Executive Director Search

The Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) is seeking a new Executive Director for July 2020. Since 2014, ISACS, through bold strategic thinking, a significant upgrade in its technological capacity, and an expansion of its full-time staff, is poised to ask fresh and different questions about accreditation, professional development, the future of independent schools in the Midwest, and the use of technology to strengthen relationships between  schools and ISACS. ISACS is a well-managed, well- governed, and financially healthy organization that provides valuable services to its member schools. ISACS is in an outstanding position to welcome the new Executive Director.

— A Brief Introduction —

ISACS is an association of more than 240 independent schools in the Midwest region of the country. ISACS is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3), and the member schools elect new trustees annually, based on recommendations from the Board. The current Board includes 10 school heads, eight teachers & administrators, and two former trustees of ISACS schools. The
Executive Director is an Ex-Officio member. ISACS was originally a teacher organization, which has resulted in the prominence of teachers in its governance, committee structures, as a teacher representative, appointed by the head of school. The full Board of 21 trustees meets three times annually. Members of the Board chair standing and ad hoc committees that review the services of ISACS, oversee financial accountability, and address timely issues of concern. The primary services of ISACS are accreditation and professional development.
ISACS has seven staff members, in addition to the Executive Director: Director of Accreditation; Accreditation Associate, who provides administrative support to the accreditation operation and the work of the Executive Director; Director of Communications, Outreach & Research, who also assists in assembling visiting teams for accreditation; Director of Professional Development; Director of Programs; Director of Technology & Manager of Programs; and Director of Finance. The small staff is flexible and adept at supporting one another in accomplishing the many responsibilities of ISACS. The operating budget for 2019-2020 is $2,270,000. The office moved in the summer of 2013 to a space overlooking the Chicago River. ISACS purchased two condominium units in the new location and combined them to provide, in addition to required office space, a meeting center large enough to accommodate board and committee meetings as well as professional development events in downtown Chicago.

— The Executive Director —

The Executive Director’s time is divided relatively evenly among partnering with the board on strategic direction and supporting board and committee activities, working with the staff on implementation of strategic initiatives, and direct services to schools. The Executive Director serves as the staff point-person for heads and board chairs: fielding requests for resources and counsel, visiting with heads on campus and at regional meetings, planning and hosting the annual two-day conference for heads, participating in the ISACS year-long program designed to support new heads, writing a monthly newsletter specifically for heads, and providing school-based governance workshops upon request. It is expected that the Executive Director will continue the practice of visiting member schools and providing special support for new heads.

— The Candidate —

ISACS is seeking an experienced educator who will work closely and effectively with the trustees and the heads of the member schools. Here are some questions the new Executive Director will need to work on with the Board of Trustees:
  • How can the accreditation process be redesigned to better serve the needs of an array of schools with different needs and interests?
  • How can ISACS leverage its growing technological expertise to improve its professional development programs and its communication and work with member schools?
  • How can ISACS fortify governance among its schools with a focus on board-head relationships?
  • How can ISACS assist its members in an age of rapid innovation in curriculum and pedagogy?
Candidates should possess the executive capabilities necessary to lead a high‐performing organization. These capabilities include strong organizational, strategic, interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills.
Qualifications: Candidates must have the experience and skills to deal with the broad range of issues facing ISACS member schools and, therefore, should demonstrate the following:
  • sufficient educational or “school” experience, such as the head of an independents chool, to be a credible and respected leader of ISACS
  • excellent understanding of the issues facing independent schools, especially financial sustainability, enrollment and fundraising
  • skill in articulating and promoting the value of an independent school education
  • appreciation for the diversity of the member schools including the broad range in size, structure, mission, and financial resources
  • familiarity with the educational spectrum, including charter and public schools
  • understanding of the characteristics of a mutually beneficial relationship between heads and boards
  • experience with the accreditation process
  • ability to work closely and strategically with the ISACS Board in building a strong partnership in governance and leadership
  • ability to inspire trust and confidence through exemplary team leadership and collaboration
  • a history of building constructive relationships and effectively resolving conflict
  • superior communication skills

Executive Director Search Prospectus

Leadership transition announcement