and to meet their full potential.  Latinos are now the largest ethnic group in Lawrence, accounting for 94.5% of the school district’s current population.  Lawrence serves approximately 13,000 PK-12 students, in its 5 early elementary schools, 8 elementary, 7 middle, 2 high schools, and 4 mixed grade band schools. In November 2011, the Lawrence Public Schools was placed into state receivership by the Massachusetts Board of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE) because of its chronic underperformance and is currently overseen by a seven-member appointed board called the Lawrence Alliance for Education (LAE).

About the Superintendent Role

Reporting to the seven-member appointed LAE board, the next superintendent of Lawrence Public Schools will enter the district at a critical time as the district strives to transition from receivership in collaboration with DESE and the City of Lawrence. The next leader will set the vision and innovative strategy to improve academic outcomes for the students of Lawrence, centering the input of students, families, and the community in the process. The superintendent should possess the cultural competence to embrace and leverage the unique strengths of the community while maintaining a keen focus on accelerating learning and raising expectations for all students. This person must be willing to meet parents where they are, to collaborate with city and state leaders and community partners, and to prioritize student-centered decision-making at all levels of the organization.

What You’ll Do (Responsibilities)

  • Develop the vision and implement the strategy to improve student outcomes at every level 
    • Guide and lead the transition planning and strategic planning process to establish the future of the district.
    • Establish a vision for academic and instructional excellence, centering on what matters most to students and families. Model deep knowledge of curriculum and evidence-based pedagogy
    • Model innovation, creativity, and thought leadership that is inclusive, transparent, and empowering in a manner that upholds the district’s vision and drives its mission.
    • Strengthen systems and structures that support multilingual learners and students with diverse learning needs.
    • Augment innovative and culturally and linguistically responsive instructional models and structures based on research and best practices.
    • Use and analyze school and district data to drive decisions and guide problem-solving to achieve the best student outcomes.
  • Organize and support a diverse and high-performing workforce
    • Recruit, retain, develop, and inspire highly effective staff at every layer of the organization, focusing on competitive compensation and well-being for all employees.
    • Create conditions where staff feel supported and valued so that they can do their best work for students.
    • Provide professional development and professional growth opportunities to improve retention and ensure an effective pipeline to leadership.
    • Actively coach and develop direct reports to be effective in their roles and in the management of their teams and functional areas.
    • Create new partnerships to attract, develop, and promote multilingual staff members who are reflective of the student population.
    • Strengthen and maintain strong partnerships with the unions.
  • Maintain visibility and communication between the district, schools, and families in a collaborative way
    • Be visible and present in the schools and in the community in meaningful ways.
    • Establish two-way communication between the district office, schools, and families to allow for input and inclusion in important decisions.
    • Collaborate meaningfully within the city to inform, problem-solve, establish partnerships, and share ownership of the district.
    • Leverage and align the numerous community partnerships and resources in support of students’ and families’ needs both during school and after school.
  • Ensure that district systems and structures are accountable to and in support of students and schools
    • Organize the district’s departments and staff to ensure optimal support and service for each school, removing barriers and bureaucratic practices that impede progress.
    • Build on the district track record of whole student support and maintain a holistic focus on social-emotional learning support and safety for students.
    • Establish performance management processes for evaluating the effectiveness of programs, and ensuring quality controls and operational efficiency in the district support and school level implementation.
    • Manage and streamline the day-to-day operations of the district.
    • Ensure the safety and security of all schools, providing the necessary support to keep students and staff safe at all times.
  • Steward and manage the financial and operational resources of the district
    • Maximize the funding available to the district, effectively and efficiently, including Student Opportunity Act funding to allow for effective programming, operations, and staffing.
    • Develop long-range plans, aligned with the goals, vision, and priorities of the district and ensure that departments are held accountable for meeting targets.
    • Ensure equitable distribution of resources, prioritizing the highest needs schools and students.
  • Partner effectively with the state and city-appointed and elected officials
    • Communicate and collaborate with all members of the LAE, City Council, and state delegation, advising on initiatives and issues in the district.
    • Foster an open relationship and clear vision for the elected and appointed officials’ role in supporting and advocating for the district.

