Superintendents were the stars of the school-system overhaul announced last month, which put the district chiefs back in charge of both supervising and supporting principals.
But the shakeup also created a powerful new position — the directors of new regional centers that will help schools with everything from hiring and budgeting to serving students with special needs.
Now, the city has shined a little more light on the new role, posting an online description last week for the job of “field support center director.” The directors will have a lot to oversee: Besides helping schools with a myriad of operational and instructional issues, the centers will also assist with school safety, after-school and summer programs, educational technology, and even dealing with “inappropriate behaviors and legal issues,” according to the job description.
There will be seven centers — one in most boroughs, with Brooklyn and Queens getting two each — that will open this summer under the supervision of the education department’s new Office of Field Support.
As a sign of the new role’s broad scope and significance, the starting salary for the directors is $138,000. By comparison, a high school superintendent salary starts at $103,000, according to a recent job posting, though many superintendents make far more than either of those amounts.
The hiring process is moving quickly. Applications for the director jobs are due Feb. 7, and hiring is expected to be finished by the end of the month, according to the city.
Once the directors are hired, they will start to build up their own teams. And they’ll have many jobs to fill: The seven centers will be doing work that had been performed by some 55 school-support networks that were eliminated in the restructuring.
Meanwhile, the city is still figuring out where to put the large teams working at the support centers. One idea is to house them in the same buildings as the borough enrollment centers, which is where the superintendents and their small teams will now work, according to city officials.
While the job description offers new details about the field center directors, it also raises some questions. For instance, what will the relationship be like between the directors — who will oversee dozens of employees serving multiple community districts — and the superintendents, who have just a handful of staffers but lots of authority? And with so many schools to help with such a wide range of issues, will the directors be able to make sure each one gets what it needs?
The job description is below.
Field Support Center Director
Position Summary: The Field Support Center Director manages a field-based team providing guidance and leadership to both instructional and operational staff. The Field Support Center Director is the key coordinator of support services to the superintendents, principals, and all schools within a prescribed geographic zone or borough. He/she will support superintendents in their daily work with principals and schools. For schools identified through the Framework for Great Schools model—as most in need of strategic intervention—he/she will provide support for school-specific plans guided and developed by the superintendent in collaboration with the school, Central offices and the Field Support Center. These school-specific plans will aim to serve the needs of all students and increase achievement.
The Field Support Center Director is an advisory member of the Central Field Support Office’s leadership team and plays an integral role in developing and implementing effective strategies that provide ongoing support to superintendents, coordinating and managing the execution of Central Leadership policy and ensuring instructional and operational supports are in place so schools are able to implement effective instructional practices. Performs related work.
Reports to: Chief Executive Officer, Office of Field Support
Direct Reports: The Field Support Center Director manages a Field Support Center Team of 5-6 senior staff and provides guidance and leadership to both instructional and operational Field Support Center staff (Unless specified differently by Service Level Agreement(s) between Field Support Centers and Central Leadership)
Key Relationships:Works collaboratively with the Central Field Support Center Office, other Field Support Center Directors, Superintendents, and other key DOE personnel to coordinate differentiated instructional, operational, and compliance related support to schools.
- Supervises Field Support Center team members as they coordinate and support day-to-day and long range instructional and operational support to superintendents, principals, and other school-based staff to ensure increased student achievement.
- Supports principals in completing DOE Central Office operational/compliance requirements and in identifying and troubleshooting challenges that keep principals from completing these requirements.
- Coordinates support in the development and implementation of professional development opportunities – based on individual school needs and student data – for principals, other school-based staff, and team staff to strengthen their knowledge of instructional operational and compliance areas.
- Coordinates the services and supports schools require in creating and implementing post-secondary readiness programs for students.
- Supports schools in promoting a culture of academic rigor and a high quality of life by handling high-priority situations as well as safety and suspension issues.
- Coordinates and supports operational systems required by schools to develop and implement instructional initiatives such as summer school, extended school day, Saturday school, holiday academic intervention, and credit accumulation programs, as well as advanced placement and enrichment programs for students.
- Support schools in implementing innovative learning models that may utilize education technologies (edtech), liaising with industry experts where applicable.
- Provides support to principals on how to deal with inappropriate behaviors and legal issues that affect instruction.
- Ensures that Central policy underpins the execution of work for all field-based staff enabling school leaders to focus on implementing sound instructional practices.
- Coordinates with central offices to provide services to Superintendents and schools as appropriate and in support of school-specific plans.
- Monitors and supports an in-house turnkey model for professional development, based on Central professional learning opportunities.
Plus, preferred requirements:
- Successful experience in education administration and policy experience at Central office level.
- Proven ability as an effective educational leader with broad experience in the coordination of instructional, operational and programmatic resources to support all student populations, including general education, ELL, and special education students.
- Experience in guiding and supervising other school professionals (school-based, central office or field-based) to improve achievement.
- Understanding of DOE accountability tools as well as the interpretation of data regarding various types of formative and summative assessments.
- Demonstrated background in building staff capacity through professional development and by providing ongoing feedback to staff.
- Creative problem solver with the ability to perform independent, thoughtful analysis around important educational issues impacting the manner in which high-quality services are provided to schools.
- Deep knowledge of collaborative inquiry theory and process.
- Experience working on a collaborative team with an understanding of cross-functional roles.
- Strong attention to detail.
- Strong verbal and excellent written communication and presentation skills, including public presentations.
- Internal candidates preferred.
And questions to be answered in the cover letter:
Question 1: Please share why you are interested in the position of Field Support Center Director and state your unique qualifications for the position. Specify the borough in which you are interested in working and discuss your goals and strengths in the context of the needs of the school community in that borough. If you are applying for more than one borough, please prioritize your borough preference and complete this essay for each district for which you are applying.
Question 2: Please list three accomplishments in your professional career that have given you the greatest satisfaction, and explain why. Select one of these accomplishments and discuss in detail how you used the collaborative process as a means of strengthening the outcome.
Question 3: The Framework for Great Schools recently announced by the Chancellor is designed to measure and guide capacity-building throughout our schools. The six interconnected elements of this framework are: Rigorous Instruction, Supportive Environment, Collaborative Teachers, Effective School Leadership, Strong family-Community Ties and Trust. Select one element of the framework and discuss why you feel that your strengths as a leader will bring a unique contribution to the citywide work of the Field Support Centers.