HEAD OF SCHOOL
PARDES JEWISH DAY SCHOOL
Founded in 1993, Pardes Jewish Day School is a vibrant and growing Jewish community day school serving approximately 300 students in kindergarten through 8th grade. Pardes is dedicated to developing students who are socially and academically prepared to meet their full potential as engaged leaders committed to finding meaningful ways to bring Judaism into contemporary life.
Pardes Jewish Day School seeks a Head of School to begin in the summer of 2023. This is an exceptional opportunity to lead and inspire an institution that is a cornerstone of the larger Scottsdale/Phoenix Jewish community and that has an unmatched commitment to 21st century learning, Israel, and Jewish continuity. The Head of School will be positioned to advance the school by setting the course for growth and achievement within an expanding Jewish community and with the collaboration of a strong senior administration already in place.
In its nearly 30 years, Pardes has become a crucial institution in the Scottsdale/Phoenix community, serving as a center for learning for young families, a gateway to Judaism, and a key contributor to the renaissance and strength of Jewish life in the area. From its youngest five-year-olds to the school’s hundreds of alumni, Pardes Jewish Day School is eager to partner with its next Head of School to build on its mission of engaging, educating, and inspiring the next generation of Jewish leaders, thinkers, and citizens.
PARDES JEWISH DAY SCHOOL IN BRIEF
Pardes Jewish Day School prepares students to become outstanding members of society through a rigorous secular and Judaic education, a nurturing community, and a foundation in Reform Judaism that welcomes all Jewish traditions.
Pardes strives to live by the following Core Values:
Avodat Halev- Service of the Heart
Pardes helps students discover their own spirituality and relationship with G-d through ritual and prayer.
Pardes strengthens each student’s bond with the Jewish people and their ability to study Jewish texts by learning the Hebrew language.
Pardes respects the different ways Jews engage in their relationship with G-d and Jewish traditions. The Pardes community practices respectful communication and interaction between students, parents, teachers, and staff.
L’dor V’dor- From Generation to Generation
Pardes recognizes the generational aspect of Jewish life. The community takes pride in understanding its heritage and rejoicing in its collective obligation to pass that knowledge on to students, continuing the chain of tradition.
Talmud Torah- Study of Torah
Pardes students study Torah as an inspiring resource for strong values, moral commitment, and ways of experiencing the world, leading to positive actions, and living a meaningful life. Pardes strives to meet the academic needs of every student through a variety of innovative programming and the option of pluralistic or traditional Jewish Studies courses.
At a Glance (2021):
Enrollment, all grades: 295
Lower School (grades 1–4): 169
Middle School (grades 5–8): 126
Total number of employees: 46
Full-time faculty: 39
Senior Administration: 5
Student/Teacher Ratio: 5:1
Operating budget: $5.6 million
Annual giving funds raised last year: $348,000
Board of Directors: 16
ELEMENTS OF THE SCHOOL PROGRAM
Since its founding, Pardes Jewish Day School has combined an innovative and challenging academic environment with the values of Jewish life, within a warm, nurturing, and close-knit community. The school’s compelling approach focuses on each student’s unique strengths and interests, allowing students to thrive in a thoughtful, dynamic learning environment and experience joy in learning.
At the heart of Pardes’ mission is the necessity to provide a dynamic education that is relevant for today’s learners in anticipation of tomorrow’s realities. To that end, Pardes launched the Innovation Initiative in 2019, which aims to reshape the education experience offered to families by providing a systematic approach to integrating Judaics and innovative thinking into every aspect of the Pardes experience.
As a result of the Innovation Initiative, Pardes has trained 95% of its faculty in Project Based Learning through the Buck Institute/PBLWorks and each grade level has successfully implemented at least one quality Project Based Learning opportunity into their curriculum. In addition, Pardes has been able to install new, cutting-edge Smart Boards in each classroom and provide faculty with iPads to further improve the use of technology and enhance teaching and student engagement.
Pardes cares deeply about the health and well-being of its student body. The faculty and administration go out of their way to support students physical, mental, social, and emotional health in an effort to ensure that every child at Pardes is able to thrive. Pardes embraces the Responsive Classroom model, which emphasizes the integration of academics with critical social-emotional skills. Responsive Classroom is fully integrated into the Pardes curriculum and is prevalent in every student’s day. Teachers reinforce critical skills such as communication, collaboration, and flexibility in every classroom and students develop critical skills for working together, expressing emotion, navigating conflict, and problem solving.
Faculty, Staff, and Administration
The academic program is anchored by an excellent and dedicated faculty that have proven mastery of teaching, a love for students, and a creative approach that inspires critical thinking, communication, and creativity at all grade levels. Ongoing professional development is a school priority. Faculty members are encouraged to continuously participate in professional development opportunities across the country, bringing back cutting-edge practices and incorporating them into the classroom.
While the Head of School search is being conducted, the school is being led by Jill Kessler (former Pardes Head of School for 14 years) and Geoff Campbell (former head of school at prestigious independent schools) in an Interim Co-Head of School structure. They are being supported by an excellent senior leadership team, including Rabbi Billy Lewkowicz (Director of Jewish Life and Learning), Anna Lock (Academic Principal), Lauren Kreisberger (Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management), Bethany Spector (Director of Strategic Communications), and Emily Levkowitz (Director of School Advancement).
Campus and Facilities
Pardes Jewish Day School relocated to the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus in 2014. Pardes quickly expanded the campus as a result of a successful and generous community capital campaign that raised over three million dollars. Today, the campus is replete with updated classrooms, a new middle school building, a state-of-the-art Makerspace, a Beit Knesset (sanctuary), ample outdoor learning spaces, and a brand-new playground. Pardes classrooms provide endless opportunities for inquiry-based 21st-century learning, and the blend of a warm and inviting environment that maximizes student collaboration, promotes creativity and authentic research while integrating existing and emerging technology in a connected and seamless way.
