Sacred Heart Schools is well-positioned as a school leader within the Sacred Heart Network and the city of Chicago. On October 30, 2019, Nat Wilburn, Head of Schools, announced his plans to transition from his role on June 30, 2021. Mr. Wilburn’s passion for Sacred Heart education propelled his many accomplishments as Head of Schools. Under his leadership, Sheridan Road has experienced substantial growth, progress, and financial strength, leaving the Schools poised for a dynamic new leader committed to the mission of Sacred Heart education to assume the Head of Schools position in July 2021.
The Board of Trustees appointed a Search Committee comprised of Board members to lead the search for the next Head of Schools. Subsequent updates on the Head of Schools search will be posted here and will be sent as warranted via email to the Sacred Heart community from Mr. Dan Bayston, Chair of the Board of Trustees.
ABOUT SACRED HEART SCHOOLS Sacred Heart Schools on Sheridan Road is an independent, Catholic elementary school (Pre-K through 8th), comprised of the Academy of the Sacred Heart for Girls (founded in 1876) and Hardey Preparatory for Boys (founded in 1935) and serves over 715 students. Sacred Heart Schools are committed to academic excellence within the context of a Christian community. What does this mean? Our school believes students need a loving education that inspires confidence, is rigorous and well-rounded, and is rooted in the shared values of respect, compassion, generosity, grace, justice and hope. After kindergarten, we offer single gender classrooms on a coed campus with blended experiences. Ninety-five percent of our graduates are admitted to their first-choice high school.
Our shared values are deeply rooted in the 200-year tradition of the Society of the Sacred Heart. The essence of this tradition is the total development of each child: spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional, and physical. Sacred Heart Schools, Sheridan Road is part of the global network of Sacred Heart Schools, which encompasses more than 130 schools in 30 countries, including 24 schools in the U.S. and Canada. Our main campus (K-8) is located at 6250 N. Sheridan Road, and our Preschool opened in fall 2019 at Saint Andrew Greek Orthodox Church (5649 N. Sheridan Road). The Schools enjoy a local reputation for the strength of its tightly-knit community and generosity of annual giving.
The school operates on a budget of approximately $15 million and is in a strong financial position, including a net endowment of $15 million, and an annual fund that consistently generates greater than $1 million. A nearly $10 million Masterpiece Capital Campaign was completed in 2017, with approximately 20% of the funds raised being allocated toward tuition assistance. Approximately 24% of students receive tuition assistance totaling over $3 million annually.
The Schools’ student body reflects diverse races, religious beliefs, and socio-economic backgrounds with students traveling from 34 zip codes. Approximately 30% of our students are children of color, and families come from 30 different countries and speak 20 different languages in their homes. Between 30-40% of our students are from Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist faith traditions. The Schools feature an outstanding group of talented and dedicated teachers, 70% of whom hold advanced degrees, and student support staff who are eager to continually grow as educators in an intimate environment of 9:1 teacher-student ratio. Our 2017 Masterpiece Campaign has enhanced the Schools’ academic facilities, including new classrooms and a Maker Space, and impacted the overall quality of the academic experience. The Campaign allowed the school to hire two instructional coaches to work with the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. This team has worked to align the curriculum vertically, and to help faculty members on their continued growth journey as educators. As we look forward, we are committed to providing an outstanding educational experience rooted in the Goals and Criteria and best practices in educational research.
We encourage interested applicants to learn more about Sacred Heart Schools on its website, www.shschicago.org.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES As the Board launches its search, Sacred Heart Schools aims to preserve the rich opportunities it has afforded students and seeks a Head of Schools (“Head”) with a strategic vision regarding the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.
Preserve and continue the Schools’ welcoming environment in which all members feel valued, cared for, and respected, and is centrally focused on the commitment to the Schools’ Mission, Goals and Criteria.
Preserve and continue the Schools’ tradition of a generous and engaged parent body with regard to volunteerism and service as well as fundraising for capital campaigns, the annual fund and major gifts.
Preserve, continue, and enhance academic and financial-aid initiatives created as a result of the Masterpiece Campaign to continually evolve and promote the strengths of academic and curricular programs that are open and accessible to all.
As part of an evolving, comprehensive enrollment management and marketing plan, nurture the role the Preschool plays in enhancing the school’s competitiveness in a varied and increasingly broad, private school market in a city experiencing demographic movement as well as budgetary constraints.
Maintain a school community and culture – noting a particular importance of our role in educating Catholic students to further St. Madeleine Sophie’s vision of “transforming society” – that is open and accessible to a broad range of students and families.
