The Latin School of Chicago is a nationally recognized community known for the excellence of its programs and for providing an incredibly wide range of opportunities for its students. Its program is as vibrant as the city of Chicago. Its ambition and sense of purpose stand out among the nation’s schools.
The School began in 1888 when a group of parents in Chicago enlisted Mabel Slade Vickery, a teacher from the East Coast, to take charge of a new parent-owned school. The first class consisted of 10 boys approximately 10 years old.
From the start, the goal was to provide students with a rigorous college-preparatory education in the classical tradition, with a curriculum that was heavily influenced by Classical studies and the study of Greek and Latin languages, hence the name “Latin School.” Latin language is still taught in the middle and upper school today, and the phrase “Latin Learners” is used to capture the teaching and learning mindset of the community. These traditions persist in spirit, but the school is innovative and forward looking, with projects underway that are at the forefront of independent education.
Basic tenets of the school are found in these vision and mission statements:
To achieve our vision for educational excellence, our strategy is to LEAD by creating an inclusive, equitable and healthy culture for challenging and engaging learning.
Latin School of Chicago provides its students with a rigorous and innovative educational program in a community that embraces diversity of people, cultures and ideas. Latin inspires its students to pursue their passions and lead lives of purpose and excellence.
Latin School achieves its mission by:
Encouraging excellence in all academic and personal pursuits.
Creating an educational environment in which the pursuit of academic excellence and intellectual growth is complemented by a concern for the moral, physical, psychological and aesthetic development of each student.
Developing and retaining excellence faculty and staff.
Recognizing the fundamental important of honesty, civility, public service and respect for others and the environment.
Cultivating resilience, independence leadership and moral courage.
Sustaining a diverse, inclusive and multicultural community that affirms and values each individual.
Attracting dedicated families committed to the mission of the school.
Promoting programs in all divisions that integrate our students with the community.
Developing the financial and physical resources to support the school’s needs.
Latin is an equal opportunity employer, and the search committee for this position will participate in specific anti-bias training before evaluating candidates.
The Latin School of Chicago at a Glance
Upper School: 497 (39% identify as students of color)
Middle School: 307 (32% identify as students of color)
Lower School: 385 (45% identify as students of color)
Latin is home to students from 75 Chicago neighborhoods and 12 suburbs. $5.9 million+ is allocated to financial aid, which 16% of upper school students receive.
Latin students are diverse, highly capable learners in the classroom while also deeply involved in activities beyond their studies. Eighty percent of them participate on Latin’s 65+ athletic teams (45 have gone on to college athletics in the past four years), and they actively engage with the arts, service projects, publications, academic extracurriculars, affinity and social action groups.
100% of Latin students matriculate to colleges and universities, though 28 have taken thoughtful gap years over the past five years.
The Latin faculty is filled with talented, hard-working educators. 87% of them have advanced degrees, 23% identify as faculty of color, and 40% have worked at the school for at least ten years. A glance at their educational backgrounds demonstrates deep academic knowledge, a knowledge matched by the attention they pay to their pedagogical practice. Reading the surveys used to launch this search, one finds across-the-board praise for faculty work.
It isn’t easy to quickly describe the excellence and breadth of opportunity available to students at Latin. It all starts with strong student-teacher connectedness and personalization, expressed throughout an extraordinary breadth of student opportunities. In fact, a recent inventory of student journeys through the Upper School revealed that over the past decade no two students had constructed identical programs of study. With 174 available Upper School courses, a 9:1 student-teacher ratio, and 40 performing arts productions in the Middle and Upper School each year, the school allows curious and purposeful students to discover their passions while strengthening their skills. Beyond class offerings, Latin offers an extensive global program, with numerous international partner schools, membership in the Global Online Academy and School Year Aboard availability. Students can also construct a year-long Capstone Studies program, and all US students participate in Project Week each year. Service Learning is a vital component of the division, with over 8000 hours or service performed by students each year. The Upper School library, the learning commons, with its ample programming, supports students and the overall program.