The campus is equipped with a beautiful and welcoming outdoor learning-scape where students enjoy opportunities for both play and project-based learning. The learning-scape includes tranquil spaces in addition to an amphitheater, sport court, play structure, and more.
Pardes’ location provides convenient access to the Jewish Community Center, where students can enjoy the indoor basketball courts during PE and a myriad of after-school enrichment programs.
Pardes has managed its financial resources conservatively and is in a strong financial position. Pardes recently established an endowment and intends to grow the endowment to further strengthen the school’s finances.
Pardes works hard to ensure that attending the school is both affordable and accessible. The key to this amazing opportunity is the Arizona student tuition tax credit program, which offers tuition support by allowing Arizona families to offset the cost of a private school education. Arizona taxpayers may contribute a portion of their Arizona tax liability to a Student Tuition Organization (STO) and take a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on their state income tax return. Pardes families can work to offset as much tuition as possible through STO programs, specifically the Jewish Tuition Organization. As a result, approximately 70% of Pardes families access $2.6M of state tax credits to offset tuition costs.
The Head of School opportunity is an exciting and critically important role for the Pardes Jewish Day School. As the professional leader, the Head of School position carries responsibilities in the following areas:
Drive the vision and strategy: The Head of School should be a dynamic, strategic, relational leader who will empower, inspire, and motivate the entire school community to set the course for sustainable growth and success. Reporting to Pardes’ Board of Directors, the Head of School is charged with the articulation, implementation, and advancement of Pardes’ vision and mission and for providing an outstanding education to the school's students. Given Pardes’ stature and reputation in Scottsdale/Phoenix, the Head of School will also serve as a leader and advocate for a day school education that welcomes and is respectful of all students from all streams of Judaism and encourages dialogue, understanding, respect and engagement between the diverse religious and cultural backgrounds of its students.
Set the Institutional Tone: The Head of School bears overall accountability for creating and maintaining a professional, operational, and learning culture where students, teachers, and staff thrive. This position requires a leader who is a resourceful and effective delegator. The Head of School is expected to be collaborative, foster a culture of trust and teamwork, provide constructive feedback, and sustain a positive morale among administration, faculty, and staff as they make their best contributions to the institution. The Head of School plays a pivotal role in shaping, nurturing, and maintaining the overall ethos and tone of Pardes.
Inspire Excellence and a Joy of Learning: The Head of School is expected to build on Pardes’ deep commitment to the highest educational standards in general studies, Judaic studies, and Hebrew language learning as well as the spiritual and mental well-being and growth of its students. The Head of School will partner closely with Pardes’ Principal and senior administration to determine the next phases of the Innovation Initiative, helping define strategic educational priorities that respond to today’s educational challenges and opportunities and ensures the future success of the school and its student body. The Head of School will have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that a Pardes education continues to emphasize the joy, pride, and kehillah that are fundamental to the Pardes experience.
Engage a robust community: A successful Head of School will be Pardes’ “Storyteller-in-Chief” and ambassador to the wider Scottsdale and Phoenix community and will make it a priority to build relationships and partnerships with other schools and organizations - private, philanthropic, and communal. The Head of School will be joining a well-established institution experiencing record enrollment. In partnership with the Board of Directors, the Head of School will be expected to build on this period of growth by advancing Pardes’ fundraising operation and financial strategy, with a focus on expanding campus facilities and growing the school’s endowment. The Head of School should have capacity to actively plan for and engage with these fundraising campaigns and to successfully cultivate and steward donors and solicit major gifts.
Who should Apply: Desired Qualities and Qualifications
Pardes Jewish Day School is seeking an experienced school leader with a passion for Jewish day school education, high standards, and excellent communication skills, who will guide the efforts to capitalize upon Pardes’s many strengths while further developing its potential within a competitive educational marketplace. The ideal candidate will offer most or all of the following attributes:
- A record of success as an educational leader.
- Familiarity with best practices in Jewish day school education and governance.
- Financial acumen and strong management skills.
- Demonstrated ability to hire well and forge a strong leadership team.
- The willingness and ability to participate effectively in fundraising.
- Deep knowledge of, and demonstrated personal commitment to, Jewish ideals, values, history, culture, and practice.
- Demonstrated and ongoing commitment to Zionism and the State of Israel.
- Advanced degree in Education, Educational Administration, Judaic Studies, or another related field.
Leadership Traits and Personal Qualities
- A visionary and strategically minded leader who will work with the Board of Directors, administration, and faculty to set and execute a clear course for the future.
- A warm and approachable leader who displays a sincere interest in each student and engages students, families, faculty and staff with the values and ethos of the school.
- A principled leader who models high standards, integrity, and strength of character; a willingness to uphold policies and to set and enforce appropriate boundaries.
- An educational leader who will honor, support, and recognize the work of a talented faculty; one who is able to inspire, energize, and mentor teachers.
- A confident leader who is appropriately decisive and willing to delegate appropriately to well-qualified teachers and administrators.
- A compelling communicator and good listener; ability to serve as an ambassador and spokesperson for the school to the wider community.
- An outgoing and enthusiastic participant in school life who will be visible and engaged in all aspects of the Pardes experience, inside the school and in the broader Scottsdale Jewish community.
This position description is based upon material provided by Pardes Jewish Day School, an equal opportunity employer.
Tani Weissman, Senior Talent Consultant
Nina Cogan, Talent Consultant
Rachel Carter, Senior Associate
To apply to this position please visit www.DRGsearch.com