Deepen and enhance the reciprocity of our relationships within the international Network of Sacred Heart Schools, the Edgewater neighborhood, and with community service partners so as to engage with the life of people from difficult cultures and communities at home and across the globe.
Strategize and implement plans to ensure the retention of, and any succession issues related to, our outstanding administration, faculty, and staff, whose dedication to the Mission and Goals and Criteria create a student-centered environment which fosters the development of the whole child.
Develop and execute a capital/facility improvement plan that supports learning and enhances school programming by considering space utilization and realistic budgetary constraints.
RESPONSIBILITIES The Head of Schools is appointed by the Board of Trustees and is accountable to them. The entire school community relies on the Head to provide spiritual, administrative, fiscal and educational leadership within the context of the implementation of the Goals and Criteria and philosophy of Sacred Heart education. Working closely with trustees and other key constituents, the Head is responsible for developing and executing our Strategic Plan, which currently asks the Schools to (1) deepen our commitment to the Mission, Goals and Criteria, (2) develop and strengthen academic and extracurricular programming and facilities to support and enhance school programming, and (3) ensure excellence in governance and maintain financial strength and fiscal soundness. Essential functions will include the following, with underlying specific duties outlined in the attached Appendix:
Strategic Development and Direction: In partnership with the Board of Trustees and Strategic Planning Committee, the Head develops the Strategic Plan of the Schools every five years and leads the implementation and evaluation of the Strategic Plan on a daily basis with quarterly and annual reviews.
Goals and Criteria Stewardship: Grounded in the mission of Sacred Heart, the Head exemplifies the core values and principles of the Network and provides spiritual guidance and influence on a daily basis.
Academic Leadership: In the pursuit of academic excellence, the Head oversees the annual curriculum of the preschool (PK for 3 and 4 year olds), primary (SK-2 grades), lower (3-5 grades) and middle schools (6-8 grades) of Sacred Heart Schools with an attention toward the individual student as well as overall curriculum innovation that will sustain the Schools as a leader in educating Chicago youth. The Head ensures the proper development and implementation of curriculum, resources, processes and procedures for its students, as well as the faculty evaluation.
Administrative Oversight: The Head serves as a liaison with the Provincial team of the Sacred Heart Network, Archdiocese of Chicago, Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS), as well as appoints and evaluates approximately 150 faculty and staff members for the Schools on an annual basis and oversees the daily operations of the Schools, including diversity and inclusion, health and wellness, student life/athletics and security of the Schools.
Fiscal Management: The Head develops, oversees and manages, together with the Finance Office the School’s annual budget and fiscal operations, and together with the Executive Director of Institutional Advancement, the Director of Development and Admissions Director, all annual fundraising, major gift activities and initiatives, and Enrollment decisions respectively, with a keen eye towards the future sustainability of the Schools.
Constituent Relations: Working with each of the segments of the school community, the Head is the face and voice of the Schools within the student, parent, alumni, parent of alumni and Adult Communities, and therefore is required to attend relevant school functions (in and out of town, as needed) to represent the Schools. Specific details underlying these responsibilities are included within the attached appendix.
QUALITIES AND REQUIREMENTS
Inspirational, confident and visionary leader with successful and significant leadership experience in complex, independent and/or Catholic school setting, ideally with exposure to a broad range of grades and divisions, administrative departments, and constituents.
A disciplined, unflappable, and culturally competent leader and community builder professionally and socially comfortable in a tightly-knit community that values a high degree of formal and informal communication, interaction and transparency.
An educator who possesses a growth mindset, embraces the Catholic identity of the School, and is knowledgeable and an articulate proponent of the value of single gender education.
Business acumen as well as financial and operational expertise necessary to spearhead and oversee fiscal management, institutional advancement, enrollment management and admissions, school policies and facilities, strategic plans, budgets and schedules.
Successful and significant managerial experience recruiting, building, and leading teams and individuals comprised of faculty, staff, students, parents and other stakeholders dedicated to the highest standards using a combination of moral vision and academic vision, clear expectations and boundaries, fairness and equity, diligence and practicality, collaboration and interpersonal skills.
Experience as the visible face of an organization and the confidence and skill to be the chief fundraiser.
An equal opportunity employer, Sacred Heart Schools seeks to hire outstanding and diverse faculty and staff who work together harmoniously toward the common mission of the school.