What Skills You Need to Be Successful (Competencies)

  • Effective relationship builder and two-way communicator 
    • Serve as the #1 advocate for LPS students, building effective relationships with city leaders and parents.
    • Promote the district’s success and transparently communicate shortcomings in order to inspire and motivate others to support the strategic direction of the district.
    • Challenge assumptions and preconceived notions when needed to avoid distraction from core priorities and goals in the better interest of student success.
    • Build trust among the elected and appointed leaders, district staff, teachers, school leaders, and critical stakeholders to establish a shared vision for the district.
    • Communicate effectively, tailoring messages for the audience, context, and mode of communication.
    • Navigate politically complex structures, relationships, and dynamics to challenge ideas and enable thoughtful decisions and positive outcomes for students.
  • Track record of success in school improvement and turnaround 
    • Demonstrate belief and hold self and others accountable for reaching high academic outcomes for all students.
    • Deeply understand and implement promising, innovative, and effective instructional practices, and models for school turnaround and improvement.
    • Identify effective instructional practices and improvement strategies to build the capacity of teachers and school leaders.
  • Cultural competence and fluency
    • Demonstrate cultural fluency, sensitivity, and a strong equity lens to establish a culture of growth mindset and to meet the needs of students and families.
    • Listen compassionately with an open mind – seeking to fully understand what makes LPS unique before establishing the direction forward.
    • Ability to address inequities with urgency in order to improve the lives of students in LPS.
  • Strategic and student-centered leadership and vision
    • Solve problems strategically while weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each approach with a systems level and equity lens.
    • Initiate innovative solutions to seemingly intractable problems and exercise judgment in making critical decisions and communicate the implications to diverse audiences.
    • Set priorities to maintain a high-quality instructional program within the district’s financial means.
    • Exhibit a strong focus on goals, accountability, and results; set clear metrics for success.
    • Monitor progress and demonstrate persistence to overcome obstacles to achieve goals.
  • Team leadership and management
    • Balance the tension between school autonomy and decision-making, empowered school leaders, and the need for coherence and equity across all schools.
    • Build, inspire, manage, and coach an effective district team to achieve ambitious goals aligned with the vision and strategy for the district.
    • Assess team and individual skills, identify development needs, and hold self and others accountable for high standards of performance in order to improve practice, build capacity, and maximize talent.
    • Lead teams to collaborate with one another, other departments, schools, and stakeholders including parents and families.

Minimum Qualifications

  • At least ten years of senior education leadership experience with progressive levels of responsibility and evidence of success.
  • Demonstrated track record of school turnaround success and data-driven decision making ideally in a diverse public school district setting.
  • Successful experience working in diverse economic, multicultural, and multilingual communities and environments.
  • Proven cultural competence skills with a history of inclusive and relevant equity practices.
  • Knowledgeable about the Lawrence community and/or committed to becoming an engaged and longstanding member of the community.
  • A growth mindset and belief that continuous improvement happens through purposeful, relevant, differentiated learning experiences that set all students up for success.
  • Experience and successful track record of collaboration with labor unions and collective bargaining units.
  • Experience working in conjunction with an appointed board, elected school board, or school committee to identify priorities, establish goals, monitor progress, and produce outcomes in service to stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated experience building consensus and trust within an organization.
  • Exceptional written, oral, and visual communication skills. Bilingual (Spanish/English) preferred.
  • Meets eligibility criteria for a Superintendent’s license in the State of Massachusetts.


Salary for this integral leadership position is commensurate with prior experience. In addition, a comprehensive benefits package will be included in the ultimate offer for the identified sole finalist.  We look forward to discussing details with you as the interview process progresses.


How to Apply

How to Apply We know that historically marginalized groups - including people of color, women, people from working class backgrounds, and people who identify as LGBTQ – are less likely to apply unless and until they meet every requirement for a position. We encourage applications from candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences who may not have deep experience in all responsibilities listed above.  Alma Advisory Group is honored to support the Lawrence Public Schools on this search. Qualified candidates for the role of Superintendent should submit a letter of interest tailored to this opportunity and a resume that demonstrates the qualifications mentioned above at:

Bureaus: New York. Job Categories: Full-Time. Job Types: Operations / Administration. Salaries: 100,000 and above.