Carroll's Next Head of School
As a preeminent school for children with dyslexia, Carroll School will continue to transform education and empower students to be empathetic and engaged citizens of the world. Through inspired teachers, data-informed instruction, brain research and innovation, and culturally-responsive practices, Carroll School will continue to evolve its programs to best meet the needs of every student and help them realize their fullest potential.
About Carroll School
Carroll School empowers children with language-based learning differences, such as dyslexia, to become academically skilled students who are strong self-advocates and confident lifelong learners prepared to enter other academic settings. Founded in 1967, Carroll utilizes both proven instructional methods and innovative approaches founded in emerging scientific research to meet the unique learning needs of its 442 students in grades 1-9 in small, supportive classroom environments. In addition to its dynamic school-year program, Carroll runs a 5-week summer program and extensive teacher/tutor training programs. Carroll’s faculty has a growth mindset that compels them to search for a deeper understanding of how best to teach their students. This unwavering commitment to students has created an effective, influential and powerful school.
Carroll School is dedicated to giving each child what they most need. This requires Carroll educators to address a student’s learning strengths, areas requiring remediation, and social-emotional well-being including personal identity and self-concept.
Carroll is a community built on continuous learning and improvement and offers a range of professional development opportunities to its teachers and to teachers in the region. Every Carroll teacher is trained in designing lessons that embrace the principles of Orton-Gillingham, using data to inspire instruction, valuing the whole child in order to build social-emotional well-being, and applying culturally responsive teaching practices. Carroll is also home to the Garside Institute for Teacher Training, where O-G is taught to non-Carroll teachers/tutors, math and teacher workshops that share best practices in working with students with learning differences in subjects beyond reading, and a Master's Degree of Education in Moderate Disabilities with Lesley University and Buckingham Browne & Nichols School.
Carroll strives to create better learners in part by being on the leading edge of dyslexia research and practice. The School partners with the world’s leading brain researchers to advance knowledge about learning and to drive innovation in teaching. Together with Dr. John Gabrieli, and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carroll developed Targeted Cognitive Intervention (TCI) to help students become more efficient learners. In 2012, Carroll began developing an individualized, computer-based training program designed to strengthen students’ specific cognitive skills and their underlying pathways in the brain. Today Carroll assesses every student in grades 4-9, identifies their cognitive weaknesses, and then targets their area of greatest need. Careful data analysis of student progress shows unprecedented gains in fluid intelligence and reading fluency, and reveals a strong relationship between cognitive growth and academic progress. Carroll is in the process of forming a consortium with like-minded schools dedicated to improving academic and cognitive outcomes for students with language-based learning difficulties through data-informed instruction. Carroll will continue to stay keenly focused on research in cognitive science, neuroimaging, technology, educational research, and wellness education to constantly improve its practice and serve children better.
Students and their needs drive every decision at Carroll, and the dyslexic advantage is a gift the School embraces, nurtures, and hopes to share with the world. Through a complete education that emphasizes the advantages of the dyslexic brain - including the arts, sports, history, engineering, design, science, technology, and outdoor education - students find their unique talents and use their gifts in many aspects of the daily curriculum.
Carroll has come to understand that “giving each child what that child most needs” requires that the School engages deeply in diversity, equity, and inclusion work. Over the past three years, all faculty and staff have been engaged in professional learning communities where they work to make Carroll a more complete and inclusive community. Carroll’s dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion incorporates issues of student access to a Carroll education, hiring practices, curriculum decisions, community interactions, inclusive decision making, and anti-bias training for everyone.
AT A GLANCE
- 3 school campuses – Lincoln, Waltham, and Wayland, Massachusetts (all within a 5-10 minute drive of each other) on a combined 60 acres
- 146 faculty including 40 O-G tutors, 50 staff
- 442 students; 159 lower school (grades 1-5); 240 middle school (grades 6-8); 43 upper school (grades 8-9)
- 215 students in 5-week summer program
- 3:1 student to faculty ratio
- $22 million annual budget
- $17 million endowment
- $2.7 million in financial aid awards
- Comprehensive capital campaign, If Not for Carroll, nearing successful completion with a $32 million goal
- $1.325 million Annual Fund
After fifteen years of transformative leadership, Steve Wilkins is retiring as Head of Carroll School on June 30, 2021. As one of the most well-regarded and innovative learning differences (LD) schools in the nation, Carroll is in an enviable position to attract a bold, visionary educator ready to lead the School.