JOB DUTIES APPENDIX As the Head of Schools works with each of the following segments of the school community, specific duties include:
Board of Trustees
Implementing Board policy and decisions in the Schools
Keeping the Board informed about the Schools and developments in education, as well as the life of the school community in living the Goals and Criteria
Initiating and making recommendations to the Board of Trustees concerning necessary policies and long-range plans pertaining to the general direction of the Schools
Regularly attending Board Committee Meetings
Providing the Board with and facilitating opportunities for Education to Mission in Sacred Heart Education
Other responsibilities as assigned by the Board
Acting as a liaison with the Provincial Team of the Society of the Sacred Heart
Acting as a liaison with the Archdiocese of Chicago
Representing the Schools in the Lake Michigan Area Independent Schools Association
Participating with the Independent Schools Association of the Central States
Developing and evaluating the objectives, policies and priorities of the Schools
Appointing and evaluating the administrative personnel
Developing, overseeing and managing, together with the Finance Office, the School’s annual budget and fiscal operations
Developing, overseeing and managing, together with the Executive Director of Institutional Advancement and the Director of Development, all annual fund raising and major gifts activities and initiatives
Developing, overseeing and managing, together with the Admissions Director and Executive Director of Institutional Advancement, all Enrollment decisions
Developing, overseeing and managing, together with the Finance Office, Tuition Assistance decisions
Developing, overseeing and managing together with the Alumni Office, ongoing relationships with the Alumni of the Schools
Actively engaging in development opportunities for the Schools
Seeking additional sources of revenue for the Schools
Receiving recommendations for re-hiring or non-renewal of employment agreements
Setting standard for performance and professional growth
Attracting and hiring highly qualified faculty and ensuring that all are familiar with and implement the Goals and Criteria
Ensuring, through their supervisors, that all are properly qualified for their work, that each one is well supervised and has a written and co-signed evaluation at the end of each year
Affording each faculty member opportunities to continue their professional development in the fields in which they are employed
Overseeing, through their immediate supervisors, the Directors of the various sections of the Schools, Campus Minister/Religion Department and Library to ensure the proper development and implementation of curriculum, resources, processes and procedures
Leading, supervising and supporting members of the Academic Team
Providing, with the Director, for the ongoing implementation of the Initiative for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
Ensuring that all are familiar with and implement the Goals and Criteria
Ensuring, through the supervisors, that all are properly qualified for their work, that each one is well supervised and has a written and co-signed evaluation at the end of each year
Affording each staff member opportunities to continue their professional development in the areas in which they are employed
Oversee the final acceptance of students into the schools
Ensuring, with administration, a safe learning environment in the school
Ensuring that there is an atmosphere conducive to learning
Ensuring that the academic and non-academic programs provide for and meet the needs of the students
Exhibiting leadership and care for the students that consistently models the values of the Goals and Criteria
Ensuring that parents are committed to the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart Education and model values in the school community that demonstrate that commitment
Working with the Parents of the Heart and other ad hoc committees and task forces established by the Schools to accomplish mutually defined goals
Ensuring that parents are kept informed about the Schools activities and plans, as appropriate
Supporting administration and meeting with parents as needed
TO APPLY: For consideration as Head of Schools, by January 15, 2020, at midnight please submit a cover letter, resume, three written references, and the answers to the Head Questionnaire to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please contact the Search Committee at email@example.com with questions or to offer input on the Head of Schools search.
HEAD QUESTIONNAIRE: Answer the following questions based upon your knowledge of Sacred Heart Schools, concluding each of your responses by making a connection to a specific opportunity or challenge you have identified with regard to Sacred Heart Schools.
Describe a meaningful institutional change for which you had primary responsibility and indicate how you went about affecting, as well as communicating, that change. What have been the outcomes of that change?
What do you see as the greatest threats to financial sustainability in independent schools? How would you propose to respond to those threats?
What experience and responsibility have you had in the preparation and implementation of operating and capital budgets?
To what extent have you been involved in fundraising? Do you feel comfortable asking people for money? Overall, what do you see as the nature of the Head’s role in fundraising?
How have you managed one or two particular crises or other stressful problems in your school?
About Sacred Heart Schools
Founded in Chicago in 1876, Sacred Heart Schools at Sheridan Road (Hardey Preparatory for Boys and Academy of the Sacred Heart for Girls are independent, Catholic, single-sex, elementary schools committed to academic excellence within the context of a Christian, faith-based community. The educational mission is deeply rooted in the 200-year tradition of the Society of the Sacred Heart and shared with the Network of Sacred Heart Schools located in 30 countries; including 24 schools in the United States and Canada. The essence of this tradition is the total development of each child: spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional, and physical. Our girls and boys are taught in single-sex classrooms but follow a similar curriculum and share in many activities. With a total enrollment of approximately 700 students, the Schools are organized into three academic divisions, each led by a division head.