The Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine in Portland, Maine is a combined Jewish Federation, Jewish Community Center, and Jewish Family Services program, which functions as the hub of Jewish life and serves as a resource for the entire Southern Maine Jewish community. Our Goldman Family Preschool is a NAEYC accredited program with a rich history and an outstanding reputation. Through the ‘High Scope’ curriculum, combined with a Reggio Emilia approach, we offer child centered, family-oriented programs for children 6 weeks to 5 years old. Educated and trained professionals bring deep commitment and a love of children to our classrooms. We foster a child’s natural instincts and curiosity by providing a nurturing, comfortable, joyful, and developmentally appropriate environment. We also support the whole family, through programs and activities designed to build community and engagement for parents and caregivers.
The JCA is looking for an Early Childhood Director for the Goldman Family Preschool. We seek a strong leader who is passionate about giving every child a positive start in school and developing creative and meaningful early learning experiences for children.
Under the direct supervision of the Executive Director, the Preschool Director is responsible for the strategic direction and operational management of the preschool. The Director will also oversee the JCA Afterschool program.
The Early Childhood Director builds a community of educators, children, and families, and works collaboratively with our other JCA departments and partner organizations. Our current Preschool department population includes 70 children, and up to 20 children in our elementary school-age Afterschool programs. These programs are licensed through the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. The Preschool Director is a key member of the JCA’s Leadership team and advises staff and lay leaders on all matters of children’s education, safety, family relations and relevant communication for the entire JCA.
Vision, curriculum and philosophy: Ensure that the curriculum reflects the organization’s commitment to excellence in the preschool program.
• Lead and drive the integration of successful educational philosophies into the curriculum with a focus on High Scope Curriculum and the NAEYC guide to Developmentally Appropriate Practices
• Ensure that the needs of our early childhood family community are represented in agency-wide strategic discussion, including the JCA’s mission and vision
Values: The Goldman Family Preschool is grounded in accessibility and diversity. We welcome children of all backgrounds and abilities.
• Embrace and support diversity and acceptance for children, families and staff
• Integrate Jewish and universal values into the programs
• With a positive mindset and expertise in child development, coordinate teachers, parents, and appropriate diagnostic professionals to respond to specific student needs and behaviors
Team of educators that enact the vision: Build, train, support and grow a team that delivers excellent educational experiences for children and families.
• Oversee the hiring and training of all staff related to early childhood programs, and ensure their regular supervision and annual evaluation
• Refine and execute a staff retention plan, including employee appreciation and recognition programs, as well as a professional development plan including PD days and outside opportunities and conferences
• Identify strategies for recruitment and leadership development to build a staffing pipeline and mentor the leaders of the future
Service Excellence: Ensure that operations meet or exceed all relevant operational guidelines.
• Ensure compliance with the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the DHHS State of Maine licensing guidelines to ensure standards are met or exceeded, including preparation for site visits, renewals, working with facilities, additional licensing of rooms, annual reports, emergency plans and training
• Ensure the maintenance of all State of Maine health standards and reporting
• Ensure the parent and faculty handbooks are current, relevant, and consistent with Licensing and NAEYC Requirements and Organization policy
• Working with the Executive Director, actively engage with key lay leaders to identify strengths and opportunities for the future, to strengthen Goldman Family Preschool programs and services
Community Building: The Preschool Director serves as the public representative of the school, builds a nurturing community of staff, parents and children, and leads partner relations with on-site schools and outside organizations to support each family’s journey through the JCA.
• Establish and nurture positive, open, ongoing communication with children and families
• Develop opportunities for parent and family education, advocacy for children’s development and positive mental health, and multi-generational engagement
Meeting the social/emotional needs of children and their families: Work closely with Center Day Camp, PJ Library, and other youth programs to support the transition of preschoolers to elementary-aged programs to encourage engagement and retention in their JCA journey.
• A community journey for all; an inclusive Jewish journey. Understand the crucial role JCCs play as a central touchstone for families who seek a diverse Jewish journey, choose to connect in a secular fashion, and may be seeking a gateway to further engagement
• Together with the preschool staff, plan and implement annual school events including but not limited to Welcome gatherings, Sukkot, Chanukah, Purim, Special Person’s Day, Family Shabbats, etc.
Financial Sustainability and Planning:
• Develop and closely monitor the school and afterschool program budgets
• Closely monitor enrolment and staffing models
• Ensure professional and efficient management of admission inquiries, tours, and enrollment
• Create business plans for sustainability and growth
• Work closely with Marketing and Fundraising/Development to develop year-round content to promote and sustain the programs, clearly communicate school philosophy and culture, and contribute where appropriate to grant proposals to support growth
A positive, contributing member of the JCA Leadership Team:
• Build positive staff morale
• Support the mission of the JCA
• Assist with agency-wide JCA special events
• Attend and participate in JCA staff meetings as required
• Maintain and enforce agency policies and procedures
• Provide excellent customer service
• Perform work after hours as needed to meet applicable deadlines, family events or scheduling needs
• Other duties as assigned
Minimum Qualifications and Requirements:
• Meets or exceeds the NAEYC requirements to be considered a Director
• Minimum of 3 years of teaching experience
• Minimum 3-5 years of managerial experience in a leadership/supervisory role in an early childhood program or related field
• Familiarity with values, principles and philosophies of NAEYC
• Ability to think outside the box to grow and develop early childhood programs
• Demonstrated effectiveness in program administration, planning, and coordination
• Exceptional interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to communicate and interact effectively with parents, children and staff
• Strong managerial skills including the ability to foster camaraderie, cooperation, and teamwork
• Excellent oral and written communication skills
• Proficient in the use of Microsoft Office and ability to master new software systems
• Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously
• First Aid/CPR certified
Preferred Skills Include:
• Additional certifications relating to children including but not limited to Special Education, Child development and psychology
• Knowledge of Jewish culture, traditions and practice or strong willingness to learn
• Experience with elementary school age and/or afterschool programming
• Experience in a non-profit work environment
• Comfortable with social media