Carroll School’s next leader must demonstrate an uncompromising student-centric focus, a deep commitment to research/science-based learning, and the ability to inspire a highly committed and compassionate faculty and staff. The next Head will be an accomplished and strategic leader who will guide the school through its continued evolution, building on its strong foundation and working with the Board of Trustees to continue to improve an educational model that is uncompromising in its quality and commitment to the student experience. The Head will support a culture of lifelong learning among both students and adults, pushing LD education and research forward and acting as a thought leader in dyslexia education.
In an empathetic and mission-driven institution, the ability to communicate Carroll School’s core values will be critical, as will the desire to further build financial support among donors, parents, and alumni necessary to achieve the school’s goals and aspirations, including continuing the school’s important work to be a more diverse and inclusive community of students and adults.
The Board of Trustees is dedicated to supporting the Head of School and working with its new leader to ensure the school’s stability, research-based methodologies, and continued life-changing impact on students and their families. The next leader will inherit a highly committed and talented faculty and staff; a joyful and motivated student body; a supportive and grateful parent community; and a dedicated Board. The school is well positioned for a smooth transition of leadership in the summer of 2021 and to continue to raise the profile and impact of the school.
Carroll is eager to speak with accomplished, forward-leaning educators who have some combination of these qualities and experiences:
- A leadership position in a school dedicated to the holistic education of students; experience with and passion for the education of students with learning differences is highly desirable
- A research-based attitude, a belief in the power of neuroplasticity, and experience driving innovation
- A passion for teaching and learning
- A demonstrated ability to build deep, empathetic relationships with a wide range of people
- A humble and collaborative leadership style
- Leading a high-performance team
- Experience building a more diverse and inclusive community
- Fostering a culture of engagement and support from alumni and parents
- Effectively collaborating and partnering with a Board of Trustees
Critical Leadership Capabilities
Visionary Educational Leadership
Led by a commitment to “giving each child what they most need” the Head of School will encourage an environment of brain-based curricular innovation and creative collaboration by:
- Learning continuously, placing Carroll at the nexus of cutting-edge research and practice, and tirelessly advocating for the evolution of the School’s programs;
- Demonstrating an abiding commitment to and an unwavering focus on students, supporting academic, emotional, and social development, including realizing the full potential of the School’s proprietary Targeted Cognitive Intervention model; and
- Ensuring that all academic programs challenge students using culturally responsive practices in order to push their intellectual boundaries, building upon students’ dyslexic advantage, and serving students with a variety of strengths.
The next Head of School will approach daily interactions with an understanding that each conversation is an opportunity to deepen relationships, build trust and learn. With an abiding appreciation for the challenging and important efforts of faculty and staff, the Head of School will be an inspirational leader by:
- Serving as a warm, engaging communicator; acting as a visible, accessible, and approachable leader who communicates a consistent message to faculty, staff, and parents;
- Demonstrating compassion and caring for students and their families and the role Carroll School can play in transforming their lives; and
- Identifying opportunities to build relationships among the school’s academic divisions and cultivate a sense of community among students and families.
Strategic Thinking and Management
With the ability to empower a strong team of administrators and faculty, the Head of School will engage in collaborative thinking to set organizational priorities by:
- Defining and overseeing the evolving future of Carroll School, and through research and collaboration with all stakeholders, refining the educational model while maintaining the standard of excellence and individualized learning experiences that define the school;
- Being a strategic, capable steward of the school’s assets with strong business and technological acumen, smart organizational management strategies, and ensuring the school’s physical plant meets its needs for years to come;
- Supporting the key people at the school: developing a strong rapport with teachers and tutors, and continuing to invest in their professional development and satisfaction;
- Attracting, mentoring, and supporting a strong staff at all levels, committed to the empathetic, caring culture of the school; and,
- Understanding the importance of aligning ambitions with resources and be prepared to cultivate and secure both annual and capital gifts to support new initiatives.
Carroll School is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages individuals of all backgrounds and cultures to consider this leadership position. The School’s commitment to inclusivity encompasses, but is not limited to, diversity in nationality, ethnicity, race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, and disability.
The Carroll School search committee is being assisted by Spencer Stuart in this search process. The committee welcomes comments, questions, nominations, and expressions of interest. To contact the committee, please send an email with any supporting materials to this confidential email address: CarrollHead@spencerstuart.com