Head of Lower School

Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School | Chicago, IL, United States

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Posted Date 3/20/2024

About Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School:

Bernard Zell is an independent Jewish day school for the 21st century where academic purpose, collaborative learning, and deep commitment to humanity develop engaged, confident learners and compassionate leaders for a stronger, more vibrant community and world. A pluralistic community day school, Bernard Zell welcomes students and families of varied levels of religious observance. The school combines Jewish learning and tradition with the best of innovative educational practice in a challenging and nurturing learning environment.


About the Lower School:

The Lower School experience at Bernard Zell is rooted in high academic expectations, Jewish identity and community building, and a steadfast belief in educating the whole child.  Students are supported and guided in their growth by nurturing educators who are knowledgeable and purposeful in their developmental approach. Risk-taking, questioning, curiosity, and collaborative learning are encouraged, and students are held accountable for effort, individual growth and achievement, and kind behavior. With a rich history and community and family partnerships at the core, Bernard Zell Lower School strives to honor the individual educational journey of each of our students, support their foundational academic and social emotional development, and prepare them to be motivated and successful students in middle school and beyond.


With a highly capable faculty, committed parents, and outstanding facilities, the school is in a uniquely attractive position, with a deeply felt and lived history, clear mission and genuine openness to the possibilities that lie ahead. 


Job Summary and Scope of Responsibility:

Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School seeks an educational leader for its Lower School (1st - 4th grade) to guide a creative and committed learning community of approximately 150 students and 20 faculty and staff.  The Head of Lower School is charged with overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Lower School and leading their faculty as the school helps students achieve the Portrait of the Graduate. The Head of Lower School partners with the Head of School and other admin team members in articulating a clear and compelling vision for the division's future that supports Bernard Zell’s mission and strategic plan.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Strategic priorities

  • Assist the Head of School and Leadership Team in advancing the school’s mission of providing an outstanding General and Jewish Studies education in an innovative, independent Jewish day school committed to preparing students to live fulfilling, productive, and meaningful lives.
  • Lead the Lower School General Studies, Jewish Studies and Specialists teams, in guiding students toward fulfilling the Portrait of a Graduate.
  • Be the “chief culture officer” for the Lower School, leading an outstanding faculty into the next phase of the division’s growth.

Teaching and Learning

  • Function as the lead articulator of the Lower School’s programs, standards, guidelines, and other information necessary to ensure clear and consistent communication with all constituencies.
  • Understand and articulate all aspects of the school’s instructional approach, including differentiated instruction, Reader’s/Writer’s Workshop models, inquiry-based problem solving and foundational math, Responsive Classroom and Hebrew/Jewish Studies experiences.
  • Observe, supervise, support, and evaluate faculty in the development and implementation of curriculum, the teaching process, and academic programs.
  • Make recommendations to the Head of School regarding the recruitment, hiring, retention, and assignment of faculty.
  • Partner with Educational Administration and Administrative Council in developing and maintaining a holistic educational and experiential thread between departments.
  • Ensure effective school-home communications are practiced by the faculty, including newsletters, progress reports and conferences.


Building and Supporting Culture

  • Hold students, faculty, and families accountable for core values of the Lower School.
  • Support and promote the school’s commitment to academic excellence, Jewish values, and community building.
  • Partner with parents in helping develop outstanding young people who are representative of the Portrait of the Graduate.
  • Maintain and develop programs designed to scaffold behavioral and communal norms. Enforce school’s behavior norms for children during school hours/activities as needed.
  • Communicate with students, parents and faculty regarding student behavior and maintain appropriate documentation

Administrative Leadership

  • Serve on the Leadership Team with other division heads and non-instructional administration.
  • Promote high standards of professional performance, modeling and coaching excellent teaching practices, including ongoing performance management.
  • Proactively communicate with families about school activities, curriculum, and important issues.
  • Collaborate with grade-level team leaders, instructional leaders, and specialists.
  • Partner with Student Services, Social Workers, and families to ensure that the needs of all students are met.
  • Advise faculty in matters of classroom management, parent relationships, teaching methods, and general school procedures
  • Conduct regular division/department team meetings.
  • Ensure a safe working and learning environment conducive to personal, professional, academic, and social-emotional growth.
  • Support the school’s Advancement functions (admissions, development, marketing) as needed.
  • Assist in the production of student, teacher, and class schedules.
  • Manage the budget of the Lower School.
  • Fulfill other duties as assigned in support of the larger school community.


Minimum Qualifications:


B.S. /B.A. in Elementary Education, and M.S/M.A. preferred.



  • Minimum of five to seven years of teaching and administrative experience at the Lower School level.
  • Two or more years in a school-based leadership role (specific administrative titles not required).
  • Experience with strategic planning, faculty hiring, teacher evaluation, scheduling, curriculum development, student life and activities, budgets, and management of complex processes will be particularly relevant.
  • Substantial experience in a Lower School setting and insightful understanding of the role of the independent school teacher and leader.
  • Preference will be given to candidates with experience in Jewish Day Schools and/or independent schools.


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Effective communication skills, emotional intelligence and creative problem-solving skills.
  • An ability to work cooperatively and generously with colleagues and families.
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Proficient in Google applications.
  • A strong understanding of child development and a genuine love of working with young children.
  • Proven success at working collaboratively in educational leadership.
  • A willingness to be a visible presence in all areas of school life.
  • A collaborative and collegial leadership style that encourages faculty to take risks and explore passions.
  • Exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • Keen interest in continuous improvement, intellectual curiosity, and an analytical approach to problem solving.
  • Creativity and openness to innovation coupled with the capacity to understand the existing culture and rich history of the School.
  • Appreciation of pluralistic Jewish education and a wide range of Jewish practice.
  • Commitment to inclusiveness and diversity.


General Information:

  • The Head of Lower School is a 12-month full-time position.
  • Full-time employee benefits include employer-subsidized medical, dental, life, disability insurance, optional Vision insurance and significant tuition remission;
  • 403B retirement plan with employer match after 1 year; public transportation or parking subsidy; Kosher breakfast and lunch


How to apply:



Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School has a long-standing policy of equal employment opportunity for every person regardless of age, race, color, disability, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry or citizenship.  The school recruits, hires and promotes individuals without regard to these characteristics, and all staffing decisions are based solely on the qualifications of each individual and the legitimate educational needs of our students. 

Bernard Zell does not discriminate in working conditions, physical facilities or any other terms, conditions or privileges of employment, including transfer, compensation, training, promotion, demotion or separation based on age, race, color, disability, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry or citizenship. The school seeks to provide a work environment that is free from discrimination, intimidation and harassment based on any of these characteristics.

Salary110,000.00 - 150,000.00 Annual
Full Time
Organization Type
Education & Schools
Retirement Plans | Dental | FSA | Kosher Food Option Available | Life Insurance | Medical Insurance | Paid Holidays | Paid Vacation | Sick Days | Vision
Job Location
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