Position: Director, Early Childhood Education,Temple Sinai, Washington, DC
Effective: June 1, 2022
Status: Full-time, salaried position
Reports to: Senior Rabbi
Directly supervises: All Nursery School employees (teachers, specialists and Nursery School administrative staff).
The Director of Early Childhood Education at Temple Sinai (Director) oversees and has responsibility for all aspects of the Temple Sinai Nursery School (TSNS). In addition, the Director coordinates and provides expertise on programs, services, and matters of concern to members and other families, related to preschool-age children. The Director is a full, active partner in the senior professional leadership team of Temple Sinai. All members of the team share responsibility to enact the Temple’s mission and strategic plans, and to operate according to the core values of the congregation. The Director envisions responses to new opportunities, while respecting and honoring the history and traditions of the Temple and the School. The School is a program of and within Temple Sinai. Accordingly, the Director leads the school in full integration with Temple-wide systems, procedures, and policies, and in coordination with Temple Sinai staff.
The Director leads with the support of other staff in the School and the Temple. In the School, these include an operations manager, in-house occupational therapy consultant, speech and language therapist, professional development assistant, a professional teaching staff, and a full-time administrative assistant. The Director has the support of a part-time financial assistant toward budgeting and financial responsibilities, and collaborates with our Temple Sinai Executive Director, who oversees these processes as a whole.
This is not an exhaustive list but a guide for prioritizing the core elements of the job. All Temple staff are responsible for basic day-to-day tasks like welcoming and assisting members and guests, maintaining the building and grounds, and all of us have “other duties as assigned.” The Director is the primary person responsible for:
Educational leadership. Develop the School’s programming and curriculum, and oversee its daily implementation. The School is a Jewish nursery school and – while open and loving to children and families of all backgrounds and religions – is infused with Jewish values, teachings, ritual and culture in a way that fits the larger pedagogic and developmentally appropriate philosophy of the School. The school is also a constructivist, child-centered learning environment, grounded in the Reggio Emilia tradition.
Health/Safety. Promote a safe and nurturing environment for all School students, staff, and families including appropriate procedures, record keeping, and training on health and safety matters.
Admissions, Promotion and Placement. Oversee recruitment and retention of students and families, through coordination of tours and information sessions, responding to questions and explaining contracts. Understand the landscape of traditional public, charter, and independent elementary schools across the region, to support parents and students in transitioning out of TSNS. Cultivate and maintain the School’s excellent reputation with those schools, and within the broader community.
Operations. Plan and lead all aspects of School operations including compliance with DC licensing and other required oversight; coordinate building and space use with other Temple groups; create and share the School calendar; maintain materials and supplies for the School; direct and oversee contents of communications relating to the School with current parents and the larger School community (past and current families, alumni, and supporters); contribute content for communications to the larger Temple community; participate in Temple-wide and School-specific fundraising activities.
Staff management. Recruit, train, and supervise all teachers, administrative staff, and other employees of the School; promote and support staff development opportunities; conduct regular evaluations.
Budget and finances. Plan the School budget and oversee its finances, with strong support in accounting and financial matters from Temple staff, and support specifically dedicated to TSNS. The Temple’s executive director serves as the key partner in managing daily and long term finances and should be consulted and kept aware of financial matters. The Temple Board and/or its Finance Committee ultimately oversee budgets.
Collaboration. Work as an integral part of the senior staff team – including by regularly attending and participating in team and one-on-one meetings – to implement the mission and ongoing programs of Temple Sinai, and to incorporate the clergy and other relevant staff in School programs as appropriate. Participate in the planning and implementation of congregational and Nursery School programs in collaboration with the senior staff. Collaborate with the director of the Religious School to create a bridge from preschool to Religious School. Network with early childhood directors at other congregations to explore best practices.
Community building. Continue the TSNS cultural tradition, which embraces families, values teachers and promotes a welcoming atmosphere for children’s growth and learning. Seek to retain connections with families past the preschool years. RepresentTemple Sinai and Reform Judaism in the larger community as a leader, teacher, and exemplar.
Early Childhood Educational Expertise. Has strong experience in early childhood education and development, with deep knowledge of and commitment to constructivist pedagogies. Stays abreast of best practices and available resources for parents, teachers, and children.
Caring & Nurturing. Genuinely cares about others and is available and ready to help and build effective and constructive relationships. The Director will be a member of the Temple’s pastoral care team and will attend pastoral care meetings.
Gets things done. The Director is organized, takes initiative, and is able to plan and implement programs. The Director functions effectively as a leader and advocates well for School needs and priorities, in the context of the Temple overall.
Creativity. Temple Sinai believes that just because something has always been done a certain way does not mean it is the best way or the only way. We will count on the Director to identify places for improvement and to bring new ideas to our programs and staff as appropriate. We encourage the Director to think broadly, take risks and try new things.
Communication. Has outstanding communication, interpersonal, and presentation skills. Conveys information clearly (written and oral) and interacts effectively with congregants, clergy, staff, lay leadership, parents, and children of all ages.
Commitment to Temple Sinai. Committed to and supports the Temple, its leadership and fellow staff members; represents the Temple in the best possible terms both inside and outside the Temple community; works constructively to improve Temple policies and/or practices when problems are identified; plays a critical role in recruiting and welcoming new members, especially among School families.
High Standards. The Director strives to be and do the best at their work and to have a School of the highest quality – not for the sake of optics or accolades but because we have a sacred responsibility to raise up the next generation and support their parents and families in rearing strong, healthy people who are mensches and whose lives will make our world a better place.
The successful candidate will have a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree (preferred) in early childhood education, early childhood development, elementary education, or early special education.
Teachers, staff and families of all denominations are welcomed at TSNS. Because ours is a Jewish nursery school within a synagogue, the Director candidate must have a deep understanding of and experience in a Jewish setting, whether as an educator or in another role.
Temple Sinai Nursery School is based within a Reggio Emilia pedagogy. Experience and depth of understanding of Reggio or another constructivist curriculum is required.
The position requires supervisory experience in a licensed early childhood education center, as well as experience teaching and supervising teachers in early childhood education.
We value familiarity with diversity within the local community, the Jewish community, and with anti-bias practices in general, and the ability to interact and build understanding with families of diverse cultural and social backgrounds.
Financial management and budgeting experience is required.
Salary and Benefits
The salary range for this position is $100,000 to $125,000 per year.
Benefits include, among others: vacation; sick leave; pension contributions by the employer; family medical/parental leave; Health insurance; Long-term disability and life insurance; professional development and conference benefits.
Temple Sinai does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or any other category prohibited by applicable law.
Send your resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject heading “Search: Director of Early Childhood Education.”