St. John School: A Personalized Learning Academy

Cultivating Confident Learners and Leaders
• Innovative Approach
• Tailored Design
• Whole-Person Growth

The St. John Head of School will provide leadership, vision, oversight, community development, and strategic direction for the growth and success of our school ministry in alignment with the greater Pathfinder strategic vision, “Bringing together imperfect people, in pursuit of a Whole Life.”

STJ Head of school job description

Timeline

01

Summer 2023

It became clear that certain strategic obstacles and opportunities facing the school required more effort than the existing leadership roles had time to give.

02

Fall 2023

Church and school leadership staff started to discuss what additional roles a full-time Executive Director could take on, and how the increased hours could benefit the existing School Leadership Team.

03

October 20, 2023

A video was sent to school families informing them of the school’s intention to look for a full-time Executive Director.

WATCH VIDEO HERE

04

October 24, 2023

A survey was sent to all school families, asking about St. John’s current obstacles and opportunities, desired traits of a future leader, and seeking questions and comments.

05

October 31 - November 16, 2023

Leadership, staff, and Parent Advisory Council reviewed feedback and drafted a final job description for the newly re-titled “Head of School” full-time position.

06

November 17, 2023

FAQs generated from the survey were shared with all school families.

07

November 28, 2023

Webpage was created and the Head of School job description posted.

FAQS

What is the current leadership structure of St. John School?
St. John School is a ministry and extension of Pathfinder Church. As such it benefits from the infrastructure and support staff that are shared between church and school. Costs for departments such as Accounting, Marketing, Human Resources, and Facilities are shared between church and school, making them much more affordable than they would otherwise be if the school were a standalone organization. In addition, the school benefits from the broader leadership structure of Pathfinder Church. The organizational chart is:
Teachers/school staff report to one of the Principals or the Whole Life Director.
The two Principals and the Whole Life Director report to the Executive Director.
Together, these four roles make up the “School Leadership Team.”
The Head of School reports to the Senior Pastor of Pathfinder Church.
The Senior Pastor is accountable to two boards: the Board of Elders (spiritual/theological) and the Board of Directors (strategic/business).
And, finally, the Board of Directors functions as the school board for St. John School.

Why does the school need a Head of School, especially while already having two principals?
As a standalone church and school, our ministry must handle all the tasks of running a school—tasks that are typically shared across multiple roles in the public school system. Other Lutheran schools function only with a single Principal who reports to a single Pastor. However, those schools/churches are generally much smaller than ours, and are also generally operating exactly the same way they’ve been operating since thirty years ago. St. John’s being a large, innovative school—one that’s boldly facing an ever-shifting cultural landscape—requires us to be more strategic and nimble. This in turn requires more dedicated leadership roles. This is why we moved to a “School Leadership Team” model a few years ago, so that strategic burdens could be shared amongst several people, and not just fall on a single leader. Our Leadership Team is currently made up of the Principals, the Whole Life Director, and the Head of School.
Having a Head of School allows the Principals and Whole Life Director to focus more exclusively on the practical and educational components of running a school. While the Head of School can then focus on the strategic and financial needs of the school, ensuring the school’s broader faithfulness to its mission. This in turn lets the principals and W. L. Director be more attentive to the daily needs of teachers, students, and parents. The Head of School can also build more direct relationships with parents, beyond mere classroom concerns.

Will hiring a new Head of School negatively impact the school budget?
No, since this is an existing role, it was already accounted for in the school budget. (It does negatively impact the church-side budget, which will now be picking up the full salary of a pastor.) In addition, with greater opportunity to focus on financials and fundraising, this role should also be able to increase the school’s fundraising efforts and improve fiscal planning.

Does this role come at the cost of hiring more direct teaching staff in the future?
No, part of the strategic efforts of the last five years has been ensuring “right-sized” tuition levels that fully fund the teaching staff required for our students. Every year in the budgeting and planning process, the driving factor in staff/teacher levels is to hire as many teachers as are needed to keep teacher/student ratio as small as possible, and support students and parents as fully as possible.

What is the timeline for making this new hire?
We are currently sifting through parent and staff feedback and finalizing the job description. We will make the job description public and begin the recruiting and hiring process before the end of November. At that point, there is no artificial deadline for making this hire. Many of the typical candidates who would be seeking this role will likely be under contract at their current schools until May/June of 2024. However, we might also find a dream candidate who is available sooner. Since Doug Mauss will remain on staff, we can wait as long as we need to find the right person; we can also strike while the iron is hot if we find someone quickly.