Francis W. Parker School is a renowned JK-12th grade independent day school. Founded in 1901 on the tenets of progressive education, the school currently enrolls 940 students and employs 200 dedicated faculty and staff members who, in addition to assistant teachers, substitute teachers and coaches, work together to ensure that the School lives up to its Mission to “educate students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse, democratic society and global community.” Learn more about our history and educational philosophy, The Three Pillars of Parker here.
We are currently seeking a skilled and experienced Director of College Counseling, responsible for developing and leading a successful, mission-driven, college counseling process, guiding students through the transition from high school to post-secondary education. The Director works both individually and collaboratively with other members of the College Counseling staff to meet the needs of the students, their families, college representatives, faculty and administrators. Essential to the position is an understanding of, and belief in, Parker’s mission and the ability to view, communicate, and implement the college counseling process through this lens. With the focus on counseling not placement, the Director will utilize and optimize the collective knowledge of colleges and universities, and the application and financial aid process, to assist students in identifying and enrolling in schools where they will thrive.
Assume responsibility for providing students (grades 11-12) and their parents with information, advice, and counseling, considering specific needs, equity and access of service, identifying and utilizing data, and providing them with tools as well as encouragement and inspiration
Assign, train, delegate, and supervise the work of the College Counseling staff, which currently includes a College Counselor, Coordinator, and two Associate Directors, and in work including, but not limited to, preparing and presenting large-group evening meetings throughout the year (mock admissions, sophomore, junior, senior parent & student meetings, financial aid meetings, etc.)
Collaborate with the Head of Upper School, and other relevant constituencies, to ensure a unified approach to student counseling/advice as well as consistent messaging to students, parents, faculty, staff, other administrators, the Board of Trustees, and college representatives
Develop and maintain a deep understanding of the Upper School curriculum, in order to translate it to college representatives, as well as parents, and to be able to resolve any misinformation
Seek, maintain, and foster relationships beyond the school, when appropriate, in order to meet the diverse needs of the student population and their families
Establish and maintain positive working relationships with college and university admissions counselors, nationwide and internationally, as they visit Parker, as well as through professional meetings and conferences through organizations such as NACAC, College Board, IACAC and ACCIS; attend local professional programs
Represent the school at relevant state and national meetings, conferences and workshops, as an advocate of Parker and its mission; identify and support opportunities for the College Counseling team to do the same
Be an active community member in the life of the school outside of the College Counseling office, as possible and appropriate
Establish best practices in every aspect of the department’s work: with access, equity, accessibility, and as much transparency as professional guidelines allow, all with the student’s growth and development at the center
Oversee the process of developing and finalizing “All-School Recommendations” which accompany each application to every school that a student applies to:
Oversee the existing process through which the students select faculty members to write teacher recommendations; revise process as needed
Provide guidelines, advice, and feedback to faculty who are selected to draft the all-school recommendation, as well as directions to those who are asked to write and upload their own teacher recommendation
Review and finalize drafts, adding information needed to address any questions that admissions committees may have
Develop, update, and provide guidance and oversight on all materials that represent the College Counseling office’s mission, process and goals, as well as any supporting documentation
Ensure that the College Counseling office area, the Parker website and portal, Naviance, and Kickstart (newly added in 2021) include updated information, as well as links and documents which students, parents, college admissions representatives, advisors, grade heads and other relevant community members are able to access
Utilize current systems to provide summaries, as well as detailed reports, regarding admission rates, GPA’s, test scores, ranges for accepted students by colleges, by admissions program, etc., in order to keep constituents informed, as well as to gain quick and accurate data on these variables in return
Remain apprised of changes in financial aid practices, requirements, deadlines, which colleges meet “EFC”, and how; which schools have merit scholarships, the requirements and deadlines for those scholarships; provide access to that information to students and families in the appropriate time-frame
Attend Upper School Division meetings, all-school meetings, and any other committee meetings as deemed important by the Principal
Support the school and its leadership
Other duties as assigned
Commensurate with background and experience, comprehensive benefits package.
For a more comprehensive list of Francis W. Parker School benefits and perks, see here.
Please submit cover letter with resume and salary requirements by email or fax to (no telephone inquiries please):
Laureen Sweers, Director of Human Resources Francis W. Parker School 330 W. Webster Avenue Chicago, IL 60614 [email protected]
The faculty, staff and administration of Francis W. Parker School are integral parts of the School's community. Through their passion, dedication and commitment to the School's mission, they create and support an environment where exceptional child-centered learning can occur.
Francis W. Parker School is committed to cultivating a community of dedicated students, parents, faculty and staff, trustees, administrators and alumni, who acknowledge, respect, and esteem diversity in our school; and who reflect, through their presence, the diversity of Chicago communities and the wider world.
Francis W. Parker School is an equal opportunity employer.
Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree in related area preferred
At least 5 years of experience in College Admissions or College Counseling; experience with college counseling in independent schools strongly preferred
A true belief in the mission of Parker – to use as an internal guide as well as a public reference/resource for the College Counseling office and community at large
Overall general knowledge of colleges and universities throughout the country
A deep understanding of the variables involved with the college search, application, selection, enrollment and financial aid processes
Working knowledge of and appreciation for adolescence; understanding of and empathy for how this transitional process effects them and their families
Capacity to understand, connect with, and work effectively with high school students from a wide range of backgrounds (e.g. socioeconomic, educational achievement, interests, aspirations, ethnic, racial, religious)
Ability to communicate successfully and work effectively and collaboratively with faculty, staff, administration, colleagues and parents for the common good of each student
Ability to distinguish between a desire and a need – in working with students and families – in order to prioritize work in support of the whole community, and in keeping with our goal to achieve more equity through access
Trustworthy management of confidential information, and impeccable integrity in keeping with the principles established by professional organizations such as NACAC, ACCIS and College Board, in addition to Parker’s mission and guidelines established through NAIS and ISACS
Excellent communication skills: writing, editing, public speaking, and through electronic methods
Ability to oversee all technical aspects of the department’s processes, and a willingness to continue to learn and grow as these systems evolve over time
Experience in and a commitment to developing one’s own cultural competency and seeking continually greater levels of diversity, equity and inclusion in all practices; formal training in diversity, equity and inclusion a plus
A strong commitment to foster an inclusive and diverse environment that cultivates an awareness of and sensitivity regarding differences including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation, as noted in the school’s Diversity Statement
Ability to keep both the big picture (for example, the development of the student), and the details in focus
Ability to take initiative, and problem solve; capacity to work independently as well as a contributing member of a team
The stamina to handle an often demanding schedule and the know-how to be able to re-invigorate both your staff and yourself
Ability to balance the internal needs of the office along with the needs of the school
Additional Salary Information: Commensurate with background and experience, comprehensive benefits package.