Students are supported in their academic and personal lives through extensive commitments to learning resources, counseling, and health services, including two full-time nurses. College counseling is steadily provided to students through the Upper School, and students attend an impressive and broad list of leading colleges and universities.
Head of School
Head of School Randall Dunn was appointed in 2011 after serving as head of school at The Roeper School. He currently serves on the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) board of trustees, soon as chair, along with the boards of the National Network of Schools in Partnership, the Mastery Transcript Consortium, and Milton Academy.
The Upper School Director leads the assistant upper school director, upper school administrative assistant, registrar, department chairs, grade level deans, dean of community learning, diversity, equity, and inclusion curriculum coordinator, upper school counselors, learning resources specialists, two nurses, advocate for students and families of color, athletic director, director of student life, and director of college counseling. Working with these groups and the senior administrative team, the Upper School Director is responsible for:
Leading the Upper School community.
The academic program and the evaluation and support of faculty.
Student support and all curricular and extracurricular programs.
The college counseling program.
Educational and Professional Profile
A commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Strong classroom and extracurricular experience with students.
Understanding of the complexities of leadership during a pandemic, with a problem-solving approach to both current conditions and the aftermath. A leader prepared to help students adjust back to their academic and social lives on campus while also helping and healing different school constituencies after COVID-created disagreements.
Experience working with talented, hard-working, and passionate/opinionated faculty members and high-powered, passionate/opinionated parents. A leader with experience in balancing the needs and desires of different school constituencies.
Awareness of and interest in initiatives such as standards-based assessment, Mastery Transcript Consortium, and Yale’s SEL RULER. The pandemic has impacted timelines for some of these initiatives, but the community is eager to prioritize and move forward. A switch to Canvas as the division’s LMS is also underway.
Optimal personal and leadership skills would include:
Strong, collaborative team building skills.
Strength in guiding the growth of experienced teachers and other administrators.
Patience and strong listening skills, along with the ability to reach and explain a conclusion or decision after the voices of others are heard.
Openness to growth, change, and innovation.
Strong speaking, writing, and digital communication skills.
Energy and enthusiasm for spending time with students, faculty, staff, and parent groups.
Commitment to Latin’s ambitious vision and standards of excellence.
Ability to digest, analyze, and sometimes act upon negative feedback, with discernment, nondefensiveness, and strength when feedback isn’t correct or fair.
An affinity for life in Chicago and a desire to strengthen the city as well as the school.
A smart, critical thinker with a curious and reflective quality of mind.
The ability to lift the community’s spirit when adversity arrives.
Candidates should submit ASAP and no later than February 1, 2021, an application package including the following:
A cover letter indicating why they are particularly interested in and qualified for the position.
A current résumé.
A statement of educational philosophy and (optional) other supporting materials (e.g. articles, speeches, or letters of recommendation) that would be useful to the Hiring Committee.
A separate document with the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of five references. (We will obtain permission from candidates before contacting references.)
These materials should be uploaded using the Current Searches page of the DRG Website (www.DRGsearch.com). Please be alert to the fact that DRG/Wickenden Associates is leading both the Upper School and Lower School Director searches when you reach DRG’s Latin School search page and begin your submissions.
After an initial review of applicants, the Hiring Committee will hold Zoom meetings with selected candidates in Mid-February. Finalists will be chosen, and interviewed soon thereafter, either in person or by Zoom, depending on the current status of the pandemic. An appointment is anticipated by early to mid-March.
Employer will assist with relocation costs.
About Latin School of Chicago
Since 1888, Latin has been committed to academic excellence in an environment that creates a life-long love of learning and supports students as they pursue their passions. Our school is home to students from throughout the city and suburbs and we value the variety of experiences that they bring to our learning environment. “Of Chicago” is more than a part of our school’s name – those words help to define the school itself.