Employment Opportunities at Families Together

Position Title
Cooperative Preschool Director 

40 hours/week, salaried, paid time off, health benefits, year-round. Salary range $78,000-$90,000. Start date July 1, 2023 with the possibility of starting earlier to train. This position reports directly to our Board of Directors. 

Position Purpose
The Director serves as a mission-driven leader who oversees the curriculum, instruction, administration, and infrastructure of the school in collaboration with Business Manager, and the Board of Directors. Families Together Cooperative Nursery School (FTCNS, www.ftcns.org) is a DCFS-licensed, NAEYC accredited cooperative preschool that has operated for 20+ years in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood. The school provides a play-based educational environment where parents and caregivers are integral to the life of the school. At our core is a commitment to equity and anti-oppression practices, genuine collaboration between educators, families and children, and a creative and flexible approach to supporting each child’s cognitive, social and emotional growth. We offer part-day morning and afternoon preschool classes for up to 86 students, ages 2.5 to 6, along with lunch programs and summer camp. 

FTCNS is seeking an inspiring educational leader to serve as our next Director, beginning with the 2023-2024 school year. This position is an excellent opportunity for an experienced, passionate educator and school leader who is committed to supporting and nurturing early childhood teachers and staff, skilled at working with parents as learning and leadership partners, and deeply understands and promotes the value of play, emergent curriculum, developmentally appropriate practice, and anti-bias education. 

This position is full-time beginning July 1, 2023 and will ideally start with part-time orientation and an overlap period with our current Interim Directors and Business Manager in May and June, 2023. The FTCNS school year lasts from late August to the beginning of June with a summer camp until the end of June. The Director works year round with paid winter, spring, and summer vacation time. In addition to leading the school during regular school hours, the Director also leads and/or participates in limited evening and weekend events and is expected to be available outside of business hours to attend to urgent matters. 

Key Competencies:
The ideal candidate will demonstrate the following key competencies: 

Staff Support & Supervision

  • A deep respect for and understanding of the profoundly reflective, joyful, intellectually engaging and challenging work of early childhood teachers in a play-based program with an emergent curriculum model. 
  • An enthusiasm for facilitating high-quality, relevant professional development for early childhood educators at all stages of their career.
  • An ability to observe and analyze classroom practice, supervise novice and veteran staff, and give feedback with insight, expertise, sensitivity, and a focus on growth. 
  • A skilled approach to supporting teachers in developing strong co-teaching relationships and navigating the inevitable challenges of these partnerships. 

Student & Family Support & Collaboration

  • A strong belief in the importance of honoring the power of play-based learning and children’s ideas and responding to children’s developmental needs through all facets of our school programs. 
  • A welcoming, highly-collaborative, and flexible approach to working with and supporting parent-volunteers in classrooms, committees, and the Board of Directors. 
  • A commitment to full inclusion of children and families with disabilities and an understanding and appreciation for human neurodiversity.

Institutional Management & Administration

  • An organized and efficient approach to managing and delegating responsibilities.
  • A comfort with day-to-day and long-term financial management and developing, monitoring, and working within budgets. 
  • An enthusiastic embrace of technology as a tool for school administration and the skill and patience to troubleshoot technological challenges. 
  • A competent and detail-oriented approach to compliance with city, state, and national licensing and accreditation (NAEYC) standards. 

Fundraising & Strategic Planning

  • A capacity to collaborate with parent leadership/volunteers to define and expand school fundraising goals and implement initiatives to reach those goals and meet current and future institutional needs. 
  • An ability to think strategically as it pertains to financial planning, fundraising, and overall school vision.
  • An embrace of an approach to institutional growth and change that is visionary, caring, collaborative, realistic, and empowering to others.

Mission Driven, Equity-Centered Communication & Leadership

The Director will work in cooperation with the Board of Directors and demonstrate the following: 

  • An unwavering focus on guiding the school and making short and long-term decisions that are authentically mission driven and inclusive of diverse perspectives. A nurturing, empathetic and patient approach to interpersonal exchange.
  • A commitment to self-reflection and strong analytical problem-solving skills.
  • An ability to inspire, inform, and communicate with specificity and sensitivity, both verbally and in writing. 
  • An eagerness to apply innovative solutions to meet the needs of the school and all of its stakeholders.
  • An ability to lead with a focus on building strong relationships and community connections.
  • A commitment to fostering collaboration and seeking input from various stakeholders.
  • An understanding of how to apply equity-centered, anti-bias practices to all aspects of the life of the school. 
  • A devotion to continuously increasing their own cultural competence and inspiring others to do the same.

Director Qualifications & Requirements:
Minimum requirements for the position include: 

  • An Associate Degree in child development or early childhood education OR 64 semester hours in any discipline with at least 21 semester hours in early childhood education, child development, and/or early childhood special education. 
  • One of the following: 
    • Gateways to Opportunity Level I Illinois Director Credential
    • OR 3 semester hours of college credit in administration, leadership, or management
    • OR 3 points of credential-approved training in administration, leadership, or management. 
  • Demonstrated successful experience teaching young children. 
  • Demonstrated successful experience in school leadership and staff or team supervision.
  • Demonstrated successful experience collaborating and working with families and volunteers. 
  • Proficiency in using Google applications (including Gmail, Drive and Docs, Photos, Calendar, Slides and Sheets), Survey Monkey, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Quickbooks. 
  • The ability to see clearly at close and far distance, stand and walk for long periods, lift up to 50 pounds, climb stairs in a building that is not fully accessible, and crouch, kneel, stoop or crawl with ease. (Modifications may be made to enable qualified individuals with permanent or temporary disabilities to perform the essential functions of this position.)
  • Willingness to: furnish written information regarding any criminal convictions; submit to fingerprinting and an Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) background check; provide a recent state health examination form completed by a healthcare professional, including proof of required immunizations.

Preferred qualifications for the position include:

  • State certification to teach preschool-aged children in a public school and/or to serve as school principal. 
  • A Bachelors or Masters degree in: 
    • early childhood education, early childhood special education, elementary education, or child development; OR
    • any field with at least 36 higher education credits in early childhood education, child development, elementary education, and/or early childhood special education.
  • Advanced coursework or a degree in educational leadership. 

To be considered for this position, please send a current resume and a letter explaining why your experience, skills, schedule, and approach to early childhood education would make you a great fit for this position and our school. 

Please send a resume and cover letter to hiring@ftcns.org by January 9, 2023. Questions/inquiries may also be emailed to hiring@ftcns.org. No phone calls please.

FTCNS is an employer that is actively engaged in work to nurture and increase our diversity, promote equity, and combat oppression. People of color and LGBTQIA candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. FTCNS provides equal opportunity employment to all employees and job applicants regardless of race, culture, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, marital status, military discharge status, or any other classification protected by applicable local, state, or federal laws. 

Families Together Cooperative Nursery School
1500 W. Elmdale Avenue
Chicago, IL 60660